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Buying advice- Blackbox as a standalone instrument?

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  • Buying advice- Blackbox as a standalone instrument?

    Bluebox owner here considering replacing my synth setup with the Blackbox.
    Context: I love synths for their immediacy. I love the sequencers on my Novation Circuit and Circuit Mono Station and the knob-per-functions and beat repeat strip on my Arturia Drumbrute Impact. Tied together using a Bluebox. Unfortunately, I will be moving abroad to finish my education and my current setup is a few inches oversized for cabin baggage / dorm room.

    Thinking of the Blackbox + Launchpad + Bluebox as an combo that might do everything for me. I haven't used samples since my Ableton days so this is new-ish territory for me.

    I still plan to make some synth sample based music and am wondering if the polyphony and filters will be enough for me to load in some one-shot synth notes/swells, design chords and pads and play it as an instrument via the launchpad.
    In terms of drums, i think the workflow seems intuitive to me for one-shots if maybe a bit static. Which is my next main concern - all the demos i've seen show the Blackbox as a fairly static unit (I'm not into finger-drumming too much) and I like playing with FX and filters live a lot. I figure a midi controller will help with the performative aspects of the Blackbox as it does with the Bluebox which i use with a Launch Control XL. But the lack of FX in either (I would love some note repeat stuff) is throwing me off and I don't want to just be launching clips in a performance.

    I make house / techno but am hoping to get into ambient stuff as well but I want an instrument that can do it all while being a performable, dynamic, immediate and intuitive. I also really want a battery-powered setup that is portable to take for location sets and for travel. Is this for me?

  • #2
    Is a laptop not portable enough? what about an ipad? Other option: Hydrasynth Explorer. Difficult to tell: what kind of sounds will you use? need modulation and/or expressivity? what’s your primary sound source: your own material or third party libraries or clips?


    • #3
      For your particular case, moving abroad, limited space, etc., I would consider getting an iPad with small midi/audio interface. You could compose midi clips more easily and transfer them to the BB. You would have an endless source of synths, sounds, samples, and drums. You would have every FX you could ever need for sample manipulation. You could interface the BlackBox with powerful apps like Drambo, AUM, BeatMaker, and others to have Elektron-like and MPC-like workflows.
      You would also have the tablet for note taking and everyday uses, could do sampling and sound design away from the BB dorm setup, all while maintaining a small footprint.


      • #4
        Take a look on the new Loopy Pro for iPad
        IF you combine it with BB, it will be really powerful and compact setup.


        • #5
          I love the BB and use it together with a synthstrom deluge. I'd recommend the Deluge for taking into consideration. Very compact, versatile and immediate. Truly a one stop shop. You could even ditch the Bluebox since the Deluge can record/resample internally. Battery powered also. Four of the golden knob slots are freely configurable. could use these for manual filter sweeps and such actions in live performances.


          • #6
            While I love the Blackbox, listening to your proposed use case, I'm wondering if the Roland MC101 might not be a better fit. It would give you good options for synth tones/filters/effects. The main weakness compared with Blackbox would be on the sampling side (can load samples via SD card, but I don't think you can direct sample like the MC707 can). However, it is very portable and the synth tones and effects are great.