Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton
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Old 27-03-2016, 12:18 AM   #1
Deep Dose
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Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

I recently bought an ER-1 drum machine/synth on Ebay for $160 and Im quite happy with it. Its no 808 or 909, but for 5% of the price its really a no brainer and I can understand why many consider it a "future classic".

That being said, I must admit I'm not a huge fan of its sound. Its great for wonky bleeps and zaps, and for boomy 808 style bass, but otherwise its a bit too plastic and electro sounding for me. It also lacks individual outs.

What really shines though, is its sequencer. This is a classic xox style sequencer but with far more capability. Its got 16 backlit pads for sequencing and 11 pads for sounds, all which can be tweaked with the expected controls; level, pitch, pan, decay, low boost/saturation and solo/mute. Its swing sounds great, as does the accent function. You can sequence up to 4 bars or 64 steps in real time while its playing and it can store 256 patterns which can be triggered on the fly.

So, I got to thinking, why not combine the best of both worlds, this awesome sequencer and all the sound selection and control of my DAW. While trying to make this happen I quickly encountered my first obstacle -the sound selection pads transmit MIDI but all of the knobs transmit NPRN which live 8 is not compatible with (live 9 is I think?).

Luckily I'm not the first to try this, and a solution wasn't hard to find. After reading through some tutorials, and more so the comments under them, I found the solution was to download two free programs: Midiox, a virtual MIDI patch bay and LoopB1, a translator to convert the NPRN to MIDI. With both installed and some minor tweaks, I now have a really great drum sequencer mapped to Live's Impulse.

I have all 11 pads mapped to 2 grouped impulses. I was happy to see that 8 of the knobs are assignable and as you select each sound, they are given a new 'page' of unique CC's which can be mapped however you like to each of the corresponding Impulse slots. I have mapped only 4: level, decay, pan and pitch. I'll likely find uses for the remaining 4 over time.

I immediately loaded up some Goldbaby 909 samples for fun and started programming a beat. Everything works incredibly well. This sequencer combined with a Maschine is now 90% of my workflow while writing, and its very refreshing to get away from the screen and mouse.

Anyhow, thought I'd share for any ER-1 owners out there, and for anyone in the market for a drum sequencer. These are cheap and plentiful, and will likely increase in value over time as there has been a renewed interest in drum machines lately. Maybe something to do with the Volcas?

I'd love to hear from any fellow ER-1 owners about what you use them for. I expect some are collecting dust

Last edited by Deep Dose; 27-03-2016 at 12:23 AM..

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relic (27-03-2016)
Old 27-03-2016, 01:37 AM   #2
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

Very cool man. Enjoyed reading that write up. I used to own an ER-1 and loved making weird ringing percussion lines with it. As for actually using the ER-1 sounds themselves I think being willing to get weird is the key. I wouldn't discount using the sounds nor fear the lack of outs. I often record all my drums from hardware as a single stereo track.

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Deep Dose (27-03-2016)
Old 27-03-2016, 03:30 AM   #3
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

I totally agree, and don't get the wrong impression, I'm not abandoning it as a drum machine. I think it will shine for me as a supplement to the main drum track. The style of music I like to produce requires some picky processing of the drums. I thoroughly enjoy playing with this thing though and expect ill be sampling lots of the wonky sounds that come out of it. It's super addictive and it is capable of sounding pretty good with some work. I send it through an Alesis microlimiter and it really comes to life
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Old 27-03-2016, 03:53 AM   #4
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

I agree unless you are making pretty strange music or perhaps IDM it is better in a supporting roll. Don't discount layering either. If you layer up a few voices you can get some great stuff out of it.

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Old 27-03-2016, 06:25 AM   #5
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

The Er-1 is an 808 for people who aren't fags.
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Old 31-03-2016, 03:11 PM   #6
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

I have an elektron Analog RYTM and I STILL love my korg er-1 mk2

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Old 31-03-2016, 05:12 PM   #7
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

The only two pieces of gear I truly regret selling are my Korg ESX and Korg ER-1.

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Old 31-03-2016, 07:55 PM   #8
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

ive got one chilling in a tupperware bin in my basement with some other controllers and my monome.


I'll have to give this a go. (:

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Old 31-03-2016, 09:30 PM   #9
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

oh and FYI no NRPN messages in Ableton 9.5 Not natively that is. There are options in Max4Live land tho...

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Old 01-04-2016, 03:37 PM   #10
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

Quote:
Originally Posted by chasedobson View Post
oh and FYI no NRPN messages in Ableton 9.5 Not natively that is. There are options in Max4Live land tho...
Ok yeah I recall people mentioning they did it through max. Not sure that would work better anyway. This Midiox program seems to work great, and its pretty much invisible resource wise.
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:53 PM   #11
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Re: Electribe ER-1: a cheap and truly amazing drum sequencer for Ableton

Aha! I've wanted to use my ES-1 as a sequencer in Reaper for a long time now. Thanks for figuring this one out.

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