RANT: I wish grooveboxes weren't all 4 bars these days

I grew up making music on the Electribe EMX/ESX/Command Stations/RM1x, and it seems like every modern groovebox regressed back to 4 bars because of the techno music resurgence… Yeah, you barely need more than 2 bars to make most techno music, but for other genres it really makes it a pain in the ass to chain patterns together… Am I crazy? Do any of you non-techno/ableton live, hardware producers miss being able to use 8 bars? are the big names catering to techno music? Almost all hip hop/pop and other genres have moved to DAW only from groovebox, or just use their old MPC…

The old electribes had 4 bars, then we got 8 bars, and now the new trash electribes are back to 4 bars, and have LED’s all over them… It seems the industry things we only want grooveboxes to make techno music, live, in clubs, wearing black shirts, to a bunch of 28 year old guys, not even dancing, just staring at us, nodding their heads, pretending that we are not chaining our 4 bar patterns for 24 minutes til we start DJ’ing again…

Edit: I am not shitting on Elektron, I own and love a digitone, I have owned several other Elektron machines in the past, OT and Machinedrum( I was less into these but not because of the 4 bar problem)


agree, its why I dont do 100% hardware and always have a DAW available for writing full tracks or just go hybrid. If I wanted to go full hardware id pick up an MPC and just do it the old school way.
Sure there are workarounds by pattern chaining, song mode, plocks…etc but its not the same, thats why they are workarounds.

Although these are called grooveboxes for a reason and not production stations.


Agree. Still have/love my RS7000 (apart from the size). Still, the future looks bright.



I make my techno loops 2 beats long (half a bar)

You might want to use songmode


No, my friend… You’re not crazy… I’m not sure what happened, no 8 bars, no song mode… It’s strange to hear electronic musicians claim that song mode isn’t a necessary feature in a groovebox… Claiming the device was designed to be played like an instrument… I think there’s a lot of confusion as to what an instrument is… IMO, a guitar is an instrument you play live, a trumpet is a live instrument etc… I consider a groovebox to be a production tool… Now don’t get me wrong, there are people out there that can DJ original material in real-time with a groovebox well… But what happened to the production side of grooveboxes?

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8 bars would be nice for sure…been mentioned, but with p locking and other workarounds you can certainly make a pattern feel a lot longer than it is, but for long melodic sequences I just switch over to a DAW, do what I need to do, then throw it back into the OT. Though for more ambient spacey stuff, midi sequencing on the OT, you can make stuff play for super long stretches with no repeats.
I was very torn between the OT and an MPC X for this very reason though. But heck, the Daw is close by :slight_smile:

well la di da, look at mr “long techno” here. I see your two beats and raise you…

one beat

(yeah I know it gets longer later on but hey)


Yeah outside of techno the 4 bar limit can be either a hassle to work around or make some things not even possible. Tempo scale per track on OT kinda helps out but at the cost of step resolution. Not ideal. And this workaround isn’t even there on A4/AK. Would love to see Elektron seriously overhaul their sequencer in near future. Expand the step limit and offer some of the more recent sequencer functionality that’s been appearing elsewhere in things like op-z, Euro, iOS…

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just give me those 8 bars, i wont ask for more!


this is why i keep bringing up the concept of layering. whats the use of trig condition, if the trig you want to put a trig on already has a trig on it? but i agree the 4 bar form is pretty detrimental to longer melodies… which often run 8 bars long


The gr16 (iOS korg es2 clone) dev listened and expanded from 4 bars to 8. I don’t use iOS much for that kind of stuff but the extra 4 bars really does make a huge difference for melodic/chord sequence flexibility without fiddling around…

If you go longer than 4 bars, I feel like the sequencer has to offer direct access to the different bars, cause switching pages starts to feel like menu diving.

In this regard it seems that OP-Z gets it right, as far as I can tell.


Deluge seems to be the only groovebox in production comparable with machines of the golden era (late 90s — early 00s).
machines like Electribes 2 etc. are just toys.


Yeah some kind of ‘func +’ to access each bar? Doubt we’ll ever see 8 bars on the current/old hardware though. Feels more like a ‘next stage in the sequencer evolution’ type of feature to me? so I guess wouldn’t be hard to solve it with a purpose built UI :slight_smile:

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on the digitone, the only Elektron gear I own, you could just tap the page button, even though there are only 4 LED indicators, they could easily just change the light to indicate 1-4 and 5-8, definately not menu diving, I am pretty sure a few other Elektron gear like the digitakt is the same


Deluge is really impressive. Keen to see what else that guy builds/releases.


like @chaocrator said, was pretty standard fair in the 90s-2000s, I had 3 different grooveboxes from 3 different companies (Emu/Korg/Yamaha) capable of this very simple feature. I believe companies removed it once music became more ‘accessible’ and people wanted more simple grooveboxes to make ‘techno music’

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or 8 leds? you could set how many bars you wanted a pattern in the scale page.

still, staying focused on a particular page has always been an achilles heel of the elektron sequencer

how about hold scale and tap a trig key, to go direct to that page?

maybe that would mess with the fill button, but hey, if its getting complex, why not give Fill it’s own button


One things for sure, grooveboxes havnt followed the same trajectory as computer tech advancement. they’re mostly still fairly rudimentary in many ways.

What though, is the fundamental reason, that all these big name companies no longer produce 8 bar grooveboxes? What is the real reason? Just techno/ableton live producer guys? Will they not buy the thing if the max time is 2x longer than 4 bars? Does that scare people? What is the real reason?

… dark conspiracy thread welcome…