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the watmm GAS thread

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57 minutes ago, TubularCorporation said:

I saw one for $575 on Reverb but most of them were in the $800-$1100 range and one with an aftermarket faceplate was over 1700, which is just dumb.  Octatrack MKI's are a little up compared to last year when I looked, but they're around $900-$1100 from what I was seeing, so about the same range as the MPC.

It's crazy how expensive this stuff is getting, I still kind of can't believe I got that MPC2000xl and Otari reel to reel as a set for $120 back in 2010.  I mean that's a while ago, but not THAT long.

I think you just got some kind of karma thing going on. Whenever you get a piece of gear for cheap, there is some schmuck in the world that ends up paying through the nose. Thus the balance in the universe is maintained.

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Posted (edited)

i watched this one a year or so ago before i got the Squarp when i was considering other options, remembered it being a pretty good representation of what a normal workflow could be (for more sample based tracks obv) but the usability and some basic sequencing/features/etc are used throughout. sure there's plenty of others if you dig around

i saw some videos of the MPC 500 in my watch history as well, don't remember if it's maybe something close enough to the 1000? perhaps less expensive/sought after? idk

 

Edited by auxien
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Posted (edited)
On 5/14/2020 at 9:22 AM, thawkins said:

It's that time of year again where I feel I want a more or less lightweight standalone MIDI sequencer so I could do some old-school pure MIDI arrangements and have a more accessible hands-on workflow.

List of features:

  • (mandatory) no need to stop playback to add new MIDI parts. Basically you can build a track from scratch without stopping the sequencer.
  • step-based recording
  • real-time recording
  • edit clips, mute notes during playback
  • (nice to have) working with MIDI patterns or clips, but recording the whole track at the same time (kind of like Live arrangement recording)
  • should be small form factor

Is there anything you guys know that rings a bell and checks a few of these boxes?

Stupid me is thinking MPC1000 again, but those don't let you record new MIDI while keeping the sequencer running, right?

a lil' late but I recently picked up the Toraiz Squid (I had never heard of it before!) and i'm loving it. Its a pure MIDI brain/workstation with loads of ins/out CV sync etc.

I've probably never been as productive with utilising my gear and jamming out ideas thanks to this bit of kit...

There defo are some cons, but the pros out weigh it for me in terms of a completly offline (no laptop) MIDI sequnecing hub - having said that you can use it with Ableton and other DAWs as a controller and such too

The main downside i've encountered is a max step length of 64 which isnt great (but you can do things like changing the time resolution to trick it into doing longer sequences) and theres no song mode (doesnt really bother me but seems to bother others) but you can so simply drag and drop midi clips back and forth between ableton and the unit that it doesnt really matter as I like to do the final song structure in ableton anyway - it does tho have clip/scene launching ability similar to ableton if you wanted to stay in the box

Main draw for me is you can mangle and flip your MIDI in so many interesting ways and capture any happy accidents with its 'time warp' feature

 

 

Edited by TRiP
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Posted (edited)

I was going to say something about just dropping $90 on an Alesis MMT-8 but when I was checking to make sure they're still cheap I saw the current prices for an HR-16 and now I'm sad (I swapped my free one for about $30 in store credit years ago).

Anyway, if you just want sequencing and don't need to sample don't overlook old 80s and early 90s srtandalone sequencers, because some of them are still really nice and most of them are really cheap. Or at least they were, I'm seeing Kawai Q-80s for like $150+ right now, a couple years ago when a friend of mine was looking at them they were around $50. They're supposed to be pretty great performance-oriented linear sequencers.

 

EDIT: there's also the MidiREX. And If orget which company but one of the new boutiquey type synth companies just recently released a MIDI loop sequencer that looks like it's basically a MidiREX with a nice front panel and less features.

 

Edit 2: Bastl Midi Looper.  Looks like a somewhat less powerful but maybe a bit more accessible MidiREX

 

 

Edited by TubularCorporation

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Posted (edited)
On 5/14/2020 at 1:22 AM, thawkins said:

It's that time of year again where I feel I want a more or less lightweight standalone MIDI sequencer so I could do some old-school pure MIDI arrangements and have a more accessible hands-on workflow.

List of features:

  • (mandatory) no need to stop playback to add new MIDI parts. Basically you can build a track from scratch without stopping the sequencer.
  • step-based recording
  • real-time recording
  • edit clips, mute notes during playback
  • (nice to have) working with MIDI patterns or clips, but recording the whole track at the same time (kind of like Live arrangement recording)
  • should be small form factor

Is there anything you guys know that rings a bell and checks a few of these boxes?

