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User reviews on Groove Machine products

A surprising device (Elektron - Monomachine SFX60+ MKII)

By Hox3D, 25/08/2018
A good device. Honestly, it’s great! You could just pass it by if you were to just try it too quickly, but it has an incredible potential.

I use it to make small loops, to write things I think of on the spur of the moment. It’s the very first “composing” machine that I’ve owned, and it suits me perfectly (I’d already tried with a computer before, but making music using a mouse and keyboard just isn’t my thing). I intend to use it for a live set soon, but nothing precisely planned yet so far. One thing is for sure: it will perfectly find its place in a live setup.

Design is flawless: it’s sturdy, you could pogo on it and it barely would feel it (it’s just a figure of speech – but you can try if you feel like it). Seriously, the aluminium front seems reliable, the control buttons seem unbreakable and the machine itself is a very sturdy metal block. The sole problem comes from the knobs which may end up moving in an undesirable manner, but nothing too bad.

Soundwise, the device unveils itself as a first-class synth. It has a sound of its own, which may seem quite repetitive in the beginning (I must admit that I first started to wonder why I’d bought it), but once you get familiar with it its capacities appear endless, from beautiful, long pads to tech-like aggressiveness. The principle behind the Elektron “machines” – with one machine corresponding to one given type of synthesis – is very simple to understand once you got it. As stated earlier, some machines sound very much alike, but they reveal their interest once you’ve started to tweak the sound: yes, there are a lot of possibilities for modifying the sounds and they’re really interesting, including Sample Rate Reducer, single-band EQ, delay, VCA, filter and envelopp, disto, 3 LFOs – and this goes for each track! Needless to say there’s room for experimentation: I’ll leave you calculate how many possible combinations this offers, considering that the device allows to layer up to 6 tracks simultaneously.

It’s also particularly interesting for external synth sequencing (it’s basically one of the things it was designed for btw): it can control up to 6 synths at once, which is quite practical (and really, really great). While I have explored this aspect very little so far, I have tried a bit external sequencing and it’s incredibly easy.

Just a word on the onboard sequencer: it’s somehow the core of the machine, as it has a major role in the sound design process. The “parameters-locks” allow to modify the patch thoroughly for one precise given step, all while featuring easy copy/paste features to copy songs, patches or full tracks and paste them for other uses.

In the end of the day, the balance sheet is easy: if you have the opportunity to use one for long enough, go ahead and do it! Now yeah, granted, the learning curve can be relatively long, and one of the reasons for that is the interface which at first may seem terribly complex. However, once you get used to it, it appears logical and user-friendly (yes, I swear it does!), yet it clearly seems intimidating at first. Something I regret is the fact you can “only” use 64 steps: sometimes it’s well enough, but sometimes it’s not. Now, you can’t always get what you want, and you still can chain two patterns to turn them into a longer pattern.

Anyway, at first, you’re bound to have a hard time, finding a precise feature will take you hours (reading the manual is vividly recommended, especially considering how comprehensive and pleasant to read it is), you’ll feel like the sounds resemble each other too much and that you always end up doing the same thing, and you’ll get fed up with it; then, slowly, its capacities will appear clearly and you’ll feel that you can’t live without it. Because it allows crazy sounds (just have a look online, there are so many examples), because it’s very user-friendly once the learning curve absorbed, because it’s an exceptional device, and because it has no direct competitor, being in a league of its own.

Of course, you’ll have to like the sounds it creates. But if you like the demos you’ll come across, then it’s very likely that you’ll like the machine too!

A nice plaything with potential (Novation - Circuit)

By maxdow, 29/07/2018
I’ve tried it for an hour or so before writing this review but I’ve also spent t least 10 times as much reading other review on it on the internet, so I knew what to look after ;)
I had never really used such a machine or pad controller before, so my only reference will be the Electribe 2 that I’ve tested in a shop.

Music style and context of use
Originally a drummer, most often in a live context, I’d use it alongside a synth (a Korg R3) but I think I’ll mostly use in in standalone at home (or elsewhere) due to its portability and as a pad MIDI controller in a studio context. No particular style preference, even if a drum machine and the synth’s original sounds are more on the techno side.

Does it seem sturdy and well-finished?
It clearly does! I’ve quickly tried an Electribe 2 and felt the latter was fragile, almost an unfinished product (with the x/y pad reminiscent of a 2000s low-end laptop).
It’s light, made of plastic, but clean and sturdy.

Is it easy to use? What about its ergonomics?
It’s very easy to use, even without a screen you easily grab how it works and get used to the workflow. Compared with the Electribe 2 again, the circuit is in the upper league and it’s more user-friendly and clear – even in spite of the absence of a screen.

Does it provide enough advanced functionalities for you to edit your sequences?
Enough for basic use (velocity, note, control automation). You can’t edit complex rhythm parts or change the time signature (4/4 and so on).

