Am I the only one? [Machinedrum love]


We’ll be has been before it… :slight_smile:


Really well documented video. :thup:
I’m not in love at the moment, because of Octatrack total superiority concerning realtime sampling / mangling / envelopes / lfo / fx / arp / TRC…abilities. I wish MD could have 2 octaves pitch to make a difference.

To compliment OT for my live projects, I used MD GATE input and midi triggered an OT FLEX playing MD so that I can hear MD only when I play. I’d like to explore that way but it bugged my MD.
Maybe like here? :
Machine drum input problem


thank you! OT is black magic box! MDUW is just the rudiments in comparison, but an inspiring collection of them :heart:

not quite following your description of signal flow, very interesting idea/technique though


Hey guys, I’m having some hickups with my MD and im looking for some relationiship counseling.

The MD was my first piece of kit a few years back, it was way too deep for me then. I sold it and swapped it for an AR at the time because i couldn’t program the sounds the way i wanted to get them.

When the MD was discontinued I managed to snatch one form the last batch as i still felt i didn’t give it a fair chance, as i was still a beginner at the time in synthesis & hardware gear.

Long story short, I’ve been using if for over a year now and mainly use it to triggeer my modular. I still cant find love for the engines and always turn to other gear if i want to achieve a certain sound.

I’m thinking, either I still didn’t give it enough love or i should just give it a rest, sell it and move on.

What do you guys think? Its a hard nut to crack for me as I really want it to work out.


MDUW? Tried sampling / resampling?
You trigger modular with audio outputs or midi?

If you don’t like MD synthesis I think A4 is better with modular, and it can do great analogue drums, audio analog processing, CV sequencing with lfos, trig conditions etc…
You can store your sounds, and there is a soundpool with 128 sounds per project you can use to plock (soundlocks) at each step.

OT is great too to midi trigger / sample modular. Or this :


the MD has such a wide sound synthesis palette it’s hard for me to imagine it makes absolutely no sounds that you like - but no reason to force yourself to use something that doesn’t jive with you

I think MD punishes the typical ‘lets twist these knobs and see what happens’ approach - I find the parameters to have extremely wide ranges and are often very sensitive - this goes for both track parameters and FX parameters

since you are a modular guy, I recommend to try working with just the sines and noise machines (GND_SN, GND_NS) for some time and see if you can sculpt some tones you like - using very simple inputs to the downstream voice architecture and learning more of the nuances of how they can be transformed may help you get more of what you want out of the more complex sound generators - or perhaps this exercise may help confirm for you that it just has a tone and feel to the sound you don’t like or have trouble working with


Ahem no Sir, I don’t think so. Because, you know, CTRL-AL :smile:

I just love destroying a very precisely designed kit with Fn + any knob, and then reloading it at the right moment.


Machinedrum is the best machine Elektron has ever made.
Digitone is 2nd.


Hey man, you are right! Ofcourse I do hit some sweet spots once a while:) I have had some succes with the tom machines and the the hats I get from the MD are very usable for me.

I really like your suggestion, I think the limitation will help me understand the nature of the MD. I’ve hear examples I like, so I know its a shortcoming on my end.

I am a “twist a knob and see what happens guy” hence the fact why I love hand on machine (I just recently stumbled on this conclusion though haha).

Maybe, the layering option and just the noise and sine engine is practice! Will try tonight:)


Thanks for the suggestions man!

However, I’m looking for advice that helps me crack the MD nut, rather than jump off to other machines.

I’ve been down that road and it’s an ugly one, trying to stick with what i have for a while.


using just sines and noise will also encourage routing more LFOs to a single track’s parameters in order to get more envelopes and modulations to squeeze more out of that approach - that’s when the MD really shines to me, but I run out of LFOs quickly!

