My goal has been to provide a palette of instruments that do not have patch storage and are WYSIWYG, knob per function. Since purchasing my first piece of hardware in late 2018, I’ve gone from wanting to pre-program patterns and songs that I can move through to wanting a system that I can play as an instrument. As @dtr mentioned, I personally believe a DJ mixer is critical to this setup. I have an Allen & Heath PX5 that I’ve been waiting nearly two months for (should be in next week!).
As for transitioning between ideas, I have a TR8S and there’s an annoying quirk when switching patters; while they do stay in time, the tails of sounds get clipped as does the external input sound. If I wanted to transition to a new pattern/kit then I’d have to accommodate for that annoyance with drowning things in reverb or cutting the TR8S down to short samples/hits before transitioning. Not what I wanted so I bought a TR6S to have two drum machines. This will let me bounce back and forth between the two or use one/other as a cool bank of FM sounds. Loving that bit so far.
As for the other pieces of kit:
Selling my Mother 32 because, for as lovely as it sounds, I like crazy, atonal, noise. I’m not super keen on random so still looking at how I’d like to use Marbles (user programmed microtonal stuff comes to mind).
But the flow should essentially be this:
- DFAM and Subharmonicon are in one case with Stages and Clouds. They will output into channel 1 of the mixer
- Elements, Rings, Blades, Maths, Marbles (Erica Black Sequencer and Plaits in the next month or so) go into channel 4 of the mixer
- TR6S into channel 2
- TR8S into channel 3
So, this let’s me queue, noodle up the next soundscape on one set of synths/drums while the other is playing and being performed.
It’s essentially two separate, interchangeable systems running into a DJ mixer for performance.
One could easily strip down to one of the above euro cases, a simple mixer, and a looper to work Surgeon/Karenn etc. style. I’ve just never been good a looping things and I’d prefer to have a small variety of voices and modulation sources to work with. A lot of these small setups start to sound a bit “same-y” over a 1 hour set. I mean, they still sound great. I’m just trying to have some variety to my output.