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Blackbox as the slave drummer

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  • Blackbox as the slave drummer

    Hi everyone,

    The blackbox recently arrived on my desk, alongside my few other bleepbloop-generators. I spent a few weeks with the BB alone, to familiarize with it's fonctionnement, and I'm so far pretty glad I trade my previous sampler for it.

    But now that the honeymoon have just passed, it's time for me to figure how I can include it with my other machines in order to form an happy family.

    Setup is as follows : Elektron Digitone as the master with it's 4 midi channel and it's sequencer, Micromonsta 2 as the gnarly double-headed slave (occupying 2 midi channels) and (soon) the blackbox with drumming and looping duty. Sound is going : MM2->DN->BB.

    My main concern is : how much juice can I extract from the blackbox with 2 midi channels max for drums ?

    I planned to do something like : 4 pad slots reserved for drums, by group (let's say BD-Clap-Hats-Cowbells), in a multisample format with all different rootnotes (no overlapping between the groups). All 4 receiving the midi from the same channel, in order to sequence them with the same channel, but keeping them in 4 different pads to apply filter differently between the groups.
    That, plus a midi channel to disclench resampled-loops on the 12 others pads with the same logic.

    So, what's my post about ? Well, I'm very curious about if and how people are using the blackbox as a drum-machine and a looper, 'cause I guess my plan is probably not that tight and I may misinterpreted or overlook some features so... Yeah, what's up with y'all ?

  • #2
    My BB drum machine workflow is using an ableton drum rack and push 2 sending triggers to each pad. It's hella dope, I have a 16x16 pad grid, 16 levels control right beside it, and since live eleven, the best sequencer I've ever used controlling it (formerly the push was beat out by the elektron machines, but I think it blows them out of the water now). It honestly feels like working with a way overpowered mpc live lol


    • #3
      Idk if I get you right, basically your BB is hanging from your daw, recording sequences to bring them away after your session isnt it ?
      ​​​​​Aint the Push2 self sufficient as a drum machine ? Guenuily asking, I'm not familiar with the Live environnement.


      • #4
        I have a micromonsta v1, and some other synths as well. I have a digitakt too, but no Digitone. I don't know what the midi sequencing limitations are on the digitone.

        I enjoy using the blackbox's piano roll style sequencer for sequencing my synths. If when I'm not using the Digitakt for drums, I will also do drums in the blackbox.
        When both the blackbox and the digitakt are on the desk, I will usually use Digitakt as master clock and transport, but that's because it's the drummer.
        then the blackbox is sequencing most other things.
        Also - I can use the midi tracks on the digitakt to give me hands on access to certain parameters on the blackbox so I don't need to menu dive to change a particular filter, etc.

        In your shoes, I might do the following
        Blackbox is the "brain", clock and transport.
        setup the DN to listen for transport and clock.
        if you don't have a midi hub, send the midi from blackbox to the DN. Then use midi thru on the DN to the MMv2.
        Sequence both voices of the MMv2 using the BB.
        Sequence the DN with the DN.
        reserve like 4 sequences for drums on the blackbox, and use the other 12 for the micromonsta's voices.
        use multisample or individual drums on your BB pads.

        keep doing whatever works for you without a mixer until you decide you need a bluebox....
        blackbox last is a good idea because you can sample synth lines from either synth into a pad and then play that sample from the blackbox while the synth does something else...


        • #5
          Yo Shankiphonic, thanks for your answer.

          Midi implantation on the Digitone are sensibly the same as on the Digitakt as far as I remember, but only one LFO per track (if the 2nd LFO's update for the Digitakt also applied for midi tracks ? Idk, I sold it shortly after this update was released).

          setup the DN to listen for transport and clock. if you don't have a midi hub, send the midi from blackbox to the DN. Then use midi thru on the DN to the MMv2.
          Sequence both voices of the MMv2 using the BB.
          Sequence the DN with the DN.
          Yeah that could be an interesting configuration too, but I'm not that comfortable with the idea of sequencing synth from the BBox on a jam situation. As much as it's powerful (even more now with midi import), I'm too clumsy with it for writing sequences on the fly. But that's a question of habits I guess, I still should give it a try !


          • shankiphonic
            Senior Member
            shankiphonic commented
            Editing a comment
            I guess it depends on your definition of "jam"
            if you're creating new melodies in real-time, I agree, it would take a surgeon's steady hand...
            but if you've already got sequences prepared, it's great for launching.
            so the DN has 4 midi tracks in addition to the 4 internal tracks?

        • #6
          Indeed, I surprised myself having quite fun time with the "clip launching" capacities of the blackbox, but I rather add/modify/remove stuff in live situation... Mostly due to the fact that I got used to use the 2x8 range of slots of the DT/DN, but it's each their own relatively with tools and muscle memory.
          DN indeed have 4 midi channel, that I found kinda satisfying to fulfill.