When a friend let me borrow his MD years ago I actually never made it sound that good, so when I finally got my own fairly recently I was a bit worried - I always had thought the overall design was very cool and fun to work with, but was skeptical about the sound given my past experience with it. Fortunately I was more patient with it the second time around and very quickly found a lot of great tones while only exploring a tiny fraction of the possibilities

definitely layering! I think it may be crucial for consistently getting good snare sounds out of MD

another thing I have noticed is many sounds out of MD don’t necessarily sound that good when auditioned or used prominently but often work nicely deeper in a mix

lots of inspiration in this resource -


Just to reinforce what others have said for suggestions, the sampling and resampling has a much different sound character than the machines by themselves because it resamples down to 12 bit. Nice crunchy sound! Layering sounds is another recommendation. Adjust filter settings for your machines to shave off unwanted highs / lows. Furthermore, fine tuning the “Dynamix” compressor in the master settings can drastically affect the overall body of your drum loop. Be careful though, you can definitely drown out certain sounds by doing this.

You can squeeze many useful sounds out of the MD. It’s pretty digital sounding, but I love the sound of it! I have the most difficulty with Snares / Claps sounding full so I have a few solid go-to samples or I end up layering the machines.

Also if you have a nice hardware analog filter or even a solid saturator vst plugin, process your loops through that. Tames the digital sound a bit.


good suggestions man! Thanks

Got a mackie 1604vlz4 to run it through, that helps loadsss


Good point about the mix thing. Need to explore that.

My music is very much organic and nature inspired, therefore i need warmth and breathing tones.

Should be possible no?! Im positive about it. just give it more love thats the bottom line i guess.

I get the feeling that a lot of topics here are about swaping this for that, not so much about trying to master a synth.


Yeah, it seems much easier to ditch a piece of gear for a different one, than to master the gear in front of you. All that time spent looking at specs / features of something different, when all I need to do is focus on what’s in front of me. You get back what you put in, right?


I still need to dig more into MD myself - there are many machines I’ve barely even used - that said I’ll offer a few thoughts on achieving ‘warmth’ with MD only

I find the track distortion can be warm in a rather subtle way at very low values, especially with slight modulation to make it ‘breathe’ more. I think the MD track distortion is much more ‘analog’ at subtle settings than the OT lo-fi FX

track EQ and modulating it can also add movement and more warmth to the sound, but it’s usefulness varies

the amplitude modulator can add lots of movement when used subtly, and can greatly add to harmonic richness and thickening, although this often will need to be sculpted carefully with the filter as you venture into more extreme territories

careful filtering of bit-reduced samples can sound rather warm - it’s that old school sampler kind of warmth. in general the filter I think is surprisingly warm if used subtly at low or no resonance

the FX are also very crucial to getting maximum warmth from the machine, particularly focusing on careful filtering on the reverb and delay. Also perhaps modulate the master EQ and/or compressor for subtle or extreme movement of your whole drum bus - although strictly for ‘warmth’ the master EQ and compressor may not always be that useful depending on context

I really need to explore the machines a lot more, but I’ve definitely found some surprisingly organic sounds lurking below the surface here and there - like the granular clap synth produces some raw tones and textures I’d normally expect to have to produce using field recordings - not always the most immediately usable sounds (it is useless to actually use it as a clap as far as I can tell ) but in the right context and processed carefully with MD voice architecture they can really bring a lot of life to a mix in an unanticipated way

edit: there’s also just a lot of gain stages inside MD and places to clip signal, so it’s pretty easy to suck the dynamics out of something, essentially the design does not have seatbelts


Btw your video helped a lot with regaining faith. When in doubt, ill just turn to this topic as a help and support group.


The Dynamix compressor can have a huuuuuge effect on how the overall sound of the MD gels. Getting my head round a bit that really changed things for me.

The TRX B2 kick was a revelation as well.

Also, I may be completely imagining it but I’ve always felt like the groove that comes out of the MD is really tight straight away and needs less fussing with in terms of swing or whatever to make it work than many other drum machines.

Mine’s having a bit of a hiatus from my setup but I’ll bring it back out soon for sure. Definitely a keeper for me.


Getting this track done with MD cowbells only was the real eye-opener, for me (thx again @Ryan for such an obviously amazing brief!!)

Iirc the sysex is still there to be downloaded.
Check the whole thread for ideas of what MD is capable of when restrained to the one and only cowbell !!


God damn this is AWESOME. How did you get the chords? What on earth? They sound like a polysynth.

EDIT: Nvm you already answered in the other thread lol. Three tracks with different pitches to get chords…Wow! Very, very cool. Must’ve been tricky to program though, surely? Did you just do it by ear?