Friday, March 06, 2009

5 reasons not to get a Monomachine or Machinedrum

Reason 1:
I can't like them.  In real life that is, because in pictures, on videos and in demos, they seem great.  But I've tried them.  More than once.  And I just can't like them.  Their sound, their interface. I just don't like them even if I try hard.  And believe me, I tried.

Reason 2:
They are expensive!  I mean, please!  We're not talking about analog circuits here.  It's a hardware platform with a dedicated software.  And limited functions. I prefer saving for a Kyma system.  Not that I plan to buy a Kyma, or that they are a replacement for Elektron stuff, but buy a Machinedrum & a Monomachine and you're getting in this price league, a Paca is 2970$. It's just that people consider a Kyma system to be in another league, being expensive and all this. Well just consider that a Monomachine and Machinedrum combo will cost the same as a Paca.  I'd think twice before spending that kind of money.  And thinking of it, I did spend that kind of money not too long ago, and I got an euro-rack modular for it.  I consider I got my money's worth.

Reason 3:
I want USB.  Or Firewire. MIDI is about 25 years old now.  Ok, it's still fine to get the connection with other hardware gear, but come on, we're mostly using plugins now, right?  So, if I'm gonna get a plugin sequenced by my Monomachine, I should get this done with a bog standard MIDI jack?  USB connection is getting pretty standard now with pretty much any hardware synths now.  If we're talking about a synth that is also a very reputable sequencer, and that just hit MkII last year ... I expect it to have a USB or FW connexion.  Oh check this, they came up with a TM-1 interface to get better timing, er, from the computer to the external.  Oops! Sorry, it's the opposite we need.

Reason 4:
Of all the gear that's been release in the last years, these are some of the most revered and sought after.  It's growing to a cult status.  Personally, I stay away from cults.  The idea of a cult instrument is pleasing, but should not be a factor in the buying decision.  You buy gear to increase your sonic palette, not for adoration.  Although we often do on accasion fall into this trap.  The analog vintage trend was very much a matter of cult items.

Reason 5:
I like the idea of those piece of gear.  I dream of owning them when I see the ads.  Their marketing works: I WANT THEM!  Yet, I've been offered a Machinedrum for 800$ and a Monomachine for 900$... and I could just not like them in real life. So? I'll let them live in my dream, and see how I can come up with a setup that would get me the kind of result and control I expect from them, but with my current gear.  That's more creative than buying another 1000$ box to sit there and making the kind of bleeps all the DJ on the planet are making with this exact same instrument.

It all comes down to: what are you going to do with your gear?  If you plan of investing hours and hours learning a piece of hardware inside out, the Elektron gear are probably worth exploring. And so is my 300$ Alesis Micron.  I kid you not.

Be bold, be original: don't get a Machinedrum or Monomachine.

Thanks for reading.


Tetramorph said...

Nice post. Of course you are right. The only thing to buy is real analog gear and more cpu and memory as it comes available for everything else. You want that real tape sound? - then buy an old cheap tape player and feed it back in to your DAW. BTW, thanks for the post on my blog!

Out said...

What a stupid post. What is it with the current trend in electronic music of people thinking it is definitive?! Music is art... creative SELF expression!

What works for one person may be another persons nightmare. Talk about confusing the medium & tool for the message. It's the music you make that matters... not the equipment you use. For a lot of people, Elektron equipment provides a workflow that works very well for them and their music. It might not work for you... oh well... move on.

Comparing Elektron gear to Kyma?? If you are mentally arguing over which to get you are so fucking lost in music!! Elektron gear is primarily performance orientated, while kyma is primarily sound design. Apples and oranges...

Midi? Plug ins? USB? Have you seriously missed the point of Elektron gear by that much? The monomachine and machinedrum are entirely self-contained live performance machines. The reason they don't have these kind of features is because they don't need them!! The Monomachine and Machinedrum are capable of making complete pieces of music, and as the guys featured on the 45 tribute album have demonstrated, very good and diverse music. The TM-1 was designed to allow faster upload of samples from a computer to the machinedrum UW. Pretty simple huh? I guess you missed that one too?

