Apparently, this year is the Year of The New Drum Machine. But enough teasing. Elektron now has some actual details for us of their entry.

Better still, they sound promising. You get an architecture worthy of the creators of the Machinedrum – with the requisite step sequencer and performance options – but in an instrument that combines both an 8-voice analog drum machine with sample playback. It’s not clear yet how those samples work, but that’s good news. And the 4×3 (cough) pads we saw earlier are both velocity- and pressure-sensitive.

Other than that, we’re still short of some other details, but this tells the main story. (Other than that, you just have to listen to dramatic music and watch some interpretive modern dance. Then again, if you watch closely, maybe they’re illustrating the pricing and availability with their gestures.)

Title cards from the video:

  • 8-voice analog drum machine with sample support
  • Analog filter & distortion per voice
  • 12 velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads
  • Reverb & delay send effects
  • “World-class” Elektron step sequencer
  • Performance-oriented beat control

Or as Elektron says on their news feed, it’s “Distinguished by the power of analog drum sounds fused with samples. Perfected by the immediacy of drum pads coupled with Elektron sequencing.”

Seems that apart from price, the big question will be how sampling is integrated into this beast. But finally, a drum machine that does those two well? That could be big news – and might even steal some thunder from whatever-Roland-is-doing-and-we’re-totally-not-talking-about-that-any-more-until-they-stop-teasing.

Now, about that name… well, it sounds like the sound my teeth made when I was caught in a blizzard in Sweden a few years back, anyway.

  • http://julienbayle.net/ Julien Bayle

    Nice article, Peter.
    I JUST SO HOPE there will be advanced sequencing features (as for Roland’s AIRA)
    We now almost ALL have ways to produce sound. From hi q samples, to sound synthesis etc, we can have the sounds that fit our needs.

    Sequencing is something else. Of course we can design our sequencers (and actually we are doing that) but a real hardware/machine with advanced features like: multiple length per track, rate per track, euclidean methods, sequence rotation, repeat integrated… will be breaking, imho.

  • chaircrusher

    Same number of vowels as ‘rhythm’ and pronounced the way most Germans or Scandinavians would pronounce ‘rhythm’ — rütәm.

    This looks like a great piece of gear. Leider habe Ich nicht genug Geld!

  • TROS

    I think Aira will be safe because it will probably be considerably cheaper than the RYTM but I bet RYTM is about $500 cheaper than the DSI Tempest, and if it has a fully featured external midi sequencer as well, DSI is going to need a price drop and a new OS.

    • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

      Well, the sampling capabilities (or lack thereof) and the sequencer (or lack of extended features) on the Tempest are the two big issues for everyone it seems. I don’t mind at all that my Tempest does not sample, because I’m still busy designing drum sounds from the analog waveforms and the tons of sampled waveforms it comes with… But it would definitely be a gamechanging addition, if the Tempest would get a multitrack sequencer to trigger other synths and boxed outside – yes, also polyphonically. However, I do not believe that this will ever happen. DSI is busy sporting their P12 module right now and developing on that operating system. Also, as it has been stated many times on dsiforum.com, the Tempest was never built as your MIDI gear centerpiece, so I assume that processor and memory inside the box would not be capable anyway.

      I am not at all into the Elektron gear until now. And I still think the new machines look crap. But a sequencer in a box that could run my synths nicely, would be a tempting move.

    • TROS

      Yes, the Elektron external (and internal) midi sequencers are excellent, particularly on the Octatrack and Monomachine. I agree with you, I don’t see DSI redoing the OS but I have a feeling a price drop is coming.

  • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

    Btw, how comes that this dance choreography reminds me of the Knife’s recent live show?

    • logritm

      I saw that show live..and i still dont understand if the knife band was there or not..they were my favorite band before that show :(

  • pat

    just buy an octatrack and be done with it. the sequencing/MIDI possibilities and sample manipulation with this machine alone are plenty IMHO.

    • TROS

      I tell people this all the time. I see people using all the machines, barely touching the surface of each one, when the Octatrack alone could produce far more interesting and complex music if 100% of the focus was on it. Less is more.

    • Jesse Jensen

      man… I can’t agree more. for the time being, even just thinking about the octatrack takes my mind in creative directions all the time. maybe in a year or two when I’m bored with it, it will be time for a new device, but in the meantime, I’m just making loops and samples and shoving them in the octatrack and going from there.

    • B.C. Thunderthud

      To each his own but for me there’s no reason for the Octatrack to exist as hardware. I could buy a Launchpad mini and set $1100 on fire and be miles and miles ahead because I already have a software-based workflow I like. I’m certain that this will cost way more than I’d want to pay for an analog drum machine but it’s still the first thing Elektron’s made since the Sidstation that’s at all desirable to me. Digital hardware just holds no appeal unless it’s commodity cheap.

      Which is just to say that your advice doesn’t make a lot of sense because this is a completely different class of device IMO. I have no trouble believing that the Octatrack is great for lots of folks but it’s not remotely something I’m looking for. It’s like I said, “I think I’ll try the tuna” and you said, “you should break up with your girlfriend and marry a man,” it’s just a non-sequitur.

    • TROS

      The advice makes quite a bit of sense if you’re ok with sampling your drum sounds. My advice wasn’t for anyone who prefers using a computer. Your response doesn’t make a ton of sense since obviously my advice was targeted at people who use hardware. I’ve been using a combination of hardware and software for 15 years and I’ll always prefer hardware. “Miles ahead” is certainly a matter of opinion.

    • pat

      Congratulations on your software-based workflow.