Stupid me is thinking MPC1000 again, but those don't let you record new MIDI while keeping the sequencer running, right?

I've been really happy with the rs7000 for almost all of those bullet points mentioned. It seemed clunky at first but I took time during a furlough to navigate around it and it's really clicked as of late. There are so many weird bells and whistles. Truly inspiring machine.

Edited by garbage_burner
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4 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

I saw the current prices for an HR-16 and now I'm sad

Ooh, I've got my dad's HR-16 (with homemade memory expansion!), haha I'll never sell it though, even though I don't use it.

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Yeah I had this foolish moment after I'd had an MPC2000xl for a couple years where I decided I didn't need any cheap (at the time) digital drum machines anymore becasue I could get close enough with the MPC.  Which was sort of true, but not really.

The HR16 is a really, really fun drum machine.

 

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8 hours ago, garbage_burner said:

I've been really happy with the rs7000 for almost all of those bullet points mentioned. It seemed clunky at first but I took time during a furlough to navigate around it and it's really clicked as of late. There are so many weird bells and whistles. Truly inspiring machine.

I've been fascinated with the RS7000 for a long time, never had the chance to try one or anything though.

 

They're as expensive as an MPC1000 now, if you can find one.

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45 minutes ago, TubularCorporation said:

I've been fascinated with the RS7000 for a long time, never had the chance to try one or anything though.

 

They're as expensive as an MPC1000 now, if you can find one.

I got mine stock with no ram and the small smart media card for $500. The sequencer alone is worth the price of admission. Hands down the best step sequencer I’ve used in hardware. Can get really small note divisions and also odd timing signatures. Editing oddly feels rewarding on it. The jobs and midi effects like midi delay and groove adjustment are like proto max patches in hardware. Just incredible and well thought out. The only problem with it is that it’s now 20 years old. 

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Posted (edited)

Is that similar to the qy70 in terms of sequencer? I should actually learn how to use the qy70. The chord transposition is pretty amazing, it does a good job of re-scaling things. 

Edited by modey

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1 hour ago, modey said:

Is that similar to the qy70 in terms of sequencer? I should actually learn how to use the qy70. The chord transposition is pretty amazing, it does a good job of re-scaling things. 

I’ve never used a qy70. If anything, Yamaha took everything they learned through the years and put it into the rs7000. I haven’t played around with the chord transpose aspect yet but I think it has it. There are some fairly intensive processes that allow you to chop chords up into separate parts for further processing with the midi effects 

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Also forgot to mention that I’m using the rs7000 near strictly for midi sequencing and as main clock. Using the nerdseq slaved to it to process cv/gates. Works like a dream

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23 hours ago, TRiP said:

a lil' late but I recently picked up the Toraiz Squid (I had never heard of it before!) and i'm loving it. Its a pure MIDI brain/workstation with loads of ins/out CV sync etc.

I've probably never been as productive with utilising my gear and jamming out ideas thanks to this bit of kit...

There defo are some cons, but the pros out weigh it for me in terms of a completly offline (no laptop) MIDI sequnecing hub - having said that you can use it with Ableton and other DAWs as a controller and such too

The main downside i've encountered is a max step length of 64 which isnt great (but you can do things like changing the time resolution to trick it into doing longer sequences) and theres no song mode (doesnt really bother me but seems to bother others) but you can so simply drag and drop midi clips back and forth between ableton and the unit that it doesnt really matter as I like to do the final song structure in ableton anyway - it does tho have clip/scene launching ability similar to ableton if you wanted to stay in the box

Main draw for me is you can mangle and flip your MIDI in so many interesting ways and capture any happy accidents with its 'time warp' feature

 

 

That's a nice find. Unfortunately seems that it's sold out everywhere. There were some concerning things in the SoS review that I read yesterday so I am not super sold on it, but it's still something to think about.

I did not realize Pioneer are into performance instruments beyond DJ controllers.

12 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

I was going to say something about just dropping $90 on an Alesis MMT-8 but when I was checking to make sure they're still cheap I saw the current prices for an HR-16 and now I'm sad (I swapped my free one for about $30 in store credit years ago).

Anyway, if you just want sequencing and don't need to sample don't overlook old 80s and early 90s srtandalone sequencers, because some of them are still really nice and most of them are really cheap. Or at least they were, I'm seeing Kawai Q-80s for like $150+ right now, a couple years ago when a friend of mine was looking at them they were around $50. They're supposed to be pretty great performance-oriented linear sequencers.

