Help me build an all hardware techno setup

Any music gear discussions that don't fit into one of the other forums.

Moderators: Kent, Joe., luketeaford, lisa

huye
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: Finland

Help me build an all hardware techno setup

Post by huye » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:01 pm

So for awhile now i have been making music only with software with some hardware stuff occasionally. But now i'm interested in starting to do improvisational techno, that builds slowly by just jamming. What kinda of hardware would you guys recommend me? In terms of sounds of other artists i'm inspired by are silent servant, rrose, ansome, paula temple just to name a few. Is going all hardware an impossible task? Or is there a way to make a hardware setup work in the modern techno landscape? I'm also interested to know what kind of hardware setups you guys are using.

User avatar
khyber
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 630
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:02 am
Location: Far reaches
Contact:

Post by khyber » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:29 pm

Techno is traditionally all hardware, most of the great live techno acts still touring use hardware to great effect in their performances.

Octave One comes to mind immediately, but they tend to go massive with their setup. There's a great Youtube video out there where they discuss their touring rig and how they keep all the gear in sync.

Headless Horseman does live techno just using Elektron boxes:

Mr. G also had a great Boiler Room performance just using an MPC2000XL:

Legowelt does some great live things with hardware as well:

Techno is especially well geared for hardware performances live since it doesn't tend to rely on a lot of fancy hardware to get the job done. You could drive an entire set with an MPC or Octatrack. I'd probably add an extra drum machine to one of those boxes, monosynth or two for bass/leads, and have a smart setup with your mixer. Oh and a few effects units for reverbs, distortion, etc.
Last edited by khyber on Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
xthrasherx
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:37 pm
Location: Auburn, ME
Contact:

Post by xthrasherx » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:39 pm

I'm not much of a techno guy other than sometimes doing a poor imitation of it for fun while messing around in my studio, BUT:

All hardware is totally doable and can be as minimal or extreme as you'd like. For the most part you are going to want some sort of drum machine, sampler, synth, and some fx. These don't all have to be individual units. An Elektron box of some sort can cover a lot of ground (Digitakt, Analog Four, Rytm, or Octatrack) for example. The Octatrack can be particularly useful bridging the gap between software based and hardware, but it is an incredibly deep and requires some time to become proficient with it. A cheaper way would be something like the Korg electribe EMX-1 or possibly some of the volca series.

Best thing would be to start "small" with one or two pieces of equipment and build up from there. No matter what it'll be a little more limiting than software, but personally I find it more enjoyable.
"While we scream and perish, History licks a finger and turns the page.”
― Thomas Ligotti

Instagram::YouTube::SoundCloud

Futuresound

Post by Futuresound » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:49 pm

xthrasherx wrote: Best thing would be to start "small" with one or two pieces of equipment and build up from there. .
This is great advice.

I have a ton of gear, mostly bought within a relatively short period of time. Honestly, I'd be making more music if I only had an OT or Rytm or whatever.

Having some extra distortion, reverb and delay units wouldn't hurt though.

I'd also say that if you're interested in improvising, you're in good shape. Improvising with hardware is 'easier' than crafting fully-structure tracks in my opinion. It's still hard, but hardware lends itself to improvising I feel.

User avatar
sutekina bipu-on
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 883
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:24 pm
Location: USA

Post by sutekina bipu-on » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:52 pm

I have tons and tons of gear and the most music ive made in the last week was bringing a tiny mixer, one of my drum machines and a mic set up around where i was testing a new synth i got, all you need is a drum machine and a poly synth.

huye
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: Finland

Post by huye » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:53 pm

khyber wrote:Techno is traditionally all hardware, most of the great live techno acts still touring use hardware to great effect in their performances.

Octave One comes to mind immediately, but they tend to go massive with their setup. There's a great Youtube video out there where they discuss their touring rig and how they keep all the gear in sync.