What do you think of its overall sound ? What is your opinion on the included factory sounds? What about its editing and processing capacities?

As a whole, the basic sounds sound… well, but not exceptional either. The (macro) controls which allow to change the settings are nice and responsive but I understand how frustrated some users can be regarding the fact you can’t know what you’re doing. Novation’s serendipity is nice, but you wish you could do otherwise.
BUT – while the basic sounds are not so exceptional, merely tweaking the settings and adding a small amount of the circuit’s delay or reverb allows you to appreciate it more and more.
It has a real potential, plus if you add the editot you understand you have a real, comprehensive synth under your fingertip. Of course, you can control it using an external keyboard using its MIDI plugs ( :bave: ).
In a nutshell, a small learning and tweaking to build your own sounds will lead you to something that sounds rather well.

What are its pros and cons?

Very fun, very quick. You can have fun with it, you quickly learn how to use it and you quickly get familiar with the features – within 10 minutes you know how it works.

Veeery easy to transport. It takes 6 batteries, so you unplug it all and take it in your pocket – it even has a small speaker, OK it’s crappy but it’s still nice to have. Great in that regards: it’s transportable, but not cheap.

It looks good. I find it classy, again compared with the (ugly) grey Electribe the latter looks all the more cheap. The pads are nice and responsive – though they feature no aftertouch: you can live without it, but it would have been nice.

MIDI features open the door to very interesting perspectives. I’ve plugges a keyboard on it, in the end you can almost use it as a Nova rack. Or the other way around: you can use it to control another device, or even Ableton (caution though, don’t expect a Launchpad workflow, though perhaps with an appropriate firmware update?...).

Updates come in quickly, which is a nice thing. 2 months after it came out a complete editor was made available, and while it’s not the most user-friendly piece of software you could dream of at least it is here and allows you to explore what this device can do. Regarding drum sounds, it seems it’s all about samples so why not a future possibility to edit these in the future?...

The rhythm parts are limited : you can’t get out of a 4/4 time signature. Of course you could cheat the system, just like the 16-step pattern limit (which can’t be extended). A bit on the light side though.

Limited effects : a few reverbs, delays, sidechain – …that’s all, folks! The synths allow for chorus effects but this is it. Not that much of a problem though. It’s always better fo favor dedicated and high quality effect units instead of low-end effects (don’t forget we’re talking about a sub-€350 product!).

The lack of control display : a tiny screen to just allow us to see what we do or even change the macros without a computer would have made it the ultimate machine. Not that much of a problem especially given its price and other features, but it’s still noteworthy.

In the end, it won’t replace a big sequencer or DAW. You get 2 synth voices and 4 drum voices (kick, snare, perc1 & perc2 ) – a little short for an entire symphony, isn’t it? Unless you’re into a minimal style, it won’t do everything on its own but will still offer a solid ground for composing music or rhythms.

After reading and viewing all possible kinds of tests and as someone who rarely buys gear, I’m not disappointed at all and don’t regret my purchase. Updates let us hope that it will get even better in the future, but even in its current state it’s a great device no matter if you play for fun, live or in the studio. It also features a very good value-for-money ratio considering its overall quality.

I thought of giving it 4 stars out of 5 considering the few aforementioned cons, but considering its price and competition I’ll go with a 5 ;)

my own official french rewiew google translated (Korg - ElecTribe EMX1)

By knto, 06/05/2016
Current Output December 2003, the Electribe MX is a direct evolution of the ElectribeM (EM1) showing some features of the EA1 the same manufacturer ...

Small summary: the EM1 was a very handy black groove box with 2 synth part, 10 drum part, 16 different effects assignable to each unit and a filter bank to modify at will the PCM samples of the machine. For its part, the EA-1 was a multi-timbral synthesizer in two parts with a monaural audio in, and intended for use with the ER-1 (a good enough rhythm synthesizer sound but lacked a bit of momentum and variety). Note also that the direct evolution of these two machines, respectively named EA-ER-MK2 and MK2 were announced there is little on the manufacturer's website.

These details specified, return to the EMX-1, which presents itself as a successful fusion of EM-1 and EA-1, both the color level of the characteristics based on a synthesis two oscillators, pcm sounds, effects, and advanced sequencer.

The progress of version MX

The changes are numerous, the machine wanting fuller, more serious: in short, more professional ... It begins with a design to the outrageously futuristic and whose stunning electric blue hue would not have displeased the director of Blade Runner (note: Ridley, if you look at us ...). The knobs are wider and manageable and can now be used to control MIDI controllers: A wish of user old Electribe finally realized.

Electribe MXEn the screen instead of the austere digital screen now stands a large backlit screen that shows at any time the parameter being modified, mutated tracks and the output used. One of the major innovations is the addition of an auxiliary output to relieve some stereo mix in charge of the machine space. This is a good initiative from Korg although it is regrettable that this auxiliary output can not be switched to be 2 Sends Mono. It is just a second independent stereo output.

