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Going from MPC One to Blackbox

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  • Going from MPC One to Blackbox

    Here's what I'm looking to be able to do--- load samples into a device that I can use while sitting on the couch, edit/chop/mangle them, and then if i hit on something good, export the result to a DAW later, where i'll add drums and guitar and whatever else.

    I have the MPC One, and it can definitely do that. But it's kind of bulky and not something i can easily grab and set up. It also has a ton of things i don't need, and overall it's likely overkill... i'm not interested in making drum beats as much as melodic stuff, i don't need mixing/mastering tools, etc. Usually when i work with it, it seems like I'd be better off just sitting at my computer on a DAW

    Would the Blackbox be a better device for what I'm looking to do? (If i'm being too vague, the kind of stuff i want to do would be, like, importing a 30 second clip of someone playing piano, or just ambient outside noises, and trying to chop it up into background music that I put guitar and synth and what not over later)

    Second question, does the Blackbox do a LOT more than a Koala sampler on an iPhone can do? Obviously it can do more, but when we are going from $5 to $600 i just want to make sure it's not overkill.

    I've tried the pocket operator and Volca stuff before while they are fun and nail the "sit down n the couch when you have a random 10 minutes free" test, they're a bit too basic

  • #2
    I had the blackbox for a few years, then moved to modular and replaced it with the bitbox micro, and recently got an MPC one. I changed the blackbox for the bitbox micro because there were some features I wasn't using (like the sequencer) and wanted to put it on a small rack with other modules.
    In my opinion, the blackbox sample editing can feel limited when compared to the MPC one, among others the main one for me is that you can not chop and save slices as easy as you can in the MPC one.

    For me, the MPC one is awesome to coming up with ideas, considering the plugins, the chord modes, arp, and having the pads in one unit is also great. Yes you can connect midi controllers to the blackbox for that, but then you also have the cable and the controller, and then its not so much a couch synth.
    On the other hand the granular mode in the blackbox is something that the MPC doesn't has and its awesome to make some textures, if you are into that, and its been very reliable for playing live (which I don't trust iOS for live). The blackbox size is a big plus, but I ended up using it only as a sound source.

    I wouldn't say that one is better than the others, but in summary for me this is how it fits in my workflow:
    Bitbox - sound source for playing live and routing my sounds to external effects
    OP-z sequencing when playing live
    Ableton/iOS apps and MPC One-couch synth to come up with ideas and sample editing


    • #3
      I owned a BB for over a year and due to some perceived limitations I decided to change it for an MPC one. On paper the MPC one has a lot of bang for buck. Sample slicing, good visual editing, automation, synths, drum synth and tons of FX. It's essentially a DAW in a box but I found it to be overly complicated and never really gelled with it.

      So, I bought another BB as I missed the simplicity. Once you've got a bunch of samples on the SD card, it's very easy to knock up an idea. You'd certainly be able to chop up a sample on it. The granular functions are basic but can still yield some interesting results. Being able to use different loop lengths and now probability in the sequencer is real plus too. I use it with a Tascam DR05 recorder and sample field recordings and usually get something interesting out of those. With a USB power brick, you can take it anywhere and would certainly pass your 'couch' test. That said (imo) it still lacks resonance on the filter, a few more FX or any kind of modulation. There's no LFO!

      As the JPablo91 says it's also great as a live sound source for sending sounds to external FX or modules.

      As for iOS, I can't help you there as I've never used it.

      Hope that helps.
      Traces by My Blue Extremes. Name your price on Bandcamp or listen on all streaming platforms.




      • #4
        The interface/fx/capabilities don’t hold a candle to the Mpc workflow. I find it almost impossible to compose anything using the keyboard screen. Having the 16 pads on the Mpc to play melodies as well as tap out velocity sensitive beats is an experience you just don’t get with the blackbox. It’s desperately lacking in fx and sample mangling abilities. I’d spend the $6 on koala before buying the blackbox. I’ve had mine up for sale locally for a reasonable price and have had no bites in months. Stuck with it.

        I’d deal with the bulk Of the one or even swap it for an Mpc live mk1 like I did for portability factor alone. The built in battery is great for wireless couch sessions.

        I get so much done on the live. My experience with the blackbox has not been good. It definitely falls short as a mini sampling workstation