A question for the Machinedrum users

a question for the Machinedrum users:

all sorts of drum machines were listened to here, from rytms, mfb, modular etc., but no sound was as good as that of the machinedrum, it has an incredibly good character sound and just sounds good. i was never really satisfied with the rytm, because the basic sound doesn’t sound as strong as that of the machine. and the new syntakt sound doesn’t pick me up at all, it sounds somehow harsh and hard. and i don’t like this presentation with the cartoon drawings either, but that plays less of a role. the sound has to be right, in such a way that you’re satisfied and don’t talk yourself into it. with the machinedrum it’s immediately love for the sound and that’s the way it should be.

now maybe a lot of money should be raised for a machinedrum in the hope of having found the drummachine for life. But the question is, is it worth it? don’t you have to worry about it breaking because it’s so old? and what are the advantages of buying the mk 2 - does it have to be?

It’s yours to decide, it would be your money converted to some pleasure ^^
On both side, you’re the only one to know.

I also love Machinedrum’s sound a lot, it’s pretty unique indeed and y ou can bring in really far. The Ctrl-al + reload is really fun, and well balanced somehow (I don’t know if it’s pure luck from the designers or that I now this machine pretty well now).

Of course, there are risks when buying some second hand electronic equipment that is not under guarantee anymore.

Good thing is that if you don’t want it anymore, you’ll have no problem reselling it.

IMO mk2 is mandatory (64 steps against 32 for the mk1), and UW+ is quite interesting as you can save several projects (snapshots in MD language) and resample, which is IMO another place where it shines.


mk1 power supplies are getting hard to find too I believe, could lead to issues down the line.


personally, i found MD the be slightly irritating to use.
setting up machines felt convoluted, the great sounds needs to be dialed in and that can take some time to get it right.

I think most of the people who praises it so loudly had it as their first Elektron, im generalizing of course but to me a lot of the love sounds more like nostalgia rather than genuine adoration.

I came from digitakt and digitone to Machinedrum and i think i might have gotten used to the digi formats to much, that i found the silver boxes to be too annoying to use for its own good.

To me, i think the best sounding drum machine is in fact Nord Drum 2. and if its merely sounds you´re after and not a sequencer, then i would opt for that instead of a MD. but that´s my personal opinion. OT and ND2 are a perfect pair imo.


agreed, if you go for a MD go for a MK2… the power supplies on the MK1 can become a real problem for you.

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a very good point - thank you very much.

Thank you for this anti-GAS dose.


you´re welcome… its very easy to buy in to the hype, i have several times.

one thing to note though is that you can never know for sure if you will like an instrument or not until you have tried one. im merely showing that the MD isn´t all happily ever after.

so if you really have the urge to buy an MD, nothing can really stoke that flame but to purchase one. but be mindful of the price so that you can recoupe your purchase if you decide to sell it.

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i got psu from here some time ago:

also seen it on aliexpress

so getting one in advance as a spare is still a viable option

if MD is worth getting? i personally think it all depends on kind of music you make. the unit is quite capable and fun to play but i think it fits certain musical styles better than others. also it depends on workflow. UW version is much more flexible due to sampling.

nice to have but not essential considering today’s alternatives…


I love my Machinedrum and would never sell it, but I don’t think the sound of any of the machines is particularly special, and it’s lacking a lot of functions that you would take for granted in a modern machine unless you spend another chunk of money on a Megacommand unit. It’s definitely not worth the exorbitant prices they go for now just for the perceived boost in sound quality, since none of the machines sound that special on their own.

For example, the digital kickdrum model used in the Model Cycles and Syntakt is stronger and more versatile than any kick machine in the Machinedrum, and it can track chromatically without needing to fuck around with external MIDI boxes or a Megacommand. I don’t quite understand your perception of the Syntakt’s sound as being relatively hard and harsh, as the Machinedrum tends to sound very hard and very harsh by default unless you spend a bit of time gainstaging and rolling things off to get a more woody and rounded sound. It’s not something I would characterise as immediately sounding good without needing to think about it. A Nord Drum 2 would be a better option if you want nice, full-sounding digital drums with some weird FM and physmod algos, although the price is also getting pretty stupid.

Sorry to quote myself, but I touched on this topic in a different last week and figured it would be worth reiterating that the strengths of the Machinedrum are less about it being a drum machine that immediately sounds good and more about the unique ways you can layer and manipulate sound:


MD sounds are good - on some machines! Depends on what sounds you’re after. The advantage is you have 16 tracks to layer if you need variations or beefier qualities.