      To each his own, indeed. That is why I have to laugh when you say, “no reason for the Octatrack to exist as hardware.” And then talk about a Launchpad and lighting $1100 on fire and being miles and miles ahead and breaking up with girlfriends and being non-sequitur.

      Like TROS, I’m not comparing computer+controller setups with the Elektron equipment.

      I’m comparing Elektron Product Octatrack with Elektron Product RYTM.

      The above seemed completely logical. Especially when I was mentioned that the sequencing and MIDI possibilities of the OT are plenty.

  • Alessandro Automageddon

    1:30, is it me or the same toms is played chromatically on the pads?

  • enomis

    just get an MFB-Tanzbär :)

  • experimentaldog

    I’m not knocking it, but I always have questions going through my head when I see new hardware. In the context of recording or production, if it’s going to be recorded into a DAW doesn’t the sound cease to be analog and become the same post ADC 1s and 0s as a sample pack? If someone samples this machine at a higher quality than my setup, would I be better off paying for the machine or a sample pack? This thing can sample as well, but if I only use samples, doesn’t this cease to be an analog machine besides the filters? I can see the appeal for live use and for a hands-on approach, but if you record this thing like an 808 or 909 with a mediocre ADC, wouldn’t the quality be less than high quality samples? The Elektron machines are nice, but many of us are on a tight budget and may never have access to these or other machines. What comes out of the speakers matters, but your audience may never know how you got there. The methods and process is relatively unknown unless divulged and disclosed. Many probably won’t know if the sounds are made by way of drum machine or samples; or using an MPC, APC, Maschine, Push, Octatrack, Rytm, TriggerFinger, Monome etc. In a double blind study, it would be interesting to see the results.

    • heinrichz

      It’s mainly more of the same over priced analog hype in absence of any real new ideas for electronic music making, and someone is making money.

    • Ezmyrelda

      People like to perform. People like to watch performances. Hence, manufacturers will continue to make performance hardware.

    • experimentaldog

      I did put “I can see the appeal for live use and for a hands-on approach” in there. So there’s no denying the performance aspect of the Rytm. I’m talking about Acousmatic Sound. What goes on behind the curtain in production.

    • Lewis

      I reallycan’t be bothered with the elitism that goes on surrounding analog gear or any kind of specified field that people can get obsessive about but there is definitely a difference in sound when you listen to samples and compare it to analog gear. I understand what you mean about the sounds getting recorded into a DAW but the difference is not just in the single sample trigger but in the way the sound changes ever so slightly every time it is triggered on an analog drum machine- just like a real drum. This is something that virtual analog and samples just have never captured – there’s something organic in that sound that is pleasing to the ear (at least to my ears!) and is noticeable – maybe even on just a subliminal level – but distinct nonetheless. Amongst other reasons, I think it’s why many laptop producers’ music sounds sterile and cold when similiar tracks using analog gear have a warmth to them. All that said – I tried the Elektron analog 4 recently and found the oscillators to be TOO precise… Just didn’t have the grit I was hoping for – the demo sounds in the video above suggest to me that this drum machine might be similiar in it’s conformity. If I’m buying analog gear – i want it to sound gritty and with character not just a does-it-all beefier sounding VST…

    • experimentaldog

      Granted, there may be subtle difference to each machine, but that’s very subtle and on older gear, usually a design flaw that caused desirable characteristics. But sampling and VSTs can still possibly provide desirably warm results and subtle variance. The digital = cold thing is a hard argument once the analogue source is recorded and edited in a DAW. There is a confirmation bias behind many of the arguments for or against digital. If I am listening to the drum machine raw, it’s fully analogue so it may sound different than the sample, including sequenced samples. But buried in a DAW mix with signal processing and other timbres around it, I don’t think many audiences may tell the difference. I don’t have the facts to claim that these are discernible or not, but as mentioned, I am curious to know if this has been represented in a study rather than personal accounts.

    • heinrichz

      Agreed, performance is what people want and you can perform quite well with something called Maschine and thismdevice called Laptop :)No need to go all ‘analog’

    • Ezmyrelda

      Yes, indeed. You can.. or you can use something like this and leave the laptop at home.. Which many of us would rather do.. I’m not saying it always does.. But more often then not having a laptop display in between the artist and the audience creates a disconnect which these are thankfully devoid of.

    • Ezmyrelda

      That actually reminds me though… How many audio outputs do Maschines have again?.. oh, yes.. zero.. making your comparison somewhat invalid..

    • a

      you’re better of using what you spend time using and like. everything else is excuses.

    • Geissler

      That’s not the point. The point is that the sounds are generated in an analog way, giving you control over certain parameters that wouldn’t be accessible otherwise. Of course you could sample the machine, but that would be a single static snapshot, with none of the potential to modify, twist and distort any of the sounds. It doesn’t matter what the audience thinks about how the sounds were created; what matters is whether or not you were inspired while creating them.

    • experimentaldog

      I’m not denying that aspect. I actually like the sound of live analogue equipment, just can’t afford it. I did put “I can see the appeal for live use and for a hands-on approach” in there. So there’s no denying the performance aspect of the Rytm.”

      I like to layer timbres of analogue and digital and they ultimately come out of my speakers as an analogue signal. For my own purposes, I’m not sure I need to spend so much for what I want to hear as I’m sure many also don’t. I like to hybridize the timbres of digital and analogue. I’m more likely to layer grains of the analogue timbre upon itself in a digital domain, then use the timbre in a MaxforLive setup or a MaxMSP system. Apples and oranges I guess, but I tend to go for banana. Go banana!

  • lazenbleep

    MPC500 FTW!