Power has changed and it is not the old users who will complain: how are we to have remained stupefied before a Electribe cramée? It was therefore entitled to an external power supply worthy of the name, provided with an on / off switch in addition to the machine. The connection is via a 4-pin DIN socket, suitable to the needs of the scene as the old Korg adapter. The cable is relatively long (about 2 m) and allows to move the machine from the electrical outlet to avoid many common disasters in home studio and on stage.

In an Audio has been added. It is equipped with a meter and a gain switch and a mic / line to adapt the input level to the source. I admit that my Strat Japan and my poor low-end Sennheiser not yet returned from their passage through the filters of the Electribe! You can either listen to the raw signal (Audio Thru) or use this signal as an oscillator in order to pass the filters and the beast processors.

Slider of Electribe MXAudacieuse innovation: the addition of a powerful arpeggiator touch to make breaks and bearings on the fly. Its use with Synths Parts however requires some experience. Indeed, if the interpretation of the ranges is not always relevant, it allows the construction of an original musical discourse and developed through almost instantaneous change and a clear pattern for the transition to the next.

The last major advance lies in the provision of 2 lamps Electroharmonix amplification 12AX7 and ECC83 (the same that is found on Marshall?), Which give a warm hue and fat sound. Their musicality is not necessarily obvious to the ear, my mixer having quickly recovered in the red when the sound went through the two lamps. In fact, they add a lot of grain to sound and allow to measure the intensity and feeling the sound during play of a pattern set.

The stamps

The sound of Drum Parts 9 is generated by the 207 PCM sounds in ROM. We can change their pitch and envelope Decay but they do not take advantage of the filter synthesis section. The range of sounds is classic TR909 / 808 diverse and varied percussion instruments like claves, congas, tabla or the scratches and other "BNI" (Unidentified noise). The envelope generator works for his part as the old Electribe (it acts as either a decay or as a Release) but nevertheless shows softer than before and reacts without latency.

The sound of the Synth Parts is generated by 16 types of synthesis with various waveforms (sawtooth, pulse, triangle and sine, combined, cross ...): additive synthesis, cross modulation ... There is even an excellent synthesis Okay, what was missing most previous models.

These synthetic possibilities are being supplemented by a bank of 76 PCM sounds from the EM1. Side patch, it goes from Rhodes to slap bass through the sitar or kits of the ER-1 ...

To this is then added 4 filter types: low pass, high pass, band pass more (fat) filter and found the drive of the EM-1, always aggressive, biting, and can transform a pitbull in clavinova . Note in passing that if all synth parts can be filtered, this is not the case for Drum Parts.

Finally, it is possible to use a signal as Audio In oscillator and apply filters are the effects and LFO.

Taking advantage of all these elements, the new Electribe offers a more precise, more dynamic and depth than the previous model. It also sounds much less "cold" and the industrial Em-1. The sounds produced are well defined and has less trouble distribute instruments in space thanks to the auxiliary stereo bus.

Finally, note that it can record up to 256 patterns including 192 factory. The preset styles are mostly oriented modern music: Drum & Bass, 2 Step, Electro ... Alas, outside oriented patterns Ambient / Ragga / Hip Hop and Jazz, the factory presets are disappointing and do not honor the advanced capabilities of the machine.

You said FXs?

Effects of Electribe MXCette groove-box carries three independent effects processors that can be chained to enjoy both delays or reverb with at least one modulation and filter effect. There is everything from the effects Korg class, as usual, in three different categories: Mono, Stereo and Stereo cross.

Stereo: modulation effects for most popular as Chorus / Flanger, Phaser, Ring Modulator, but also filter high / low pass, Decimator (reduction in frequency and sampling resolution)

Stereo Cross: Short Delay and BMP Sync Delay, two stereo surround effects

Mono: more classic ambience effects Reverb type, Modulation Delay, Distortion, Pitch Shifter, Grain Shifter (sort of mini BPM Synced Sampler) ...

Big downside, the general deadline that really was part of the process and composition in previous models has been removed. We will do without but shame.

Big bonus however, the LFO is awesome and allows all out effects like creating cadences original agreement of the Drums PCM, tremolos, the autowhas ... It has 6 possible destinations LFO (Pitch, Edit 1 & 2 oscillators, Cutoff, Amp and Pan) and is based on 6 waveforms (square, saw-tooth, pulse ...). It may or may not synchronized to the tempo and you can adjust the speed and depth of its modulation to roughly 63%. So, it allows all kinds of effects even if he will spend some time on it to get something.


Pattern Mode Set

Word pattern of the Electribe MXLa machine is intended for real-time manipulation: one program quickly its patterns, it organizes them into a pattern set and go. The pattern set is a function found on many machines that typically calls a pattern by pressing Shift and a key.

