Have no interest in it as I just purchased a MPC Live but I bet the DN would be a great sequencer for the BB. Does real well with a SP-404 so I could only imagine the capabilities with the BB.
Nice! Looks like you’re using a MIDI cable. Did you try direct USB by any chance? Curious to know if it causes any issues for you.
I did. Works fine for input into the Box, but it doesn’t send any midi out through USB. So it’s an extra Midi In, basically.
I’m starting to feel the pressure now still really experimenting, all I’d share now would be loops and clips of ideas.
That would be worth it. I’d like to compare the Deluge with the Pyramid as a BB sequencer. Aside from greater portability, do you find the Pyramid much more capable than the Deluge? And the Deluge is pretty portable, with a built-in battery.
For me, it’s too early to say. I got the Pyramid on loan still, like I had with the Squid. But it’s a pleasent early experience, at least.
As far as the Deluge goes, there’s a lot of great things to be said on both Synthstrom and the instrument itself. However, for me, one box to rule them all isn’t the promised land one might think. The Deluge, to me, suffered from wanting to be good at all things and as a consequence, failing in some critical areas. The once quite clever user interface eventually became burdened by just too many possibilities, and I found my muscle memory never quite learning the Deluge if I’d been away from it for awhile. Also, while one of its points originally was the lack of a proper screen - which I kind of like - this became clearly a problem when the Deluge added so many more features that just would’ve done well with some good old fashioned visibility on what you were doing.
I’ve realised that I prefer instruments that do one thing really well. The Pyramid appeals to me in that respect. So does the Black Box. The Deluge is a synth - subtractive, FM and ring modulator - a drum machine, a sampler, a potential stems player, a midi and cv sequencer, and also quite unique in its grid-like interface combined with these abilities. Sounds great, right? But I don’t know. These super feature groove boxes from the late 90’s and early 20’s went away and I’m starting to remember why.
But you’ll find plenty of people who swear by the Deluge and probably already try to track me down to deliver the appropriate sentence for my blasphemy
I mean just the sequencer part of the Deluge. With that big, physical piano roll, I find it quite immediate. I haven’t tried the Pyramid, but I see from its screen that it’s more than just a 16-padder. Then again, the basic upgrades to the BB’s piano roll discussed above might end up being enough for me. The other issue in my case is that everything I have that’s not modular already has its own sequencer built in, some with CV outs, and I have a few nice sequencing modules for the modular in any case. I’m trying to get a better sense of the Pyramid. I guess I’ll go through loopop’s 1-hour tutorial.
Man you nailed my exact problem with the deluge. I was over the moon when I first got mine and played with it. But there were just too many things you could do and even with the overlay with directions, I couldn’t remember half of them, even basic ones. It stopped being fun to play after the honeymoon period wore off.
I’m definitely starting to appreciate and only want machines that can do one thing really well. But oddly enough there’s a used mc-909 near me that I want to pick up I’ve always been curious to try that machine. It definitely seems like it has WAY too much going on, but still, curiousity has the best of me!
Curiosity fuels the gas and sometimes, it actually takes us to places and stuff that remain relevant for years or lifetimes.
A day or so with heavy use of the Pyramid, it’s clear it seems to think about tracks and sections the same way as Black Box. So while the interfaces are worlds apart, they’re very similar in their setup of how they divide tracks into sections. The main basic difference is of course that the Pyramid’s each track can have its own time division within a section, allowing for very detailed and complex mayhem.
However, it occurs to me as I’m moving back and forth between the Black Box and the Pyramid that even though the Black Box sequencer is what it is, it’s quite possible to create very interesting tracks as far as polyrytms go, split divisions and stuff, without much effort. You’ll quickly run out of sections if you push it, but then again, I’ve yet to complete an entire song on this thing due to all experimentation, so until I’ve actually filled up all sections with a complete set of sample tracks, this limit is theoretical (although clearly visible before me).
I’m wondering if the Black Box isn’t capable enough on its own after all, to create complete foundations of interesting songs, and it’s better served to bring them into another environment once you got something as finished as it can be within the box, instead of looking for ways to push it beyond its sequencing capabilities.
I don’t much like hip hop, but I really like that approach that a song, a track or part of something larger, isn’t all that long in itself. Many of Dilla’s best tracks are like two minutes long, and then you move on, but there’s a lot going on within those two minutes.
If you look at the Black Box that way - take one idea to the max, consider the space of the Box designed for one really cool song, and then move that song somewhere else (into say, the Octatrack, as part of a larger set), and the need for an external sequencer becomes less relevant.
