Sampler sequencers?

Is there a sampling sampler-sequencer out there that rivals Elektron tweak- and perform-ability but has more accurate sequencing, i.e. can record actual polyphonic keyboard playing … chords, glissandos, soul flourishes. Not forcing you to sample that. Stereo support would be nice too.

Don’t want a pure sequencer b/c every time I try out sequencing one device with another I find it too clunky and complicated to be worth it. I prefer self-contained.

Thinking about MPC One (or Live) but looking at it, although it’s not super expensive used, it just seems like overkill. Don’t need a DAW replacement that’ll suck up my time. But how are other Elektronauts who have one finding it? I don’t have a good sense of how good its live-tweaking capabilities are so if anyone could testify on that, that might help …

The only ones I know of all have Akai or Yamaha in front of their name.
Roland had some good stuff, but most of them were big machines.

Rivaling Elektron in terms of performance and tweakability is not that easy, since their boxes are essentially made for that.

For instance, I have both Zoom ARQ grooveboxes.
Apart from the fact that everybody hated the formfactor, the sequencer on the AR-96 is really good. It has double the voice count of the octatrack and feature wise it rivals it on many fronts.
But it lacks normal midi connections, doesn’t have much controls, doesn’t sound that good except for effects and samples, recording stops the sequencer and so on.

The new Korg Elektribes have problems with the sampling input and pattern changes.

The new Akai stuff seems pretty good but has delay on the outputs and midi jitter.

So I wish I could advise something, but apart from old Akai, Yamaha and Elektron it seems that no other company has ever really nailed that concept.

I would love to be proven wrong on that though.

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Sounds like you want a non linear sequencer, with easy hands on controls, and sampling with polyphonic playback.

MPC, or Ableton with a decent midi controller will do it.

And possibly that newish Isla 24000 thingy wotsit.

Also… the koala app has all the above features. But its via a touchscreen on a tablet or smartphone.

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Personally, I’m gonna try the Expert Sleepers stuff with FL Studio as soon as I can afford it. That should (in theory) give sample accurate midi sequencing.
(works with any DAW as far a I know)

MPC One/Live needs a controller to be fun to perform (unless you like paging through 4 pages of 4 knobs at a time) but it is pretty quick, easy and painless to set up midi mapping.

MC-707 is very hands on, quite performance orientated, the sampler is a bit basic but depends on what you want to do, the sequencer is quite nice, although max pattern length is 8 pages, but you can chain them.



…all what’s there that i am aware of, with actual capabilties are mpc’s, octatracks, polytrackers and well, akais force…

which is defenitly overkill, if the actual mpc’s are already too much…
and polytracker is indeed “only” an oldschool tracker in hardware…

might wanna check for an older, second hand mpc 1000 or 2500…
those, once running on a jjos, might be the exact right thing in the middle of all that…

roland has also some things going in this ballpark…but roland, well, is roland…
always hated their later machines for too many good reasons…


Does the Blackbox record midi into its sequences as played, or is everything quantised to the steps?

I’ve been thinking a Blackbox with a Faderfox controller might work like a modern OT.

But it’s kind of testament to the OT’s capabilities that we keep having these discussions.

I’d give my left nut for an OT with 1 more stereo input, updated reverb, and a part-per-pattern machine structure.

Akai Force is a beast for sampling and clip mode is amazing but it lacks the step sequencer tricks that make the Elektrons a joy to use.
I currently swear by the Force though and have no Elektrons.

what features do you need and what features are you trying to avoid because on most groove boxes you don’t need to go through too much to not use the features you don’t want to use, although the octatrack gives me a different vibe to that notion?

Already tried the 1000. Antiquated sequencing/editing, bad pads, the sampling engine is … not great … and clunky UX. Lost money on $100’s in upgrades since the One came out and drove the value way down. Can pay the same amount and get a used One. Can’t expect that to be “simpler”, but maybe “easier”? (I’m actually more interested in the Live than the One so a little more expensive.)

Ableton+Reason is my default and I’m OK sequencing my MD and NL3 from that. The things I hate the most are having to figure out MIDI connections when things aren’t hooked up the same way and … the fact that it is on a computer, which is without fail the cause of 90% of problems and delays before and during a set. Every. Single. Time.

I’m not going to rush into anything but MPC is looking like the way to go when I have the extra scratch.

I really would like a simple cheap(er) device that can function like an Elektron device but has “real” sequencing. Not a step-sequencer with short sequence length, micro-timing and retrigs. (The step sequencer has its pluses, but I won’t get into that.) Throw in simple on-the-bar audio clip arrangement and you’re golden. Doesn’t need to be a full DAW loaded with plugins or a touchscreen, just a sample-based composition and performance device. Although it would be pretty handy if it did have a screen and you could use a mouse with it :wink: . Or maybe if it had HDMI out! :open_mouth:

IDK, maybe companies figured that once you’re going down that road, users are going to want all the bells and whistles …

I’ve been working on-and-off on a RasPi-based battery-powered looping MIDI sequencer with the features I want, as a “player” … maybe I just realized that it should also have sampling … :wink:

I’ve ready about that, pretty much took it off my list forever because there’s just no way for them to improve things with the limited processor. The UI looks choppy on top of it. Not optimal for a live setting.

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Oof, yeah. Had an OT once and its reverb was one of the worst I’ve ever heard. BTW I love the spirit of that box but I don’t think it was meant for me. MIDI on that was an absolute puzzle.

This is why I stopped using a laptop for gigs. And why ultimatley I moved away from the computer for making music in the studio.

Really sounds like a non linear sequencer is priority for you. Sometimes I wish the elektron stuff had that, and if I had my time again, I may have got an MPC. That said, I love my elektron machines, wouldn’t part with the OT or Digitone.

Best of luck on your quest.

Could be worth looking at the Roland FA series (both sampling and sequencing I believe) or one of many other older workstation type keyboards (Triton, Motif etc)?

Pioneer sp16 ?
It has a few annoying issues but fxwe’re ok , sequencer ok with limited parameter tweaks on each step, 16 channels that could be sample, midi , external input

Worth a try if you find one about £600 ish.
Reverb was a bit metallic IMO , analog filter seemed ok though I’m happy with digital filters ( eg on digitakt )
It could make stems

But would need computer to get them off / delete a sample.