The reasons for publishing is not on 128/96 with a maximum of 8 lengths of 4 steps or 32 steps against 16 on the old model. It is now possible, thanks to the 5 Synths Parts, achieve comprehensive arrangement with no other machine is needed. Where the EM-1 might seem insufficient to play a full set, it seems to have been designed for the stage.

Indeed, although accustomed to using the previous machine, it took me a while to begin to master the EMX-1 as it is complete. At the beginning we lose a little in the controls but just an hour passed over to realize the enormous opportunities here.

Drum Parts are velocity-sensitive, unlike Synth Parts and it will still go through the Accent for greater control of the latter. bearings can be programmed in addition to the use of accents and use the arpeggiator to create original in-fills. However, as the machine responds to velocity, all we will play more easily with a master key and use the Electribe via a MIDI sequencer as a module should make it formidable.

The sequencer Footsteps is more powerful. He played in 16 or 12 steps. You can specify the time signatures Conventional bit like 8/12 or 11/16. However, these set of information specific to the machine and is not transmitted by the MIDI sync. Why ? Mystery…

It is now possible to save the state of mute, and you can copy part or the sound of a part of a patch to another, transpose a note, some or several at a time, shift a note, repeat and even randomize a share.

Finally, the engineers at Korg have thought that maybe we wanted to erase a pattern of a single movement without having to select and ringing all the parts at once. It is now possible, all part are then reset with the same drum sound for either the same summary for Part Synth.

Song mode

Song mode Electribe MXLe fashion song has undergone a facelift. We start by chaining a number of patterns on a timeline. Pressing play, set the pattern playback starts. It is then possible to record "events" to humanize a little reproduction. These events actually include any motion controllers, manipulations on the keyboard (leads), changes in the groove ...

It can store up to 64 songs with up to 256 patterns per song ... that which leaves room ... But that would put all patterns on a single song?

Playing the card of originality, the selection knob is finally JogShuttle office. So you can scratch its own patterns!


The Electribe EMX1 is fully compatible MIDI multi-timbral on 6 channels, the Synth Part 1 by Global Channel Office. Big news: most knobs send MIDI messages that can be assigned freely to any controller. They dared to dream but, with this function, Korg achieved FX controller and Sample ideal for Ableton Live, and other Orion Project 5 ... (sequencers which operate also on the same principle as the groove box, especially in the if Orion and Live).

The machine obviously has a MIDI clock sync. In song mode the groove-box sends transport signals to sync with sequencers .. This one may automatically (if a sync is detected the machine adjusts its tempo if it keeps hers), transmitted or received.

MIDI filter is present and lets you toggle the reception / transmission program changes, control changes, SysEx and NRPN. MIDI notes can be specified for each Drum Part and stamps can be called from a sequencer via NRPN (which control the settings of the oscillators and the allocation of PCM sounds). The machine finally sends its own SysEx as the global MIDI channel, the Model Id ... Note that a full MIDI charter including NRPN MSB and SysEx is available on request from Korg.


Smartmedia the Electribe MXLa machine is equipped with a Smart Card reader that can read from 4 to 3.3 volts cards 128MB Knowing that all patterns and settings of the machine takes over 5MB, it is quiet on data backup. I have not tried this feature, do not have Smart-Card at the time of the test. Moreover, it is always possible to perform a conventional MIDI-bulk / dump to back up its data if the machine is full or fails.

I already have done a bulk dump of Electribe MX to another when the first I've had in hands began to lose its knobs (!): It works very well but you have to read the documentation carefully before launching, handling is not clearly explained.

Personal opinion

EMX-1L'Electribe MX is a versatile machine and complete that can be used as a separate instrument or as an expander in home studio. The quality of sound, the sequencer 128 steps, the arpeggiator and major developments are a monster cut for DJing.

However, it also will match any composer in search of a sound grain oriented modern music or experimental. With it, the musician will indeed benefit at any time a reserve of varied sounds and quality to make original creations. The Electribe EMX-1 amply deserves its place on stage and in studio. It would be a shame not to go listen to realize the creative potential of the beast.

[+] Design
[+] Quality & variety of PCM synthesis sounds
[+] The increased length of 64 to 128 not: it changes everything.
[+] MIDI controllers
[+] The 3 effects processors
[+] The 24 motions sequences is the foot

[-] The parties routed to the auxiliary output are not affected by effects and preamp! We should have the choice
[-] The limited range of the arpeggiator
[-] The relatively prohibitive price
[-] The elimination of global Delay
[-] Does not send velocity.
[-] Do not always coffee

News Groove Machine

Novation introduces Circuit

Published on 10/01/15
Novation has announced Circuit, an all-in-one standalone box for electronic music creation.

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