I do like 808 samples for BD/etc with the 12bit UV machine, but there probably cheaper ways to get these kinds of sounds. Modulation is the advantage over the Roland machines here.

The in built machines excel at textured and softer percussion IMO. It certainly looks possible to get these kinds of sonics with the SN though.

If you know what you’re getting into with the older machines in terms of workflow limitations and sysex management, then go for it. The newer machines definitely have there advantages when it comes to ‘management’.


yea MDuw is my favourite Elektron (was my first too) but I still find having to dive into the menu to select machines convoluted. Still only like 3 button presses but I always wished theyd come up with some kinda double tap or something to get into a tracks machine.

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it’s all about the modulation (&resampling) on MD imo,
it’s incredible. the modern digi ui is much better in lots of ways tho.
I much prefer working on a digi, it’s a joy. I do miss what the MD brings to the table tho.

I’m counting the minutes till my syntakt arrives on Friday :slightly_smiling_face::heart:


it’s always a bit difficult to describe a sound correctly. I also don’t even presume to be able to judge the syntakt. only what I’ve heard so far was good - of course, but it didn’t grab me as much as some machinedrum videos. But I’m glad I asked here, because your experiences will help me. I always wanted to have the norddrum too, but more for percussion sounds. I’ve never had the mk2 rytm either. I think the sampling function is another good point. I think if you use the internal hihat sounds e.g. sampled and then looped, that there is a kind of delay and then adding the sample effects to the whole thing is definitely nice and expands the sound of this machine. I’d best wait a few more weeks. then it will be either rytm mk2, syntakt or alpha base.

The MK2 is worth the difference. The +drive battery was rated for 4 years of life, and the last batch was 2017. That’s something to factor in as well, not saying they’re all going to go at the same time. Just is aging.

You’ll be doubling up machines to get better sonic quality, sin clicks with bass, noise machines with snares, and so on.

The only piece of gear I used for 7 months was the MD mk2+ and I felt after that amount of time that I was needing to process the drums externally to really get them to sound non-Machinedrum ish. (I know that’s kind of lame of me) If you’re mixing it with other drum machines, different sounds, synths, etc Itll have its place in the mix. The sampler in it is great, and you can use the MD as a multi effects unit for external gear.

There’s a lot of people who still just use the Mk1 with no problem. 48 steps can be plenty. The UI of the MD takes some time, the saving kits & snapshot thing is something you’ll have to pay attention to a lot. It’s really easy to accidentally delete an entire pattern.

TL;DR if you love the MD sound, get the MD. It’s An extremely fun device.


like anything, look at it as an asset - so it’s worth it because prices will likely stay the same or possibly continue to go higher.

It’s still being developed - the MegaCommand isn’t that expensive to get even more enhanced features.

The MK1 will benefit from the MCL in terms of added variation for the sequencer… I’d still prob go for the best version you can afford and a UW gives you the chance to add more personal character.

In the right hands the Machinedrum sounds amazing and some people prefer its form & aesthetics over digi devices.

I personally love how the MD is laid out and find the digi’s too busy.


As you probably know, the price of Machinedrum mk2 UW models is crazy right now. But as fun as the UW capabilities are, you’ll get A LOT to play with just with a non-UW model. I’ve still seen regular mk2 Machinedrums go for less than 1000€. If you want your unit to have many of the modern-day Elektron sequencing features (and, for example, the ability to play your MD polyphonically), buying a Megacommand is a (great) option.

A lot of people seem to consider Syntakt the new coming of Machinedrum but for the most part I fail to see/hear the similarities between the two. Being a Machinedrum fanboy, I’d definitely rather spend 1k on a Machinedrum mk2 (non-UW) than a Syntakt. (Nothing against the ST, mind you, I can def see myself getting one at some point.) Machinedrum just oozes character, and while some people seem to think the sound is starting to show its age, I think the MD sound is just timeless.


Machinedrum is before my (Elektron) time - out of interest is the UW section kind of redundant if one has an Octatrack?

I’d still want the UW - adds more character, control all modulation options. Also makes it better when using on its own.

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I’d say functionally you’re not really missing anything if you’re fine with using TWO devices together (OT and MD non-UW). But sampling with the MD is great for its character. Also awesome for transitions, if you want to do a full set with just the MD.

For the first two years I didn’t really use the UW side of MD but now that I have acquainted myself with it, it’d be hard to let it go. But still absolutely love the original MD sound on its own too.

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