That’s exactly how I going to use Black Box, as sketch tool, sampling all kinds of stuff. Drums and Percussion (Sources; Rytm, 0-Coast, Norddrum,) for the Digitakt then the following sources will be used for feeding the OT ; NordleadA1, Digitone, 0-Coast, Norddrum, TT303, iphone, etc)
The big advantage for is, that it will not distract me to immediately use a recorded sample, which I find difficult while sampling directly into the DT/OT. Now I can record a bunch of stuff and then later rework it.
It’s this workflow which suits me better.
Also because it is so portable, I really can take it everywhere and sample whatever I want.
I have ordered a Blackbox, hope to receive it next week. At this moment I own a OP-Z, a Octratrack MK2 and a iPad Pro. What l’ve read so far in this topic, is that the BB should be a good companion especially for the longer tracks. Still thinking about how the routing between the four will be done.
I was reading your back and forth with Blipson. I’m glad you got it and seem happy with it. It is not a perfect product and I’ve run into a bug several times that I hope will get resolved. But it does certain jobs really well and the size, usb power, usb host, and sd-card made it worth the purchase for me. I found the workflow with sampling with it to be excellent. It also functions well as a looper to my surprise. I just got a Nord Drum 3p recently and sampled kits very, very quickly and the samples sounded great! Then I’d either rename them on the Blackbox, or take the sd-card out and put in the PC for faster renaming and organizing. My friends who I jam with initially said ‘no way’ with the thing, but now see it’s benefits of being rediculously convenient.
Yeah, it’s a surprisingly deep box. I’m using the Sections more now, but since the Black Box can also launch loops in sync and timed to start on the beat from the sample view as well, I mix and match single loops with more complex ones from both the sample and the structure views. Structure mainly for groups of one shots doing something together, and one take loops from the sample view itself.
I’m building my first song now with this approach and got something going that I’m starting to like.
The only thing I really miss, one thing that would open up this box more, is just more slots for sections and samples. Doesn’t have to expand on polyphone or anything, just give me more slots. I’m guessing it’s streaming everything from the SD card in real time, so I’m curious as to why the limit is set so comparatively low for sections and sample slots.
On the other hand, it does forces you to focus. So there’s that. Clearly an underappreciated part of many modern gear today.
So, I ordered the Blackbox. After twisting my head around it and reading all the posts here I guess it will work pretty well with what I have in mind. I will keep you updated…
Looking forward to it.
I found a pretty cool way to sequence it from the Digitone - using the Digitone’s four midi tracks, I can run them all from the same channel and use the note trigger to launch one shots and loops directly from the Black Box. It all runs perfectly in sync, from single kicks drums to 32 bar loops, IF you -
Let the Black Box sync the Digitone AND launch the Tone’s sequencer from the Black Box.
Use chords to trigger multiple trigs on one step - and if you want to tweak individual values on a step, such as velocity for example but still keep both on the same step, you can use microtiming to separate them as two on the Digitone’s grid, for editing. I couldn’t find a way to edit individual note values in a chord, so that’s a work-around. But it works.
With the Digitone update using individual time signatures, the basic structure is now the same as in the Black Box. So I can use the Digitone’s midi sequencer to trigger anything from the box and run the Digitone’s synth at the same time, all in perfect sync.
It sounds messy, but it really isn’t.
EDIT - to elaborate on why I’m even bothering to try this, is that I really like the idea behind the Black Box section view. But it’s just too messy to edit, even if you’re just recording stuff into it live. There are many ways to use it, you can view them as complete and separate parts of a song, or pieces of a puzzle that make up the entire song itself which you turn on and off. Both are fully appropriate methods as far as the interface goes, but using an external sequencer that has the same basic structure but is a lot easier to work with, and allows for more than sixteen sections, and a way to structure these sections as the song grows, is just too appealing.
I realised that if I pushed the Digitone sequencer and found a few simple workarounds to get this to work, I’d essentially have a pretty damn complete environment right there. Digitone’s great for everything - drums, synths, bass, lead, whatnot. The Black Box is a great sampler and recorder. Source it into the box, sequence from the Digitone and build the song while you’re also recording loops and ideas right into the box.
I fully agree!
Also - clever workaround. I think I get what you’re describing (not having used a black box). It sure seems like an amazing unit for how small it is.
have you had sync issues with the Blackbox? How did they manifest?