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.
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$. It's just that people consider a Kyma system to be in another league, being expensive and all this. Well just consider that a Monomachine and Machinedrum combo will cost the same as a Paca. I'd think twice before spending that kind of money. And thinking of it, I did spend that kind of money not too long ago, and I got an euro-rack modular for it. I consider I got my money's worth.
I want USB. Or Firewire. MIDI is about 25 years old now. Ok, it's still fine to get the connection with other hardware gear, but come on, we're mostly using plugins now, right? So, if I'm gonna get a plugin sequenced by my Monomachine, I should get this done with a bog standard MIDI jack? USB connection is getting pretty standard now with pretty much any hardware synths now. If we're talking about a synth that is also a very reputable sequencer, and that just hit MkII last year ... I expect it to have a USB or FW connexion. Oh check this, they came up with a TM-1 interface to get better timing, er, from the computer to the external. Oops! Sorry, it's the opposite we need.
Of all the gear that's been release in the last years, these are some of the most revered and sought after. It's growing to a cult status. Personally, I stay away from cults. The idea of a cult instrument is pleasing, but should not be a factor in the buying decision. You buy gear to increase your sonic palette, not for adoration. Although we often do on accasion fall into this trap. The analog vintage trend was very much a matter of cult items.
I like the idea of those piece of gear. I dream of owning them when I see the ads. Their marketing works: I WANT THEM! Yet, I've been offered a Machinedrum for 800$ 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.