Help me build an all hardware techno setup

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J3RK
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Post by J3RK » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:06 pm

ear ear wrote: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?
First, I can't see any issue with making any style of music one might wish to on an Elektron box. (assuming of course it's a style of music which lends itself to electronic means)

Next, there are TONS of other ways to make techno with hardware.

Modular would be a good one.

303+606 if you want to spend that kind of money on old hardware.

Miami+Avalon might be a nice combo.

All of the above would be pretty amazing.

One could probably make full tracks on a Pro-2.

One could make it on an OP1.

One could buy an Electribe or three.

Handful of Pocket Operators?

Or pretty much anything you can think of.

However, Elektron machines are excellent for this purpose, very flexible in sound and sequencing abilities, and they have a box for just about any type of synthesis, sampling, etc. Some people get along with their way of doing things, some people don't. The thing is though, if you want to use a smaller setup, get away from using computers, and want good quality sound engines, then Elektron is pretty hard to beat.

They can hardly be called a bad way to make techno though. Techno by it's nature doesn't necessarily adhere to "tradition" either. There are also more sub-genres than I care to name or make up. :razz:

Here's what I'd consider another good way to make techno:
(yes there's a touch of Elektron in it...)

[video][/video]



And here's another good way:
(a lot of Elektron in this one...)

[video][/video]



And another way:
(no Elektron...)

[video][/video]



This works too... (acid flavored)

[video][/video]


Or... (decks, effects, laptop, maybe a 909... :mrgreen: )

[video][/video]



Here's a method I think we can all agree on.

[video][/video]



Elektron, DSI, etc...

[video][/video]
Last edited by J3RK on Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Tumulishroomaroom » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:38 pm

I find modular fantastic to play techno. A cherrypicked 6u is perfect if you do drums outside of the rack and I find that I could finally get to the kind of techno I wanted to make thanks to the digitakt : great sequencer + whichever sounds you want + sampling the 6u.



A couple example with that setup :

https://soundcloud.com/tumulishoomaroom/manis-in-dub

https://soundcloud.com/tumulishoomaroom/looping-tg-one

I'd like to add an analog drum machine and a small synth like the Modor down the line though.

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Post by J3RK » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:48 pm

Tumulishroomaroom wrote:I find modular fantastic to play techno. A cherrypicked 6u is perfect if you do drums outside of the rack and I find that I could finally get to the kind of techno I wanted to make thanks to the digitakt : great sequencer + whichever sounds you want + sampling the 6u.



A couple example with that setup :

https://soundcloud.com/tumulishoomaroom/manis-in-dub

https://soundcloud.com/tumulishoomaroom/looping-tg-one

I'd like to add an analog drum machine and a small synth like the Modor down the line though.
I've been really enjoying the tracks you've been posting. Mellow and crunchy at the same time. :tu:

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Post by xthrasherx » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:36 pm

Futuresound wrote:
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.
Same here. I went on a spending spree (still do at times), and have recently been trying to minimize my set up... or at least my focus. Currently it is based around learning the Octatrack (and relearning my Rytm + Virus), but I've got a project to bang out real quick that'll be heavy in the modular world this week :party:

To the OP:
Modular is a ton of fun. A TON of fun, but you'll get up and running quicker with a hardware synth vs modular. If you are interested in going down that route (it is Muffs after-all!!) something that plays well with modular is very helpful. For Elektron, the Octatrack can fit that role indirectly. The Analog Four plays really well with modular (from my understanding). Arturia has many modular friendly units that are fairly inexpensive.
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Post by dkcg » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:11 pm

The OP said build up this setup over the next couple years.

The rate at which new electronic instruments appear and disappear (or go on long periods of unavailability, I'm glaring at you TE...OP1 available soon my ass), I think it's better for the OP to focus on one aspect of what they do in the computer and take that externally. Whether it's a Digitakt, Easel, Miami, TR-08, monologue, Andromeda, whatever it is. Things will not be the same in a year or two and most likely, neither will you.

Start with one thing that centers around the workflow, then expand from there as you may see what you need to get to where you want to go.

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Post by AdamJay » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:44 pm

While the new Roland TR-8S looks appealing for techno, it doesn't change the fact that not much can beat the capabilities of the Octatrack MKII and a synth of your choosing.

