Machinedrum - Still relevant or a nostalgia piece?


I’ve recently been seeing some Machinedrums popping up on the auctions here, and I was wondering what people’s current thoughts are on the MD, particularly the SPS-1 mkii (I’m contemplating bidding on one).

Are many people still rocking them? Are they still relevant or is the love based on nostalgia? Do they pair well with the latest midi sequencers like on the DT and DN? Is there anything that you find really outdated and annoying about them.


The one outdated thing about the Monomachine and machinedrum I can say is the low resolution. Just about every value is between 0-127 with no decimals. Not a huge deal to most, but certainly outdated.


As the years go by and my knowledge slowly increases I’ve begun to realize how capable and powerful the Machinedrum still is.

Some aspects of the kit management and saving UI feels a bit ‘of its time’, but that in no way makes it any less relevant.


I know I am in minority here but I never liked the sound, too cold and digital. The User Wave is a whole other thing of course.

Anyhow, RYTM is miles better.


MachineDrum pairs soooo well with a Rytm. The sounds compliment each other amazingly, like peanut butter and jelly. Add in sequencing from the OT, DT, or DN and you negate the only drawback compared to the modern boxes. Very powerful box, 16 tracks, lfo’s going everywhere, the insane compressor, delay, and reverb. And the final kicker…CTRL All sequencer tracks :dizzy_face::ghost::robot:



It’s now I wish I still had mine (uw), with the ARmk2 and it’s sampling abilities they would spar quite well together, mutual sample generation and manipulation.
Sound design ping-pong.


Is it much better to seek out the UW version?


If you have a digitakt or any modern elektron box that can sample, no real need for the UW


As an external sequencer, not necessarily. But as a sound source, live resampling with the RAM machines is a very special thing indeed.


Can you explain?


Much like the freely assignable LFOs and other little things that make the Machinedrum greater than the sum of its parts, the RAM machines are what I’d use to capture snippets of what I was playing to create an extra layer of funky serendipity.


Relevant, though post processing (& UW samples) really helps modernise the sound.

I also reckon its the closest to ‘classic’ a digital drum machine has yet gotten, and was caned in techno circles for ages, so you could argue its ‘nostalgia’ status equally.

Also at least one boutique solution out there for the extra sequencing tricks of the black elektron boxes.

Get one my advice.


If you want the MD get it for its sound, not anything else. For its sound, it’s still relevant. For just about everything else it’s outdated. But it really is unique. The very definition of a drum computer. It’s sounds are highly digital, can really get crunchy and crushed, tin-like, metallic etc


I’d rather the uw version personally as the mayhem with the rec/playback trigs is a lot of fun, also that crunchy 12bit sound is attractive.
Ultimately it depends on your set-up, workflow and output spectrum.
A cheap mk2 would be tempting but mk2uw would be really tempting :astonished:


Coincidentally I brought my (non-UW) MD out last night for a little jam. If there’s anything that feels dated to me, it’s merely that Elektron (and other manufacturers) have gotten a lot better at making the defaults and presets closer to what you can actually get out of the machine. When you pull up a stock TRX sound, it’s alright but it needs to be pushed and pulled around by the filter, EQ, distortion, LFO, fx etc for it to really slam. It takes a little effort to get there, is all. Monomachine is the same in that regard.

The Dynamix master compressor still amazes me - really does something to the sound.


Yeah, I think I’d prefer a UW. The thing is that there is a beautiful nearly mint condition MKII (non-UW) up for sale now as well as a well-used UW. I’m guessing the UW will go for around $750 and the non-UW around $650 (maybe a bit more since it’s mint).

While the UW is appealing the non-UW looks like it was never used, which is tempting. I suppose I could also just wait around for a really good condition UW to pop up.


I want a MD so badly. For years. But never bought it.
Love the sound of it.
Can’t decide what to sell.
I think the sound and look of it doesn’t feel oudated, but still futuristic


TR808. still relevant or nostalgia piece?

think my point is relevancy isn’t when it’s from, it’s how you use it.


I would agree with this comparison if I actually saw the MD more in use. That’s why I asked the question. I rarely see MDs in videos or hear of them being used on albums, even though most people speak well of them. I’ve never owned one, and I’m interested in the MD so I’m genuinely curious.