20 January 2008

elektron introduces the machinedrum mk2

For the first product-related post on this site, I'd like to focus on one of my favorite drum machines: the Elektron Machinedrum.

Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1 (image from vintagesynth.com):

The Machinedrum offers four flavors of digital synthesis to create instrument sounds. The UW (user wave) edition of the Machinedrum adds sample playback capability. I don't have the UW edition of the Machinedrum yet, but I've always been interested in loading some Roland TR-606 samples onto an SPS-1UW for experimentation.

Elektron recently announced that their Machinedrum and Monomachine products would be updated to Mk2 versions. The Machinedrum Mk2 features a slightly smaller enclosure, a worldwide switching power supply, improvements in the signal-to-noise ratio, and 64 steps in the pattern sequencer.

Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1UW Mk2 (image from elektron.se):

To work with a 64-step sequence on my original SPS-1, I sequence four patterns of 16 steps each, and chain them together. Working with chained patterns is not as easy as working with one pattern that contains all the steps you need. Using the Machinedrum in extended mode (as opposed to classic mode) means that each pattern can have its own set of sounds, so changes made to the sounds on one of the patterns have to be saved and then loaded within the other patterns.

If the parameter knobs are closer together on the Mk2 version than on the original model, that could be a detriment to usability. I am interested to know more about the supposed improvements in signal-to-noise, although I've been quite pleased with recordings I have done of my original SPS-1 connected through my MOTU UltraLite interface.

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