Machinedrum - Still relevant or a nostalgia piece?


MD-UW can sample it’s main outs and external inputs in real-time, in a running pattern and play it back - modulated or not - in the same pattern. I use it for gritty, glitchy effects extensively. Feeding my other instruments like the Rytm into it. Sampled audio quality is low. I usually use a lot of distortion and filter on it to mash it up even more.

I guess the OT has similar live resampling functionality. Sadly the RY doesn’t, although it can sample.

For me it’s a killer feature. I have an mk1 that was upgraded to UW. When it dies I’ll get an mk2 UW.


Check out machinedrum hashtag on Instagram


Will do. I guess I’m looking in the wrong places.


I don’t feel like it’s necessarily outdated besides the sequencer. Could the machines have a bit more in-depth synthesis in some ways? Sure. If Elektron were to remake the MD today, I figure they could make it more powerful with the most up-to-date sequencer. I’d buy one again if they released a proper MKIII.


At 5.18, the RYTM is playing the beat and bass, and the repeated claps coming in, swirling in the background, are a result of the MD-UW resampling. From 7.54 till 21.05 the beat is all MD (with AH distortion and filter). After that the Rytm takes over and MDUW is used again for resampling glitches.


For me the MDUWmkII is one of the best drum machines ever made, and it is much more than just a drum machine too.

Some of the machines and sounds are frankly a bit crap IMHO, and it can take a bit of work to “make it yours” some of the sounds though are incredible especially the kicks. The FM machines and TRX are the best of the synthesis machines, the rom and ram machines, and the input and GND machines are the ones I used most. The midi machines can be handy too, although the sequencer isn’t as powerful as the modern Elektrons as you’d expect, for 4/4 stuff it gets the job done though.

A stone cold classic.


And paired with an Analog Heat a whole new dimension opens up too. Highly recommended for anyone into harsher sounds and/or put off by the sometimes very digital character of the MD.


Do you mean all gear using midi Control Changes resolution are outdated?
I don’t think so.


the modulation possibilities are not outdated at all and surpass modern elektron devices quite handily imo - even the OT can’t do some modulation tricks as easily as MD


If you’re looking for a video idea, I’d love to see your approach to using Machinedrums advanced modulation possibilities!


I’m still a babe in the woods with MD :sweat_smile:

being a long-term MD owner I’m sure you know this, but I think one of the most overlooked aspects of MD modulation is the fact the LFOs have two shapes - makes for extremely easy access to a bit of randomness on whatever modulation you might like, and the shape mix can be modulated, which is something I need to take more advantage of - last time I was digging deep it seemed like it could be hacked to provide a static offset modulation but so far I couldn’t get it to work without a bit of a glitch on the waveform changeover


Gotta be honest. Kinda disappointed with the casual blasphemy of referring to the Machinedrum as a nostalgia piece. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Has nothing nostalgic about it. It may not have the latest and greatest UI but it sounds awesome and it’s a lot of fun. One of my all time favorite!


Yeah, it absolutely can be made to provide a static offset. Search for “static LFO trick” on here. It can give you access to “in between” parameters and finer control over things like pitch.


At present, there is still nothing quite like the Machinedrum (UW or not). That makes it still relevant - more so than yet-another-808/909 clone or inspired machine. More so than yet-another-purely-sample-based drum machine.

I think in terms of synthesis options, the best modern competitors are the JoMoX alpha base? Nord Drum 3 (which has no sequencer and is only available with annoying drum pads)? The new Korg Volca Drum looks like it will bring some cool digital drum synthesis techniques back to the larger market too. Maybe the DSI Tempest is out there as another rather unique synthesis based drum machine, but it’s still priced way too high and still seems plagued with problems.

As for relevance in regards to ‘popular’ artists - the Machinedrum’s best era seems to be about 10+ years ago. Autechre, The Knife, etc, all used it quite heavily from 2005-2009. But you still see it used by the likes of Venetian Snares and Thom Yorke.

Anecdotally, I have a friend who bought one of the original Machinedrums when it came out who still uses it quite heavily in multiple projects (most of them industrial/power-noise related). It still seems quite relevant to him.

The combination of synthesis options and the ability to blend them all together to make a unique kit seems nearly unequaled. You can have fun combining the PI (physical modeling) kick and the EFM kick (using trig grouping), for example, to make a large noise.

Is the Machinedrum a bit dated? Yes. But today’s dated is tomorrow’s retro. Cool digital drum synthesis options have been rising in Eurorack, and are starting to return to larger market (Volca Drum), and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more coming in the next year or two. In this regard, I expect the Machinedrum’s status as a ‘classic’ start to rise even more.

But it also puts one into wondering - buy now, or see what comes over the next couple of years? I say it’s still worth getting now.


Actualy they are vastly outdated. Almost 40 years old. They just came out with a proposed version of the midi 2.0 framework. We could use more resolution for sure. Midi is awesome but it needs a refresh.


Heh, well I tried searching for it and it’s not as easy to find as I thought. So for anyone searching:

Machinedrum static LFO trick


Speed set to 0.
Update set to Trig.
Shape 1 set to linear decay.
Shape 2 set to triangle wave.

Use SHMIX and DEPTH to finely control the amount of offset applied to the target parameter.

NB: these settings will apply a positive offset from zero. For a negative offset you need to switch the shapes around, triangle on 1 and inverse linear on 2 (IIRC). In that case the “zero effect” setting is the opposite end of the SHMIX value. The shape with the triangle gives the zero offset, basically.


That’s the trouble with 2nd hand units in a nutshell!
As others have pointed out, if you have other samplers (that actually sample😉) you may well escape the longing for the uw but I’d imagine it will haunt you!
Patience would pay off but I’d be very tempted myself if the non uw is in as good a condition as you suspect, tricky one for real!


hello, does Elektron still upgrade the MD mk1 to an UW including +drive? How much did you pay for that?


I’m older, don’t tell me I’m outdated! :smile:

I know :smile:. I’ll cut my beard then…:bearded_person:

Ok for a midi 2.0 if there’s compatibility with midi 1.0!