Headless Horseman does live techno just using Elektron boxes:

Mr. G also had a great Boiler Room performance just using an MPC2000XL:

Legowelt does some great live things with hardware as well:

Techno is especially well geared for hardware performances live since it doesn't tend to rely on a lot of fancy hardware to get the job done. You could drive an entire set with an MPC or Octatrack. I'd probably add an extra drum machine to one of those boxes, monosynth or two for bass/leads, and have a smart setup with your mixer. Oh and a few effects units for reverbs, distortion, etc.
Thanks for the reply! It seems to me that its very much possible to go hardware which is exactly what i wanted to hear. My only fear honestly is that its gonna be wayy too limited for me to make whats in my head into actual reality, but with all these fancy modern machines like octatrack etc. They honestly dont seem all that limited at all. Maybe not quite a computer but pretty close.

User avatar
rean1mator
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:51 am
Location: oakland, ca

Post by rean1mator » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:54 pm

I guess the big question is: What's your budget?

huye
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: Finland

Post by huye » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:59 pm

xthrasherx wrote:I'm not much of a techno guy other than sometimes doing a poor imitation of it for fun while messing around in my studio, BUT:

All hardware is totally doable and can be as minimal or extreme as you'd like. For the most part you are going to want some sort of drum machine, sampler, synth, and some fx. These don't all have to be individual units. An Elektron box of some sort can cover a lot of ground (Digitakt, Analog Four, Rytm, or Octatrack) for example. The Octatrack can be particularly useful bridging the gap between software based and hardware, but it is an incredibly deep and requires some time to become proficient with it. A cheaper way would be something like the Korg electribe EMX-1 or possibly some of the volca series.

Best thing would be to start "small" with one or two pieces of equipment and build up from there. No matter what it'll be a little more limiting than software, but personally I find it more enjoyable.
Thanks for the reply man/girl i really appreciate it. I agree with you on starting small, in fact limitation are a part of why i'm going all hardware since computers and all the possibilities they present are way too much for my brain to handle. Its much easier to stay in focus and understand the ins and out of every piece of kit and work within those limitations as best as i can. ofc theres a sort of geeky aspect in having gear since
technology and shit like that really interests me.

huye
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: Finland

Post by huye » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:01 pm

rean1mator wrote:I guess the big question is: What's your budget?
My budget changes constantly but, my plan is to build a good setup over time (1-2 years) buying something here, something there, and not to buy all the stuff at once.

huye
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: Finland

Post by huye » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:03 pm

Just to quickly add, i have an alesis ion coming into my studio so i sort of have the poly synth aspect of the setup covered

User avatar
rod_zero
Common Wiggler
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:44 am

Post by rod_zero » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:03 pm

Depends on your budget but I would get something like:

Elektron analog rytm + elektron analog 4

or

The new Roland TR8S + System 8

Or TR8S + roland sh01a + another mono synth with sequencer.

huye
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: Finland

Post by huye » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:06 pm

rod_zero wrote:Depends on your budget but I would get something like:

Elektron analog rytm + elektron analog 4

or

The new Roland TR8S + System 8

Or TR8S + roland sh01a + another mono synth with sequencer.

I just wish that the analog rytm would allow to sequence external gear, i kinda need something that i can make sounds or load sounds into that can also sequence other external stuff

User avatar
lisa
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 5145
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:00 am
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Post by lisa » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:11 pm

Today I'd use Electribe 2, Volca Sample and a TR-8, I think. Plus a few delay inserts in my mixer. I could do hours with a limited set like that.
909, manic trilling courtesy of Make Noise René and DPO, wavetable bass by Disting and some soft melodies by the Korg Minilogue. I mainly sat and watched it all unfold. :eek:


Panason
is banned
is banned
Posts: 3324
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:56 am

Post by Panason » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:16 pm

huye wrote:
I just wish that the analog rytm would allow to sequence external gear, i kinda need something that i can make sounds or load sounds into that can also sequence other external stuff
The Machinedrum has decent MIDI sequencing and is pretty damn good for techno...

The Analog 4 mk1 is weak, and the mk2 is buggy.

