I need people’s opinion here.
Now, I’m not asking for which is the better machine, it’s clear they are quite different and the OT is more powerful, but I want to figure out what’s best for me. I’m a middle aged man with 2 young kids who likes to improvise some techno in the few minutes I get spare each week. I have a lovely and shiny new MacBook that does my head in because there’s a million options and I end up going down a block hole when I turn it on.
My plan is to incorporate a drum machine or sampler with my boss looper and another synth (I have a couple to choose from). I’d prefer a drum machine but I get too picky with the sound I like and so I’m pretty much settled on a sampler groove box type thing. The octatrack is all powerful but I worry it isn’t really a lot of fun unless you are super fluent with it and my few minutes each week might not be enough for that. I had one before and it didn’t work out, but this time I would be going in with a more focused idea (see here Groovebox for live performance - #74 by Fyzion).
The alternative I like the look of is the DJS-1000. It looks immediate, fun, quite simple and geared towards live jamming. It has lots of limitations but that might be just what I need. I also have an AS-1 that is supposed to hook up nicely with it. I’m not looking to make finished tracks or the next Beatport banger - I want 30 minutes of fun playing/making some techno. At the same time, I’m not a beginner so I don’t want to feel too limited by my gear (do you see the crappy space my head is in!?!). Both machines require me to be diligent and focused with my sample curation (sample chains) to make sure that I don’t end up with sample paralysis.
What do you think?
While I think that the OT is easy enough to pick up if you’re trying to do fairly simple stuff with it, like use it as a straightforward 8-track drum machine, it sounds like it might be a little overkill for what you need. If you don’t need stereo samples or resampling maybe a Digitakt would be a better choice?
You can learn the OT in small steps if you did want to gradually use more and more of its features, but the learning time will inevitably take away from jamming time initially which might not be what you want.
For me I’m really trying to use a lot of its features and do things like live resampling and crafting of layers, and it is taking a lot of time to really understand the structure and get all the button presses and shortcuts down so I’m able to use it fast enough in a live context. So I definitely wouldn’t recommend an OT for someone who was short on time if they had similarly ambitious intentions.
I don’t have experience of the DJS-1000 so I can’t comment there.
Given your limited time, I’d recommend looking into the Digitakt. It’s a lot more immediate and easier to learn than the OT, and with the boss looper you have live looping already covered. The main disadvantage for your use case would be that samples are in mono.
Here’s a great example by @DaveMech of what the DT can do: Dark Deep Techno Groove - 100% Digitakt - YouTube
Model Samples is even quicker to learn, but it doesn’t allow you to easily work with sample chains (though you have up 512 sample slots if I remember correctly). Don’t have experience with the DJS either, but it looks like that this is more geared towards DJ sets iso music production.
Also worth considering how important the live performance vs programming in beats is to you. Velocity sensitive pads are definitely nice to have if you like to live record into patterns.
Does the Digitakt have velocity sensitive playback if you use an external keyboard/pad controller? The OT doesn’t by default which is quite annoying tbh, though I’ve made a workaround using a Blokas Midihub that allows for velocity + aftertouch expression.
…in ur case, u surly find more instant fun, workflow satisfaction and reasonable solid/useful finished results in that pioneer device…
pioneer is global dj industry standard and this 1000 model seems the perfect bridge between basic mpc workflow and all sorts of dj booth practicapability…studiofun hand in hand with livestagefun…
but only, if ur sure, u’ll never gonna miss midi options and don’t expect the onboard sequencer to be something special beyond classic sample/loop knitting in all sorts of standard grids and that is all u need to row ur sonic boat…
yes, but while it has immediacy and is easy to change your existing patterns on the fly, it also has a degree of sample curation and the workflow is not exactly jam oriented when you consider the way sampling and sample assignment is accomplished.
This seems like a very reasonable statement.
this also sounds correct, but I don’t know enough about the specific product to recommend it.
perhaps you just want an older electribe for the time being, you can certainly make techno and jam without a great deal of headache and time invested. wait for a major purchase until something actually seems fun to you. I don’t get the impression you’re having fun with this and that was what I effectively got out of the original post is you want to enjoy the time you have.
Either works. The time you spend on a box is the time you spend on the box. The results you get, are the results you get.
They’re both easy to learn and make beats with. Having said that, and I own both, you’ll be up and jamming quicker with the DJS.
The OT is easy enough to use as a sample based drum machine: just make a long recording of evenly spaced percussion hits with your DAW, move that WAV file over to the OT and then slice it to trigs.
Getting into the intricacies of the OT will take a little more time - but if you can spare an hour per weekend, you should be fine.
If you even slightly like the Roland Sound, the TR-8s might be perfect for you. Like the OT, it can be menu-divey, but you can also just load a kit and play with front-panel controls only. It is fast, fun and sounds nice. You can go deeper with it if time permits.
Given your time constraints, I doubt you will be happy with a sampler. Or you would be just as happy with a M:S or Digitakt as the more expensive (and complex) samplers.
Get a TR-8s or an LXR-02 or (if budget allows) Pērkons if you want to bang out techno at a moment’s notice.
Edit: or a Roland T8. The T8 (or a TR-6s) would be ideal for sharing with the kids, as they grow into music.
I love the Octatrack and it’s probably my favorite instrument of all time. I don’t have a lot of time for music either, so it took me a couple months of exploration before I could harness its power. I’m also not exactly a novice, but I had only had a few hours a week to learn it when I picked one up, so it took a little while. I think it was a worthwhile investment of time, and I tend to be patient, but what you described does lead me to think the OT isn’t the best choice, unless you’re ok with starting to have fun a bit later on.
The Pioneer DJS-1000 does look like a lot of fun! I’ve never used it, but I’m sure it would be less of a time investment to learn.
If you had OT before and didn’t gel with it go for the DJS.
So this post triggered something with it’s ‘bang out techno at a moment’s notice’. I’ve picked up a Perkons this afternoon.
You’ll need a pc/mac to do basic sample delete on pioneer. And parameter locks aren’t very well done but it’s simpler than octatrack and quite usable.
Don’t expect any firmware updates
And fx tails get cut off when changing songs ( I think , been ages since I had an sp16 )
Anything but the Octatrack.