 

EDIT: there's also the MidiREX. And I forget which company but one of the new boutiquey type synth companies just recently released a MIDI loop sequencer that looks like it's basically a MidiREX with a nice front panel and less features.

 

Edit 2: Bastl Midi Looper.  Looks like a somewhat less powerful but maybe a bit more accessible MidiREX

 

 

The MidiREX might actually be the most interesting of all the options so far. The 4 track limitation with still keeping some nice features (and a small footprint) is very nice about it.  And hey it's only 200 bucks too although I should try to build it myself maybe.

@garbage_burner thanks for the RS7000 recommendation. Yamaha sequencers got a warm spot in my heart.

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, thawkins said:

That's a nice find. Unfortunately seems that it's sold out everywhere. There were some concerning things in the SoS review that I read yesterday so I am not super sold on it, but it's still something to think about.

I did not realize Pioneer are into performance instruments beyond DJ controllers.

The MidiREX might actually be the most interesting of all the options so far. The 4 track limitation with still keeping some nice features (and a small footprint) is very nice about it.  And hey it's only 200 bucks too although I should try to build it myself maybe.

@garbage_burner thanks for the RS7000 recommendation. Yamaha sequencers got a warm spot in my heart.

It's only four tracks, but 16 channels per track so you can do a lot of multitracking on any one of the tracks. Only one MIDI port though, so even though you can record any channels you want on every track you still only get 16 channels to work with. No massive, 64 channel projects like a MIDIbox. It's got a pretty small memory, too, so a lot of CC data will fill it up pretty fast. But it's really meant to be sued like a looper more than a full blown MIDI sequencer.  It's not going to replace an MPC 1000 or even the average 80s hardware sequencer for doing complex arrangements but as a live performance tool it's really great. Nice and simple, but powerful. Really the only think I'd change would be more memory.

 

I built one a few years ago but didn't get an enclosure for it until fairly recently (and the publicly available Ponoko files are for a later revision that uses longer encoders so they don't actually fit the one I made and I need to redesign and reorder some shorter side panels still) so I didn't use it that much because without an enclosure the buttons would fall off all the time, but now that I have an enclosure finally AND the current firmware has MPE and Sysex support (neither were implemented yet when I got it) it's finally really useful for me and I'm working on integrating it into my setup as a polyphonic, linear sequencer to go alongside the Octatrack's simple step sequencing.  I'm still not good enough at using it to really give any advice on that but I will say it was one of the easiest builds I've ever done.  The day I got the kit in the mail I had just over an hour between when I got home from work and when I had practice, and I powered it up for the first time about 5 minutes after my ride to practice showed up - it was that fast.  It's pretty simple, a couple dozen parts. If you can solder and identify common components, you can build this no problem.

 

EDIT: I'm serious, this was easier than building a simple fuzz pedal because there was no fussing with off-board wiring or anything. I've built a couple Eurorack modules recently that were even easier - stuff like this where you don't need any documentation other than the BOM - but the MidiREX is still one of the easiest.

 

ANOTHER EDIT: actually that clock module is a bad example, because you have to choose different capacitors depending on the range you want it to work across and the documentation is a little hazy on that, so actualyl I'd say the MidiREX is still the easiest other than like a passive mult or something where you're literally just wiring a few jacks together.

Edited by TubularCorporation

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3 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

It's only four tracks, but 16 channels per track so you can do a lot of multitracking on any one of the tracks. Only one MIDI port though, so even though you can record any channels you want on every track you still only get 16 channels to work with. No massive, 64 channel projects like a MIDIbox. It's got a pretty small memory, too, so a lot of CC data will fill it up pretty fast. But it's really meant to be sued like a looper more than a full blown MIDI sequencer.  It's not going to replace an MPC 1000 or even the average 80s hardware sequencer for doing complex arrangements but as a live performance tool it's really great. Nice and simple, but powerful. Really the only think I'd change would be more memory.