User avatar
rean1mator
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:51 am
Location: oakland, ca

Post by rean1mator » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:19 pm

If I were starting from scratch

1. Rytm or Digitakt.
2. A digital synth like Monomachine or digitone, d-05, modor nf-1
3. a small eurorack set up to add variation to your loops via modulation.
4. an analogue monosynth for the basslines: ms-20m, behringer model d, abstrakt avalon
5. and a nice hardware sequencer like a social entropy engine, squarp, cirklon.

huye
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: Finland

Post by huye » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:21 pm

rean1mator wrote:If I were starting from scratch

1. Rytm or Digitakt.
2. A digital synth like Monomachine or digitone, d-05, modor nf-1
3. a small eurorack set up to add variation to your loops via modulation.
4. an analogue monosynth for the basslines: ms-20m, behringer model d, abstrakt avalon
5. and a nice hardware sequencer like a social entropy engine, squarp, cirklon.
How would you compare machinedrum to the rytm ? which one do you think is better?

User avatar
J3RK
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 6661
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:46 pm
Location: Seattle

Post by J3RK » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:21 pm

Digitakt+Digitone is pretty nice. It's a small setup, it's easy to learn, you can chain one through the other, and not even need a mixer while you're starting out. It's pretty insane all of the sounds you can get out of the pair.

Even just a Digitone on its own can make some pretty decent techno, but I suppose it kind of depends on the style. I'd probably go with a Digitone alone for say minimal styles, and a Digitakt for the harder styles. Or both, for just about anything you can think of.

There are plenty of other ways to make techno, but after owning this little pair, I can't think of much else that would help make the music any better. Maybe an Avalon if you want some 303.

You could go with a Rytm instead of the Digitakt of course, have the pads, have the synth engine, and there are supposed to be some interesting updates coming for it. I'd still highly recommend having the Digitone though. It's really versatile for such a small thing.

User avatar
rean1mator
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:51 am
Location: oakland, ca

Post by rean1mator » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:53 pm

Didn't list a machinedrum. But I owned an MK1 many many years ago, which I could never get decent Kick sounds with. But I think the last gen Machinedrums sound pretty good. The Sequencer on the Rytm is great imo. People are always complaining aboyt Elektron UI but I think they primarily from people who don't like to sit down and either RTFM or the patience to spend the time to learn a complex instrument. I love my Rytm and won't be upgrading to MK2 until they overhaul the OS. My only gripe with the Rytm is sample management between projects. It's a little kludgy in that regard.
huye wrote:
rean1mator wrote:If I were starting from scratch

1. Rytm or Digitakt.
2. A digital synth like Monomachine or digitone, d-05, modor nf-1
3. a small eurorack set up to add variation to your loops via modulation.
4. an analogue monosynth for the basslines: ms-20m, behringer model d, abstrakt avalon
5. and a nice hardware sequencer like a social entropy engine, squarp, cirklon.
How would you compare machinedrum to the rytm ? which one do you think is better?

Panason
is banned
is banned
Posts: 3324
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:56 am

Post by Panason » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:53 pm

huye wrote: How would you compare machinedrum to the rytm ? which one do you think is better?
I have both. The Rytm has the pads and you can use them for muting which is great live as they light up or go dark to show mute state. It has micro-timing while the MD quantizes to 16s or 32s at the most... but the MD has 16 tracks and a MIDI sequencer that can do things not even the mighty Cirklon can. You could also use all 16 tracks for MIDI sequencing.

The Rytm has much improved sample upload (on the mk1 only with 3rd party app for $20). The MD has more synthesis but is not analog so it may sound a little more clinical (or even lame). The fx are rubbish on both. The Rytm can do pattern changes on the next tick , the MD always cues patterns for the next bar unless you trigger them with MIDI notes or you program the changes to happen in song mode. On the Rytm you cannot do pattern changes from MIDI notes, only with program changes. Why? Ask Elektron! :mad:

User avatar
sutekina bipu-on
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 883
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:24 pm
Location: USA

Post by sutekina bipu-on » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:09 pm

huye wrote:Just to quickly add, i have an alesis ion coming into my studio so i sort of have the poly synth aspect of the setup covered
Focus on a drum machine that is easy and intuitive for you to play IMO. Techno is heavily rhythm based and i've found since I bought my TR-08 boutique i've been making much much MUCH more expressive tracks because i can easily mess with the pattern, change sound parameters or add fills while playing other stuff.

He has an ion already so something like a digitone or any other synth is gonna be less important than something for percussion.