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Post by Tumulishroomaroom » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:52 am

J3RK wrote:
I've been really enjoying the tracks you've been posting. Mellow and crunchy at the same time. :tu:
Thank you very much. I couldn't (wouldn't ?) do anything without the modular; it is so much fun for this kind of music.

That said I have a friend of mine who does very good Northern Electronics (Acronym/Abdullah Rashim etc...) techno with only Ableton and one tinyyyy external controller. (Well he also asked me about starting a small modular setup recently...).

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Post by col » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:01 am

ear ear wrote: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?
Roland/BOSS DR-660 :hihi:

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Post by acidbob » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:24 am

What kind of techno? List us a few artists that you like the sound of or some demos. You wont get far with no budget but starting small with something like 1 drummachine like the TR8s or analog rytm and a multitimbral synth will get you a long way. However, these boxes dont do any midi sequencing so, you are left with the digitakt, machinedrum, octatrack, MPC or electribe... Or something like that. The plus to having a multitimbral synth is that you can make make leads, basses and ambient sounds with a simple setup and on a low budget.

If you have enough money why not get a 909, Korg monopoly, 303, Oberheim expander or a DSI and a cirklon on the side :)

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Post by meska » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:18 am

personaly is use the hold elektron trinity (MD MM OT) for 150 bpm glitchy and 8 bit hardtekno and it's juste heaven !! the choise of the machine depend how you whant to play live:

juste chaining pattern with some effect , or real time reelooping, triger some song with pad (MD MK2 do that), real time melodi playing ect..

for me playing live is playing the instrument ! but if you look 90% of tekno live (even on computeur ) is juste autochaining pattern and the guys add some effect some time ..
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Post by nomadjames » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:02 am

My hardware setup right now is an MPC 1000, OP-1, Korg Monologue, Volca Kick, Deepmind 12, Roland MX-1, Arturia Keystep, Strymon El-Capistan, Roland TR-8 and a Lyra-8. I run the Monologue and the Volca Kick into Korg TP2 preamp,

Works great. Still getting used to the MPC but it is pretty impressive for MIDI.

I am integrating it into my Ableton setup at the home studio, So I can track all the individual instruments into Ableton. I don't use the MX-1 at home, unfortunately. I don't want to mess with aggregate soundcards.
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Post by huye » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:31 am

acidbob wrote:What kind of techno? List us a few artists that you like the sound of or some demos. You wont get far with no budget but starting small with something like 1 drummachine like the TR8s or analog rytm and a multitimbral synth will get you a long way. However, these boxes dont do any midi sequencing so, you are left with the digitakt, machinedrum, octatrack, MPC or electribe... Or something like that. The plus to having a multitimbral synth is that you can make make leads, basses and ambient sounds with a simple setup and on a low budget.

If you have enough money why not get a 909, Korg monopoly, 303, Oberheim expander or a DSI and a cirklon on the side :)
I listen to a lot of different stuff, but in terms of techno i would say the main influences i have are as follows: Silent servant, rrose,Shxcxchcxsh, ansome, paula temple just to name a few. There is a lot more that i could list out but i think thats enough to get a general idea of what i'm into. I listen to some old school techno aswell but not a lot tbh.

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Post by huye » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:53 am

Ok so i have come up with a plan for the setup.

1. Get a good drum machine, i'm thinking of analog rytm or the machinedrum
2. get some efx pedals and a bigger mixer, and a compressor (also i really want a roland space echo)
3. Build a decent modular system that isn't too crazy or expensive
4. maybe an octatrack
5.maybe another poly keyboard to add to my alesis ion

But the main thing is i dont want too much gear. I want to keep things somewhat simple. I want to know each piece of kit aswell as i can

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Post by The Grump » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:30 am

I don't know what you know already, so please forgive me if any of this information seems redundant, but here are the basics of what and why:

1) a SOLID mixer that you can play on. It is the heart of your sound, and if it doesn't sound good, none of the rest of your gear will either. If it's flimsy, it will break on you, or you will be afraid to actually play on it. Preferably one with faders, but I used a 1202 on tour for years and made it work, though I wish I'd had something a bit nicer. Don't underestimate its importance, and though most this side of the pond don't realize it, or treat it like one, it really is a powerful possibly your most powerful instrument.