 

I built one a few years ago but didn't get an enclosure for it until fairly recently (and the publicly available Ponoko files are for a later revision that uses longer encoders so they don't actually fit the one I made and I need to redesign and reorder some shorter side panels still) so I didn't use it that much because without an enclosure the buttons would fall off all the time, but now that I have an enclosure finally AND the current firmware has MPE and Sysex support (neither were implemented yet when I got it) it's finally really useful for me and I'm working on integrating it into my setup as a polyphonic, linear sequencer to go alongside the Octatrack's simple step sequencing.  I'm still not good enough at using it to really give any advice on that but I will say it was one of the easiest builds I've ever done.  The day I got the kit in the mail I had just over an hour between when I got home from work and when I had practice, and I powered it up for the first time about 5 minutes after my ride to practice showed up - it was that fast.  It's pretty simple, a couple dozen parts. If you can solder and identify common components, you can build this no problem.

 

EDIT: I'm serious, this was easier than building a simple fuzz pedal because there was no fussing with off-board wiring or anything. I've built a couple Eurorack modules recently that were even easier - stuff like this where you don't need any documentation other than the BOM - but the MidiREX is still one of the easiest.

 

ANOTHER EDIT: actually that clock module is a bad example, because you have to choose different capacitors depending on the range you want it to work across and the documentation is a little hazy on that, so actualyl I'd say the MidiREX is still the easiest other than like a passive mult or something where you're literally just wiring a few jacks together.

Checking it now and it's probably been on my mind to DIY this thing before, but even though I have no idea how much the parts will be (I assume something like 30 bucks roughtly), it's looking like ordering the assembled version makes more sense. I say this because I once again don't have tools to make my own case nor do I have anything to flash the firmware with, which brings my minimum total to something like $110 without the BOM+delivery.

And I'm also not super sure that my cheapo japanese soldering iron actually works in Europe. ?

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I think it was around $50 for the parts with shipping, plus you need to get a case made.  You don't really save that much but it's a good second or third project, first if you're confident.

 

Most DIY stuff doesn't save you money unless you're comparing the cost to some kind of rare, unobtainable vintage gear you're cloning.  Or Eurorack stuff, a lot of that is like half the price if you DIY because the companies making it are small enough they're not getting the parts much cheaper than you are.

 

The big cost advantage of DIY to me isn't that it's cheaper because it usually isn't much different, it's that you don't have to pay up front for big projects so it lets you afford to buy things incrementally that you could never afford otherwise, without having to go in debt or something.  Plus you start to learn how to do basic repairs and that means you can start to get people's old broken stuff, fix it, and then trade it or sell it to fund more gear and eventually you get a bit of a self sustaining thing going if you're lucky (I had that for quite a while before I moved to a smaller city and the price and demand went up on all the gear) so there's some added value in that.

 

But it probably won't save you much money on any given project.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/19/2020 at 1:28 AM, TubularCorporation said:

I think it was around $50 for the parts with shipping, plus you need to get a case made.  You don't really save that much but it's a good second or third project, first if you're confident.

 

Most DIY stuff doesn't save you money unless you're comparing the cost to some kind of rare, unobtainable vintage gear you're cloning.  Or Eurorack stuff, a lot of that is like half the price if you DIY because the companies making it are small enough they're not getting the parts much cheaper than you are.

 

The big cost advantage of DIY to me isn't that it's cheaper because it usually isn't much different, it's that you don't have to pay up front for big projects so it lets you afford to buy things incrementally that you could never afford otherwise, without having to go in debt or something.  Plus you start to learn how to do basic repairs and that means you can start to get people's old broken stuff, fix it, and then trade it or sell it to fund more gear and eventually you get a bit of a self sustaining thing going if you're lucky (I had that for quite a while before I moved to a smaller city and the price and demand went up on all the gear) so there's some added value in that.

 

But it probably won't save you much money on any given project.

Yeah you're right of course. This is all just haggling with myself in order to not think about following the DIY rabbit hole. At least not yet this time...

Edited by thawkins
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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2020 at 12:14 PM, Soloman Tump said:

I like the look of the new 0-coast controller, the 0-ctrl, but that would mean I need to buy an 0-coast as well...... I guess its compatible with any other CV controllable stuff though.

spacer.png

 

Mine turned up today, though probably not have time til next week to get into it.  Don't have 0-Coast and no intention of getting one, though I do have a Contour.  Purchased originally to match with my 6u of euroserge as a poor man's tkb, but I'll be using it with the main modular as well.  In which case I'll probably end up using it more as a 16 or 24 step sequencer.

Edited by kakapo

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I need advice on a basic midi interface that handles sysex like a champ. After a ton of hair-pulling I found out my Studiologic keyboard doesn't have enough memory for sysex dumps, which explains all the crashes and freezing display. It looked promising with its internal sysex filter option and midi merging, but it turns out it's only capable of sending tiny data like single parameter changes. Also, the midi merge is a one-way street so there's no hope for back-and-forth synchronization. Really a bummer for a €400 keyboard...

