Imagine having the sound quality of an Access Virus in a drum machine. The Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1 UW MKII+ will satisfy the tastebuds of the 808 and 909 user (basically saving you the several thousands of dollars that you'd be putting towards the real thing). The additional sounds and sample memory allow you to create any style of music you want and incorporate your own sounds. The 12-bit sampling will also give you the sound of the great samplers of yesteryear.
I've tried four times to come up with a brief review that would do the Elektron MachineDrum SPS-1 UW MkII justice, and don't think I can sum up my love of this module in such a short format. So, I will just say that it is the best rhythm module/sampler/sequencer I have found. The depth of power is mind boggling. Go to their website, watch the videos, then give us a call...
One of the best drum machines made!
I must say that I have owned and used many drum machines, from the TR-808, Studio 440, SP-12/1200, and MPC 60/3000/2000/4000. I have owned many drum machines as I program rhythms and beats for a living. This by far is the most unique and innovative design for programming beats that I have seen in a while. Very similar to the Studio 440, but more modern and fresh. Same amount of sample memory, same grungy samples, but I can make it sound incredible using synthesis with samples. The other thing that makes this so much more unique and better…P-locks or Parameter Locks. I can make a single drum sound change how it plays within a single pattern. In a live situation, I can make it change over and over again, so no 2 measure loop sounds the same.
This version also samples live. I can take a live recording, and then mangle it to my hearts content using RAM record and RAM play machines, and lo and behold, this is also a live looper with stutter editing that I can truly control, live.
This has incredible low end and high end sizzle, and it definitely can sound banging and distorted, or clean as a drum track needs to sound. Plus I love all the synthesis on this unit. I can play back my SP-12 sounds on here with the same idiosyncrasies of the old SP-12.
I can go on and on, but I would say, if you do program beats for a living, and tired of digging though crates to load on an MPC or the like, take a look at this unit for some new creative juice. This definitely has it, and it'll keep you busy for a long time to create some very unique beats that digging through crates and other sound source will not easily achieve.
One of my favorite weapons of choice at the moment.
Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1 UW MKII+
There are tons of great drum machines, but this one is as about as good as it gets. Currently, this is the best modern drum machine money can buy. Granted, it is not an 808 or a 909, but where it lacks in the analog department, it makes up for in modern features and utility. Owning all of these, I still find the Machinedrum just as important as any other item in my studio. Once you understand the function button, you will find the MD(short for machinedrum) to be just as intuitive and expressive as the other notorious drum machines. I think it is quite possible to have this as the only item on stage for a performance if you are minimally inclined(or on a budget and trying to get the most bang for your buck). The sampler, while limited, makes this an extremely versatile tool. After having owned it for less than a month, I can say for certain that it is a mistake not to at least try this thing out. You will be impressed and like myself you will buy multiple Elektron boxes. The old saying "You pay for what you get" is an understatement when you consider this particular product.
It takes a little getting used to the Elektron work flow, but once you get the concept of machines and parameters locks you'll be amazed at the potential of this instrument. Great sounds, built like a tank, and a very active user community as well makes this a good investment!
Possibly the Best Drum Machine of All Time
Since buying the MD-UW MkII just last week, it has already heavily influenced my music.
First off, the sound is stunning. The way the drum sounds just fit so easily into a mix is amazing. The sound is punchy, deep, and sizzles in the high end.
Secondly, the sequencer has a certain magic to it. Even repetitive hi hat patterns sound alive. I haven't explored the sampling features yet, but I have heard that they open up a whole new dimension to the machine.
There is so much to explore in the MD-UW. It is truly a sound designers dream.
Like all great instruments, this box is simply inspirational. I'm not the only one that thinks this may be the best drum machine of all time.
Excellent drum machine/synthesizer
I bought my Machinedrum quite a few years back now from Sweetwater and I still use it with pretty much every piece of music I make. Elektron's highly regarded sequencer makes programming a breeze. Being able to adjust parameters on the fly and record those changes to each step via parameter locks makes for really inventive rhythms. The +Drive gives you the option of sending your own samples to the unit and a lot of storage. It should be noted that the Machinedrum is more than a drum machine - it's a drum synthesizer. Elektron give you 5 different methods of synthesis, which they refer to as 'machines'. Recording/overdubbing with the RAM/ROM machines is a lot of fun and it does a decent enough job of emulating the classic Roland TR series with the TRX machine.
The only reason I haven't given this 5/5 is because I'm not a huge fan of the built in reverb and delay. I choose to use the assignable outputs instead and effect anything I need via those, so it's not that much of a problem. However, the major gripe I have with it is only being able to access the sounds in the kit loaded into memory at the time. This would have been an absolute monster if you had access to every single sound in the MD and the +Drive at the same time. I keep hoping that Elektron will introduce this with a new firmware update, but it's been over 2 years since the last update and now the Analog RYTM is out, so I very much doubt this will ever happen.
Still, I love my Machinedrum, even with it's flaws and limitations.
Only if you have infinite patience
This machine is extremely difficult to use, even when you're experienced with many other drum machines. If you're not very careful, you will frequently lose all of your hard work. There are a lot of tedious and cumbersome "got-chas" just waiting to ruin your creative flow and lose and/or destroy what you've made. I don't recommend this machine unless you enjoy wasting a LOT of time getting nothing done.
The hardware is very well built, and the sound is fantastic - if and when you can actually get it to accurately recall your work.
Even with the dramatic increase in computer-based drum generators, standalone drum machines can still be valuable additions to both live and recording audio rigs. The versatility of this deceivingly small unit is simply incredible. To begin with, the Machinedrum SPS-1 UW MKII+ can operate beautifully with nothing more than a power cable and a set of headphones plugged in the back, so even if all your gear is still packed up from a long gig the night before, the SPS-1 UW MKII+ can be ready in seconds.
The operation of this machine also highlights just how accommodating it is. Whether you prefer to sequence offline or program in patterns without pressing stop, you can find comfort with this Elektron piece.
The simple conclusion after working with the SPS-1 UW MKII+ is that a fully-featured drum machine can indeed come in a small package. If you're looking for a modern drum machine that retains the feel of its classic predecessors or you just need some additional percussive inspiration, this is definitely right for you.