2) a SOLID drum machine whose sounds you won't get tired of. When it comes to techno, you can't go wrong with a 909. I've only used the real one, but a friend with both that and the boutique says the boutique has the sound well enough that you're not going to be able to tell the difference unless you have them both side by side. So the tr-09 is a safe bet. The tr-08 is also an awesome tool. Personally, I may go with a combination of the TR-08 (because I like the hats and snare better), and a Volca Kick (because you HAVE to have The Whomp to make Techno). A sampling drum machine is also a good bet, because as long as you dig the interface, you will never have to get tired of using the same old sounds, just cook up new ones any time and load them in.

3) a SOLID synth. When you play live, that synth will be your signature, and how you play it will be what makes or breaks your set, as a performer, so one that YOU can get around in quickly, and whose tonal character never gets old is the kind of thing you're looking for, and it might be something few people use or dig, but you manage to get ill with. For example: a JP-8000. I can't stand the fucking thing myself whenever I have tried to play one, and under any other circumstance dislike the tone, but one of my best friends has utterly mastered that thing and can pull the most jaw-dropping sounds out of it at the drop of a hat (or tab, for that matter). For me, it's my Evolver, though it used to be my Pulse+. Any time I need to cook up a distinct sound quickly, and software just ain't doing it, that thing is there for me.

3) a decent sampler. You're going to need more sounds than just your drum machine, and one synth voice, especially for longer tones and loops, but also for drums, percussion, bass, melodies, and other personalized sounds that will also show the audience why it's you on stage and no one else.

4) a SOLID sequencer. One that has a workflow you can enjoy, with ROCK SOLID TIMING. Honestly, Techno is about totally solid timing on all of your sounds and The Whomp. I used a pair of MMT-8's for years, now I use an MPC1k, though I will probably ditch it for a Pyramid (to drive a very small Eurorack rig, when I can marshal the spondulix). You probably will want something that will send multiple tracks on that you can mute and unmute at will, handles a fair amount of info, maybe even sys-ex, depending on your synth/s, and even better if it can handle more than one group of sequences, and lengths at the same time, as this will help you in making transitions between chunks of ideas in your set.

5) a couple of effects. For years for me, it was a few guitar pedals. A Rat, an analog delay, a digital delay, and an envelope filter created tons of fun, playable variety in my set, because they were easy to use, sounded great live, and worked well with my mixer. Really, sky's the limit with those things.

*Optional, though strongly suggested: a good EQ, and a SOLID dummy-proof but good sounding compressor. The EQ is to shape your sound for the room (though you will ALWAYS want to speak with the house engineer first, and work things out during sound check), and the compressor is to beef out your sound as well as avoiding catastrophic failure of the sound system. Trust me, I've blown a lot of drivers along the way to learning the importance of this lesson. These days, I use a DBX 166, because it's simple, I can set it and forget it, it works, and it's not irreplaceable.

As I said, these are the basics, and you can slim things down by getting pieces that will run double duty, but you can see that there are a jobs that need doing. As mentioned earlier, Headless Horseman gigs with just a pair of Octatracks, an Eventide Space, and a mixer, and his sets sound great, though maybe a little one-dimensional tonally.

Things to consider are first and foremost how YOU play with each piece, how you get around in each, and how much enjoyment they give YOU, because that is going to come across like nothing else when you play. I've heard folks with some of the jankiest, shitty sounding gear pull off some of the most fun, entertaining, expressive and inspiring sets because they had awesome ideas, and knew how to get the best out of the gear they had. Don't worry about getting the latest and greatest, regardless of what other folks are hot on. (except MC-303's, those things just suck ass, no matter who plays them.)

Practice PLAYING, and do it A LOT if you plan on ever playing anywhere but in your own room. Don't practice producing, just play, and play something different EVERY time. Sure, practice each part until it sounds like you want it to sound and you can execute it correctly and consistently, but do something different each time, like mix and match parts you've never played together, try different effects, and break out of the formula that DJ's always stick to. Remember, it's NOT a recital, you're not DJ'ing, people are not there to see you DJ or play the tracks you've made just like the recordings you've released, you don't have to worry about the record running out in a few minutes, you have all the time you need, and you can switch things up as much as you'd like, this is YOUR set. Be you doing you, and be good at it.