So I've been trawling through Matrix 1000 editors with various levels of accessibility, but I finally found the windows m1000 manager which accesses all the necessary patch parameters and lets me save patches. Patch Base on the iPad is the most user-friendly but alas doesn't work with saving, maybe because of checksum requests or god knows what. Other than that it's been a complete blast learning the Matrix. The filter is so musical and cool which holds all the crazy patches together. But the real crown jewel is the mod matrix, it enables so much stuff, from subtle timbre variations to off-the-wall madness. It's quite telling how little people bother to figure it out from the standard complaints, like the M6 sounding more drifty due to its individual voice clocks. You can just set one of the LFO's to random and dial in the level of voice detune you want. The great tones don't immediately jump at you but need a bit of work. The firmware update makes everything snappy and direct, but the sliders aren't very high resolution (64 steps) and have this weird logarithmic scaling where higher level steps are more drastic, so getting those filter levels right is crucial. The best bet is to set your desired mod amounts and then adjust the original envelope amplitudes as a fine-tune.  You can also use an LFO to influence envelope shapes! And then there's FM! I could go on...

Really cool piece of kit, does everything in its own kind of way, fat basses, warm Obie pads, Juno style plucks, even drums... Desert island contender if you can manage the awkward programming. I don't really mind it, I've had way worse VST interfaces and the depth is what makes it so fun to play with.

The TD-3 is also really good sounding and just plain fun to use, it needs a better casing than the plastic shitbox it's in. There are some deep bass tones in there but it could use a bit more of the original 303's bounce and rubberyness. There are cap replacing mods that fix that if you can handle a soldering iron. One day perhaps... I use it as an arp sequencer for the Matrix as well, handy little thing! 

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41 minutes ago, chim said:

I need advice on a basic midi interface that handles sysex like a champ.  

I'm assuming you mean more controller rather than interface.  Electra One might fit your needs, not back in production until June.  Price was around 400 euros iirc.   

https://electra.one/

I use a Faderfox EC4 with my cheetah ms6, m1000's sibling, but doesn't do sysex.  However Faderfox are supposed to be releasing a  32 pot version which will do sysex at some point later this year.

The kiwi m1000 upgarde adds CC control I'm pretty sure.

Nuclear option but this is the GAS thread.  Stereoping Programmer.  Probably cost more than you paid for the matrix.

https://www.stereoping.com/synth-programmer/?lang=en

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Nah I just want a basic IO box, or even a set of cabes. It seems like a more direct line is better because you don't need any buffers but there are other weird issues to look out for, like basic class compliant midi protocols don't always work, and USB sends the data faster than the midi can handle it. The stereoping one is pretty ballsy indeed but yeah, not gonna happen. Looks like a lot of interfaces are blacklisted out there so Roland Um-One might be a safe bet if not the cheapest.

Edited by chim

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Midisport has been working fine for sending sysex to various drumcomputers and synths for me. 

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5 hours ago, user said:

Midisport has been working fine for sending sysex to various drumcomputers and synths for me. 

Full bank dumps too? And which one? I saw a couple of them blacklisted at one place. 

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Getting into the home stretch on an E.A.S. Mind Reader (MS-20 input/pitch-to-CV Eurorack clone).  Making the mounting bracket was a pain.

 

0x3ZjJS.jpg

 

Can never find the DIY thread with search so I'm putting it here.

 

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3 hours ago, chim said:

Full bank dumps too? And which one? I saw a couple of them blacklisted at one place. 

Oh, sorry, I have no idea about bank dumps. I’ve been using the 4x4 anniversary edition. 
What works for me is using a m4l device that sends sysex to machinedrum (not very efficiently as I made the device...), sending updates and samples to the md, receiving backups (guess this would be a bank dump?). Volca fm and evolver also receive/send sysex just fine through this interface. 
 

If you’re doing bank dumps have you tried adjusting the rate and interval etc on whichever program you’re using to take the dumps? (That was intentional, sorry) 

3 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

Getting into the home stretch on an E.A.S. Mind Reader (MS-20 input/pitch-to-CV Eurorack clone).  Making the mounting bracket was a pain.

 

0x3ZjJS.jpg

 

Can never find the DIY thread with search so I'm putting it here.

 

 I didn’t even know there was a diy thread. Perhaps it would be appropriate to initiate a fresh one? 
 

 

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