User avatar
J3RK
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 6661
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:46 pm
Location: Seattle

Post by J3RK » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:16 pm

rean1mator wrote:People are always complaining aboyt Elektron UI but I think they primarily from people who don't like to sit down and either RTFM or the patience to spend the time to learn a complex instrument. I love my Rytm and won't be upgrading to MK2 until they overhaul the OS. My only gripe with the Rytm is sample management between projects. It's a little kludgy in that regard.
I kind of felt that way until I forced myself to sit down and learn it as well. I didn't do a whole lot with my Monomachine back when it came out. When I got an A4, I made myself read the manual, put together a few tracks with it, and generally had a higher opinion of the Elektron style.

However, I eventually sold it because I wasn't using it too much.

I just picked up the DT+DN combo though, and have been thoroughly enjoying them. Everything just flows with them, and I find that I can actually make some music in the minuscule amounts of time I actually have for making music. Everyone talks about how immediate they are, and they're right. You can be up and running with them in minutes, and they really lend themselves to be played more, and used in different and creative ways IMO. Not that the bigger ones aren't similar in this regard, but I really think they nailed the trade-off between power and scaling down for the form factor. They have limitations which I find actually make me work more creatively. I actually make more use of the little tricks the sequencers are capable of for example. They're just fun, and I think that goes a long way toward me actually spending time with them.

I used to play games while laying in bed before falling asleep at night. (3DS etc.) Now I bring the Digitone up, and make sounds and music instead.

User avatar
J3RK
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 6661
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:46 pm
Location: Seattle

Post by J3RK » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:20 pm

sutekina bipu-on wrote:He has an ion already so something like a digitone or any other synth is gonna be less important than something for percussion.
The Digitone makes an excellent drum machine. AND it can make nice non-percussion sounds. Once again, I think it depends on what styles of techno though.



This is all Digitone and Blofeld. (Blofeld's only doing the chords and buzzy sound later on...) One pass.

http://soundcloud.com/drj3rk/digitoneblofeldtest

User avatar
rean1mator
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:51 am
Location: oakland, ca

Post by rean1mator » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:26 pm

Yeah, not so patiently waiting for my digitone to show up. and have been wanting a digitakt for a while now. Kinda feel teh same about my Analog Keys, but then I fire it up and mess around with it and it really is a great sounding synth. Use it quite a bit for CV sequending duties too.
J3RK wrote:
rean1mator wrote:People are always complaining aboyt Elektron UI but I think they primarily from people who don't like to sit down and either RTFM or the patience to spend the time to learn a complex instrument. I love my Rytm and won't be upgrading to MK2 until they overhaul the OS. My only gripe with the Rytm is sample management between projects. It's a little kludgy in that regard.
I kind of felt that way until I forced myself to sit down and learn it as well. I didn't do a whole lot with my Monomachine back when it came out. When I got an A4, I made myself read the manual, put together a few tracks with it, and generally had a higher opinion of the Elektron style.

However, I eventually sold it because I wasn't using it too much.

I just picked up the DT+DN combo though, and have been thoroughly enjoying them. Everything just flows with them, and I find that I can actually make some music in the minuscule amounts of time I actually have for making music. Everyone talks about how immediate they are, and they're right. You can be up and running with them in minutes, and they really lend themselves to be played more, and used in different and creative ways IMO. Not that the bigger ones aren't similar in this regard, but I really think they nailed the trade-off between power and scaling down for the form factor. They have limitations which I find actually make me work more creatively. I actually make more use of the little tricks the sequencers are capable of for example. They're just fun, and I think that goes a long way toward me actually spending time with them.

I used to play games while laying in bed before falling asleep at night. (3DS etc.) Now I bring the Digitone up, and make sounds and music instead.

User avatar
J3RK
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 6661
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:46 pm
Location: Seattle

Post by J3RK » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:28 pm

Wiggler IDM is using two Digitakts to do live sets. This thread has a bit more info on that combo.

viewtopic.php?t=187440&postdays=0&posto ... &start=175

Here's the video:

[video][/video]

User avatar
ear ear
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:10 am

Post by ear ear » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:49 pm

Judging by this thread one might form the impression that techno is a musical style traditionally made using Elektron boxes...

Can we not make better recommendations?
He throws the ink first and works out what it is later. "I've got to turn that into parrots." - Ralph Steadman

Post Reply

Return to “General Gear”