Elektron misses the mark

#1

I have been looking at guitar loop pedals for a while (years). Anything with MIDI is big, seems to require an add on footswitch pedal beside the actual pedal and starts to approach the price of an elektron Digitakt.

But what about using elektron for looping. On the forums, there are many stories from people who really didn’t like the workflow of the octatrack – especially for trying to manage loops (menu diving, etc). What about the Digitakt? From what I can tell, there are issues with loop length, slicing, bars, immediacy, etc (but maybe I am wrong).

And the brand new elektron Sample? No sampling input.

Okay, fine. What about those old guitar pedal loopers? Issues, issues. How has no one come up with something yet? Kind of mindblowing. What am I missing here?

#2

I honestly don’t know what they were thinking. It’s about the same as buying two volca samples. I think I would rather have 4 PO-33 pocket samplers, those have sample inputs.

I think the Boss RC-505 looks like a performance worthy device, and I can also verify that live looping with OT is tricky. Check out Mark Rebillet’s set up:

also the Digitakt is fine for making loops, but not so much in real time, and of course there is no slicing. Loop length is done by trig length, you don’t get precision editting tools.

#3

It’s about 6 years old, is $729.00 CAN, looks like something you find in a kids toy pile, etc…

Some things I wish:

  1. Please, no on board effects. No reverse effect, no reverb/delay. If anything, give me sends!
  2. How about a mini MIDI jack, so that the loop pedal could be a small size.
  3. No add on second pedal to control the main pedal.
  4. Traditional foot switches (the nice new quiet ones would be a bonus), instead of buttons, since my feet are usually bored.
  5. A fast store function. This would be good for saving loops you might want later, or just doing some sample bank creation.
  6. No backing track functions, no built in drummer stuff.

Really, someone just needs to try and hook up all the gear, grab a guitar and their eurorack and figure out how to make something that is super minimal and collectible. Maybe add the tagline “this loop pedal is not for covering your favourite classic rock hits.”

My Dad has a Jam Man. Someone makes a Sync Man. Ten years go it would have been good enough. It’s almost 2020. How has a small pedal company not made something? Expert Sleepers should make something, a Disting-like looper pedal.

#4

I was a Stimming ‘fan’ before I ever saw his synth reviews. His last two reviews were awesome. Was cheerful to see he has reviewed this piece as well. Hard to find people of knowledge who are honest about their opinions in a helpful way.

“I don’t know of another machine that has an inbuilt reverb as good as this.”

“There is no attack parameter.”

“For bass drums it is better to be not exactly on the same tone, but somewhere in between.”
That last one is interesting. I take it to mean don’t tune your kick drums so well that they cancel your other notes.

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#5

I dunno about that. I think maybe at that price point, but even then there are matters of subjectivity and utility. I personally like slightly unnatural reverbs (springs!) provided they aren’t too ringing and metallic (volca modular reverb). Also, I think the demos in the video would have sounded a bit better without quite SO MUCH reverb.

I add this to the list of reasons not to get this unit. Why on earth would you remove the attack feature? I don’t always use attack except for when I do, which is every bowed string and pad sound.

I kind of agree that exactly tuning your drums is kind of overrated.

The most interesting thing about this video I found was the size comparison. It’s actually a much larger unit than I thought it would be. It’s actually not a bad form factor or interface, but honestly I hope Elektron can make something that doesn’t lremove quite so many basic features.

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#6

I use the OT to liveloop. I don’t overdub and I have the loop size predetermined + a recording trigger. I arm the record track to record and the next time the trigger is hit by the sequencer it records and loops. So it’s quite different from say looping a guitar (with overdubbing).

It works well for what I use it for. It takes a little bit of effort to set it up in this way and some of your attention to know when you triggered the loop record + when it’s done recording [because the OT screen is so tiny].

It can certainly be made easier, but it works for me.

The issue that I have with it is that if I apply compression to the master track/output and record that as input… and play it again… I’m assuming the compression is applied a second time [which changes the volume to some degree and presumably the character of the sound]. But I’m not a sound engineer and I need to look deeper into how much of an issue this is for me… I can also apply compression to the master after it comes out of the OT.

That Boss RC-505 looper is used by Pariah from Karenn (live techno act). He said he is cool with it. But I have not used it so I cannot compare. I don’t have a Digitakt either.

#7

P.S. I don’t understand the logic of this device… They are like “look, we made a device with one function per knob!” (unlike the rest of their devices which use the function button for lots of things)… but to me that’s just like… didn’t most devices do one thing per knob before instrument designers came up with the function button?! It’s like saying “look this phone does not have a screen!” to me…

If I were them I would make the screens on their devices much bigger and more useful. Basically in the direction that AKAI and Pioneer went (with the Toraiz SP-16). I am considering replacing the OT with a AKAI Force, because I like screens to look at for live performance. I just don’t like laptops/DAWs for live audio performance. :slight_smile:

#8

Yeah, also someone pointed out those are encoders not knobs so you don’t know what it’ set to by looking at the device. You gave to wiggle the knob and look at the mini display to know the value of the knob.

#9

I actually like the idea of endless encoders with a led marker because they can switch function and be assigned to multiple channels… But they work well in combination with a bigger display where you are more or less aware of what the value is anyway (through a doubling of the encoder value on the display or a VU or some other signifier).

I don’t want to be dismissive/negative towards gear manufacturers. I just think there is such a massive opportunity to evolve instruments nowadays… but instead we get a one function per knob (as a kind of evolution of a design/instrument line). :slight_smile:

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#10

I don’t want to be too negative either. I have really been enjoying my digitone and digitakt combo. I would just say that this isn’t as appealing to me.

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#11

Even Dataline gets negative. I think we need to remember that just like us, elektron is trying and god damn I love my Analog Four mk1.

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#12

Thanks for sharing. I will watch the whole thing soon. He did a presentation of his setup and the different Elektron machines at Krake festival last year. I had a chance to ask him some questions afterwards and see him perform one of the next days.

#13

But then we have an absolutely positive claim about the Octatrack by a working musician.

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#14

Well, they are the best that we have in terms of performance hardware right now. I have not tried the Akai Force yet though.

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#15

What is the one on the left underneath the desk? That thing sounds like my best nightmare!

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#16

That is an EMS Synthi and an EMS VCS3, it’s a three oscillator british synth that was famous for being used by brian eno and pink floyd.

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#17

Oh rad!! I just saw this doc about them last weekend!

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