Ok, if you've actually read all of this, I commend you, and wish you the best of luck.

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Post by Panason » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:21 am

(though you will ALWAYS want to speak with the house engineer first, and work things out during sound check)
good luck with that!
Last edited by Panason on Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by nomadjames » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:21 am

I second the Volca Kick. That thing pounds. I am running into a Korg TP2 preamp right now.
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Post by The Grump » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:46 pm

Panason wrote:
(though you will ALWAYS want to speak with the house engineer first, and work things out during sound check)
good luck with that!
My "day job" is engineering live and recorded sound, so I'm always cool to hang out with the A1 before a gig. Most us are grumpy bastards so we know what to expect from one another.

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Post by ear ear » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:13 pm

J3RK wrote:I can't see any issue with making any style of music one might wish to on an Elektron box.
Fair point, but isn't the OP likely to have heard of Elektron before starting this thread? You yourself are a great example of a more obscure designer whom one might only discover through visiting this forum. There's lots of exciting and more-or-less obscure gear well-suited to making techno to be discovered round these parts. The OP's Ion plus a Synthstrom Deluge, a Syncussion clone (search for 'satindas' and 'Syncussion') and a Future Retro XS would be a pretty awesome small set-up for making techno. Then there's Bugbrand, Gotharman, Nonlinearcircuits, Serge...
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Post by J3RK » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:18 pm

ear ear wrote:
J3RK wrote:I can't see any issue with making any style of music one might wish to on an Elektron box.
Fair point, but isn't the OP likely to have heard of Elektron before starting this thread? You yourself are a great example of a more obscure designer whom one might only discover through visiting this forum. There's lots of exciting and more-or-less obscure gear well-suited to making techno to be discovered round these parts. The OP's Ion plus a Synthstrom Deluge, a Syncussion clone (search for 'satindas' and 'Syncussion') and a Future Retro XS would be a pretty awesome small set-up for making techno. Then there's Bugbrand, Gotharman, Nonlinearcircuits, Serge...
Thank you! And I agree with your point completely. (I'm just kind of a fan of Elektron is all.) Your list is also quite exciting, and just as valid as any other for the task at hand. I find myself wanting an Avalon lately actually to round out my little setup.

What I think is cool about the smaller Elektron boxes, is that they're a great starting point, and great to build on. So you can get up and running quickly, and then fill it out a bit later with something like anything in your list as some examples.

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Post by Tumulishroomaroom » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:39 pm

Is the Volca Kick different that the Beats ? I found the BD on the beats excellent ! I need to borrow it from a friend of mine as well as his (previously mine !) Tanzmaus to make a few samples.

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Post by xthrasherx » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:43 pm

Hmm... I never thought of trying to use my Gotharman stuff for techno... Guess I got something to try when I have some downtime :lol:

As for the volca. The kick is just a kick drum synth (no snare, hi-hats). I have the Volca Sample that can be a lot of fun for percussion / beats, but I don't use it much anymore (something I bring on travel for fun).
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Post by Tumulishroomaroom » Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:00 pm

Oh yeah that I know, I was just wondering if the Kick bass drum was significantly better the the Beats bass drum (which I find very good, lots of low end, very boomy 808-ish, works great for less in your face techno). Even if I guess the Kick has way more flavors/settings so the comparison may no be perfect.

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Post by nomadjames » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:16 pm

I have a Volca Kick. It provides a wonderful kick drum with a lot of variety. It can do subby to more 909 kinds of stuff pretty easy. Can also do bass and some Plonky kinds of percussion.

I have MIDI plugged into it and either trigger it with the MPC 1000 or Ableton.

I like it. Makes a solid foundation.
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Post by JosefK » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:57 pm

my techno set up

Midas f24 mixer
Space timefactor and heat
Kawai r100 drum machine
Esq 1
Sh101
Dx100
Octatrack
And a 9u modular


Always record to tape

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Post by J3RK » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:03 pm

JosefK wrote:my techno set up

Midas f24 mixer
Space timefactor and heat
Kawai r100 drum machine
Esq 1
Sh101
Dx100
Octatrack
And a 9u modular


Always record to tape
That sounds like fun. I've never seen an R100. I used to have the XD5 though, which was pretty fun. Kinda like a percussion based K4R more or less.

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