If you want to be bold and original, do it in your music... your blog posts certainly aren't doing it for you.

Exsurdo said...

Wow, this last comment is something! I mean, at first I thought: what is this, the guy totally missed the point, I'm deleting this. But thinking of it, "Out" took the time to write a substential comment, so I'll take notice of it.

"Out", come on!! You're taking this way too seriously! I wrote this blog entry because I find the MachineDrum and MonoMachine absolutely GREAT pieces of gear. BUT, I decided NOT to buy them. So I had to figure out reasons NOT to buy them. You can't buy everything, and you have to stick to your choices. This was just a funny way to put it. Well, I thought it was funny. In a way? No? Like tongue-in-cheek?

The important is to learn to use your gear, to the best you can, whatever it is. And yes, ultimately the only thing that counts is your musical output. We all agree on that.

My Kyma comparison was just a way to illustrate the kind of money involved. I could use a refrigerator instead, but I sticked to music stuff. Yeah know.

By calling my blog entry "5 reasons not to get a Monomachine or Machinedrum", I thought it was clear: there's hundreads of reason to buy them, but I rarely see anyone talking about why NOT to buy them.

The thing is, they are soooo appealing, it's a hard thing to say: I have the money, I can buy them, I'm ready to do so, they seem the best thing since sliced bread, but I CHOOSE not to buy them.

Anonymous said...

i think the elektrons are a lot like high-end les pauls, or maybe PRS guitars. crazy expensive, don't work for lots of folk, who actually prefer the feel of other things, don't like the weight, etc. but, if they work for you, nothing else will do.

gotta say, the amount of the money for both is, as you note, staggering. seriously, that's a pretty good used car or somesuch. but i have no regrets.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, buy used. Don't like them? You can sell them online (eBay) to aspiring Elektron cult members.

Anonymous said...

These machines are fucking crazy. And I mean it. Sound is absolutely fantastic. It's amazingly warm, deep, punchy.It will take some time to get used to controls. You certainly have to read the manual, but when you understand how to use them I bet, there is no going back. I got lots of hardware and software, but that's the best purchase I have ever made for my studio.

Anonymous said...

Just because you don't have the patience, diligence, or intelligence to figure out how something works doesn't mean everyone else doesn't or can't. And just because you can't afford something doesn't mean everyone else can't.... everything is relative- and with every one of the arguments that you make, I could easily make a convincing counter-argument.
These boxes really are magical. Really. The digital sound they make is fucking epic. Who cares how a sound is generated? Does is sound good?
I am willing to bet that the author of this retarded blog actually has an iphone.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess; Next up a blog entry on how folks who enjoy the reliability and ease of use that Apple offers, are also in a "cult"? Two minutes of my life I won't get back reading this idiocy.

Anonymous said...

I got a Machinedrum UW used, bought into the fanboy hype and was thoroughly disappointed with my purchase. I'll admit it is fun to play with, but I agree, this gear is purposefully hindered by its creator.

Anonymous said...

delete this post ... you are trolling peopel not to buy mnm & md ... peopel only read the headlines ...
fucking idiot

these machine´s are fucking crazy!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the guy. Fuck the name brand...if you like what it can potentially do for your creative spirit and it's complimentary to your laboratory of musical instruments and noise-making contraptions then go for it. Don't be an opinion pusher...dislike it and move on...your rejected stone is another's cornerstone.

Shawn Wilson said...

I agree with the guy. Fuck the name brand...if you like what it can potentially do for your creative spirit and it's complimentary to your laboratory of musical instruments and noise-making contraptions then go for it. Don't be an opinion pusher...dislike it and move on...your rejected stone is another's cornerstone.

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha ha you have no idea what you are saying.

sounds like its just too hard for you to figure out. hence your preference in the micron. V E R Y S I M P L E.

i cant believe you compare the two. sounds like shit.

thanks for coming out. stick to your VSTs.

Anonymous said...

guess you have moderation on as you are tired of getting shit on.


enjoy your toys.