Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

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Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by stevejamsecono » Tue Sep 26, 2023 2:17 pm

Hey Gang,

Been missing my Korg Volca Beats and my Novation Circuit Tracks and have been considering picking up a new groove box or drum machine so I have something to spark some musical ideas. Circuit Tracks was really fun the last time I had it and I feel like a full-on groovebox would probably be most useful than just a straight drum machine, but I'm open to thoughts on this.

What do you guys have, what do you like, and what's good that I haven't heard of?
And you find out life isn't like that
It's so hard to understand
Why the world is your oyster but your future's a clam

Resident Yamaha Fanboy

COYS

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by bah humbuck » Fri Nov 24, 2023 2:25 pm

I like the 70s rhythm boxes with the wood paneling. They were mostly made for supper club-type players but I fell in love with their sound from Suicide's debut s/t record. I have an Eko "New Rhythm Box" from like 1978 that I use constantly for both writing and final drum tracks. Yeah, you only get 8 or so preset patterns, but they sound darn good and in many cases you can combine them by pressing down multiple buttons. Run it into some analog delay, reverb, a Phaser, etc. and Bob's your uncle! Univox, Eko, Seeburg - there were a number of different variations but it seems you can usually find them on reverb for about $200-250. I don't know what your use case is but mine works fine for my VU/krautrock thing.

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by MattK » Fri Nov 24, 2023 3:23 pm

Not to forget Maya Tone, who drummed on Will Oldham's album Arise Therefore. A friend and I used to use a Mini Pops Jr for demos and stuff, terrible sounds but fun.
I recently picked up a Roland CR-1000 from the 90s, like a tweakable-presets version of the 808 but also MIDI controllable. Good tweaks such as adjustable swing and analog reverb, altho the drum sounds are digital samples. Biggest advantage is how cheap they are, and it sounds great.

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by eggwheat » Fri Nov 24, 2023 4:16 pm

I've got about 20 vintage drum machines..I've acquired them gradually since the mid 90's. My first decent one was the Roland R70 which I bought new. I still use it.

But I love the Roland TR626. It's an underdog, boring looking and relatively cheap...but absolutely great. Sounds similar to the TR 707 but with more sounds and the sounds are tuneable and it has separate outputs on the back... and theres a HKA upgrade for it which gives you these kits:

- LinnDrum / LM-1
- DMX / TR-707
- TR-909 / TR-808
- Original TR-626

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by OffYourFace » Fri Nov 24, 2023 5:24 pm

eggwheat wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2023 4:16 pm
But I love the Roland TR626. It's an underdog, boring looking and relatively cheap...but absolutely great. Sounds similar to the TR 707 but with more sounds and the sounds are tuneable and it has separate outputs on the back... and theres a HKA upgrade for it which gives you these kits:

- LinnDrum / LM-1
- DMX / TR-707
- TR-909 / TR-808
- Original TR-626
I have the HKA v1 mod on my 707 so I have to turn it off and do the button hold thing to get the other sounds. Unfortunately there's no update to make it work like v2.

I don't use drum machines anymore unless i'm making new samples. All I use is my Akai MPC Live 2 with samples i made myself. It's so liberating :D

My first drum machine was an Alesis SR-16 in '95? It's hard to believe how in depth i got with that thing like creating dynamics and snare rolls. I can't imagine doing that now. Ahhh, life before iPhones and the death of attention spans :'(

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by eggwheat » Sat Nov 25, 2023 6:29 am

OffYourFace wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2023 5:24 pm
I have the HKA v1 mod on my 707 so I have to turn it off and do the button hold thing to get the other sounds. Unfortunately there's no update to make it work like v2.

I don't use drum machines anymore unless i'm making new samples. All I use is my Akai MPC Live 2 with samples i made myself. It's so liberating :D

My first drum machine was an Alesis SR-16 in '95? It's hard to believe how in depth i got with that thing like creating dynamics and snare rolls. I can't imagine doing that now. Ahhh, life before iPhones and the death of attention spans :'(
Me too....yeh it toggles and address line high or low to tell it what part of the eprom address space to use. V2 is better. I could do with the cymbal mod he's brought out for the 707 and 727.

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by burpgun » Sat Nov 25, 2023 9:56 am

May be off topic or not to taste but there are a lot of surprisingly good emulations of the old units as well as new variations like DM1, etc. on the iPad. Running them there as opposed on a computer gives a least some sense of having a dedicated unit, with the advantage that the iOS drum machines are quite inexpensive.

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by MechaBulletBill » Sun Nov 26, 2023 2:51 am

i gotta get my hands on a digitakt

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by Plumerai » Fri Dec 01, 2023 10:10 am

Most useful for me was a Boss dr-660. I have a volca beat & had a Roland tr-606, but just not into building beats by step. I also have a giant Hammond rhythm box/panel. I guess it's meant to sit on top of an organ. Preset beats, but you can press up to three buttons to combine beats. run through delay & distortion for fun

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by budda12ax7 » Mon Dec 18, 2023 7:57 pm

Good olde Alexis SR 16 ....never could really program it correctly...just used the presets with a footswitch to hit the fills in a love setting...sounded good I always thought.

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by fuzzjunkie » Sat Jan 13, 2024 8:05 am

budda12ax7 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2023 7:57 pm
Good olde Alexis SR 16 ....never could really program it correctly...just used the presets with a footswitch to hit the fills in a love setting...sounded good I always thought.
Yeah, I had a Yamaha RX-21 and a band mate had a Maestro Rhythm N Sound that we’d use for demos or special effects percussion. Like recording cymbals or hand claps and then flipping the tape so it’s backwards. I can’t believe how much those are going for now. There’s a Maestro G2 with a $2,000 asking price!

I thought about upgrading to an SR-16, but got the rack mounted D-4 instead. Just the sounds and you could trigger them from drum pads or midi tracks. I had Notator, which eventually became Logic, and used that for programming. Probably faster than doing it manually, but with similar results.

The RX-21 is long gone, but I still have the D-4. My old bandmate has a well known recording studio and still has his G2 sitting on top of his effects racks as a vintage gear show piece. It probably still works.

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by Marc » Fri Jan 26, 2024 10:38 pm

I did a lot of stuff with the Alesis HR16 back in the day … the grey doorstop.

Currently have a Moog DFAM which is isn’t really a groove box but what i do is sync it to logic, record a load of improvisations and edit down to make loops. I also sometimes chop up a loop in recycle and then rearrange in the Reason Rex player which gives it a lot of mileage.

I also have the Cyclone TT78 which is like a 606 on steroids with a voice set more like a Roland CR68. Very programmable and separate outs too!

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by invisible man » Sun Feb 04, 2024 10:11 am

Not exactly on topic but I have some interest in the new Yamaha finger drum FGDP-50. Kind of like an electronic drum kit shrunk down to the size of a sampler
https://soundcloud.com/billy-gashade

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by B.T. » Tue Feb 27, 2024 3:51 pm

I program a lot ITB but I've worked a lot with drum machines, eprom bangers, and MPC's. Lately combined with ITB I've been liking the SP-404MKII and the SP-303 combo.

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Re: Favorite Groove Boxes/Drum Machines?

Post by Nevets » Mon Mar 18, 2024 1:49 pm

invisible man wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2024 10:11 am
Not exactly on topic but I have some interest in the new Yamaha finger drum FGDP-50. Kind of like an electronic drum kit shrunk down to the size of a sampler
I got one of these for Christmas. I love it!

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