The Hardware Megathread


It definitely seems pretty unique. And likely suited to the type of stuff you do.


So as I mentioned, I went a little nutso with the holiday GAS - NTS-1, Neutron, Novation Launch Control and a Keystep, along with some ancillary things like stuff to make 1/8" patch cables and a powered USB hub and some office crap. The Novation showed up, it’s going to be as handy as I expected. The Keystep shows up tomorrow, despite being ordered last. The cable stuff came in but work is bangin’ and ain’t no one got time for soldering right now.

The NTS-1 has been a total shitshow - something something personal dumb shit it never shipped. I don’t know why I bought ‘like new’ to save $10 on a $100 synth. After too much back and forth, I got a refund, plan on ordering one after the rest of the junk shows up if I decide it’s got a place on the desk. I think it’s going to be one of those things I’ll regret not buying a year or two from now when I can’t get one.

The kicker is the Neutron doesn’t show up until Monday. I dunno if it’s some kind of CA shipping delay or holiday dumbness or what, but the centerpiece is the last to arrive. This is why I hate hardware. I want to swipe my card, click download and play with my new toy.


Quick survey,
If budget isn’t an issue would people rather an mpc live or an octatrack and launchpad pro? And why?
I’m looking at getting back into a hardware sampler setup and that’s kinda where my head is at right now. Or anything else I am missing I might consider?


They’re so different it’s hard to say without knowing what you’re trying to accomplish.


I’m selling my Force right now, which uses the same software as the MPC Live (or very similar). My problem with it is there is a lot of power there that I was never going to use. Like, yeah, I can sequence all my hard and softsynths from it with that sweet MPC groove, and yeah I can realistically do a whole song start to finish, mixed and mastered, on the Force if I had to. But, I hated the interface with a burning passion. The entire time I was using it and struggling to just copy/paste the notes I want from one part of the piano roll to another I would be thinking to myself “this would already be done if I were in FL studio, I would have been done and back to making music 30 seconds ago”. And that was kind of always the story for me.

Except, one glorious time. I wanted to make my own drum kit out of samples I had brought in on a hard drive. So I fired up an empty drum kit. And, you know what? The MPC way changed the way I look at drums forever. I had a GOOD (not just passable, but like best kit I had ever put together with the same samples I was using in FL Studio all these years) drum kit in like 15 minutes, and a killer drum groove another 5 minutes later. Second I wanted to do anything except drums, I hated that box, but it really does have MPC magic for drums. If I were going to do it over again, I would consider the Live or save some bucks and get the One.


Force hands down.
Live would be a second best.

I just fire up the Force and I’m making stuff in minutes, but I’ve now had for more than a year so I had the time for muscle memory to settle in.

One IMPORTANT bit mostly in reply to @White_Noise 's comment on editing note. I gave up, I just re-record the whole take if I need to edit too many notes, but mostly I keep a midi channel just to play other stuff and mostly work with audio clips and drum kits.

There’s a ton of features I’m not using, but nice to know they’re there if I need them, like internal synths, envelope follower, pad scenes. The crossfader is really nice and quite easy to set up.

Bonuses: Ableton Live set import. It’s quite a big deal, looking at it from a different angle, you might start something on an Electribe, or on some Ios apps, export as ALS, open it on the Force…

And if the rumours are true, it will only get better.


I’d go with the Octatrack because I love highly nuanced gear that I’ll never take the time to fully learn before getting pissed and selling it off.


Lol, that’s the part that worries me! But tbh that new update that allows to play chops on pads is what is interesting to me.

@chasedobson, I’m looking to sample drum loops made with ez drummer or similar, then resequence them. Then séquence my blofeld and maybe sample guitar and bass part. Then build a song structure out of it all.

@Auto-meh-geddon, the size of the force is an issue to me tbh, otherwise it seems great.

Everyone else, thanks for the input!


Then I would suggest the Live, I sold mine to move to the Force, but for what you’re planning it’s great. The Octatrack is a great one too, but you can’t beat an MPC for sampling workflow.
If being tethered to a computer is not an issue, Maschine mkii or iii?


I don’t know about maschine, the standalone can’t do odd time signatures but can the mk3?


Keystep came in. There’s a reason everyone has one - it’s the bee’s knees. I’m just getting my head around everything it can do, but the basic things like arpeggiator and sequencer work right out the box and are dead easy to use.

It’s tiny (great for the desktop), built like a tank with seriously good weight, and despite the smaller keys, they have a really good response to them. The ability to actively play over a running sequence (both polyphonic) with just a couple of button presses has already been super handy.

At around $100 this thing feels like a steal.


Volca Drum came in. it is exactly what i expected. a plastic toy that does a lot of what microtonic does.

ive only used it with its internal sequencer and its pretty fucking fun. i imagine with all the dumb Max shit i use it’ll be a little plastic powerhouse… well… for sample creation.

food for octatrack.


I need to get off my high horse about the Volcas, I had the Keys way forever ago and didn’t like it. I keep looking at some of the new ones (Drum, NTK-1), they are cheap as chips, and as you say at the least the are great sample fodder.


I think those things would be really frustrating as stand alone units or trying to use them as a centerpiece to a hardware setup, but I they really shine as MIDI endpoints for DAWs or other hardware. They sure make a lot of neat noises for cheap, I just hate trying to do complicated stuff with the fiddly little interfaces.


It’s not a one box track machine, that’s for sure.


HA! Mine just showed up as well. Still need to mess around a bit but first thoughts are-

Money spent.

I’m hoping I can add some flavor to the DFAM with it at the least


Hey one more question, with the OS update is it possible to stream audio from an iPad into the mpc/ force via USB?


I’ve kind of poo pooed the DFAM…do you get a wide range of sounds out of it?


It’s underwhelming for me. Makes some nice kicks, maybe some funky sounds but it’s sort of bizarre for the price . AND 8 steps? Why?
It’ll make a nice tool for layering percussion, (mostly because I already have it here) but jeez, on its own, idk.


Wasn’t terrible. They’re small and kinda a pain in the ass, but totally doable. I ended up getting 10m of RG174 and a hand full of jacks, so nothing special. Maybe Neutrik or Switchcraft are easier to solder, but I doubt it, mostly everything’s just smaller.

The center wire is tiny and fine like horse hair and a little hard to work with without breaking strands. Otherwise it builds like any other cable, just more delicate and tedious. Easy enough to crank them out once you get the feel for it.

I didn’t really save much over buying premades because of the cost of the amazon jacks, but I’ve got enough wire for lots more and 10pk of jacks are like $3 on ebay, so I may go that route if I end up needing more.