Just curious about what kinds of samplers people are having fun using then with the pyramid.
I find Pyramid and Electribe play really well together. Both are really hands on, most of the fun stuff is immediately tweakable on the front panel and you can get a half decent idea up in a couple of minutes. You can bash the pads on the electribe to record steps into Pyramid or record automations just by hitting record on pyramid and tweaking. Or do it all in the Pyramid. Pyramid’s midi fx really open up a lot of the electribes parameters for easy timelocked automation. The electribe sequencer is great for basic grooves but as soon as you start thinking about patterns that are +4 bars long or adding variations into your patterns or sequence chaining your workflow slows down considerably. Plus the melodic step sequencer can be a bit fiddly, unlike the Pyramid which is ace.
Best thing about it is you are “limited” to one sample per midi channel. But each sample/part is locked to a corresponding pad in a 2x8 array. So you can dedicate a whole track bank to it on Pyramid and if you have midi channels set up 1-16 across each 2x8 track pad the tracks on Pyramid and parts/samples on the Electribe are immediately relatable so you never have to play “hunt the sample” to muck around with something or develop a part.
It’s just really fast and fun and tweaky. I find the electribe “glues” it’s output together nicely too.
Would love it if Pyramid could autodetect a CC number when you assign one to MIDI Lfo. It’s annoying having to go into the info screen, tweak the electribe to see the CC and then assign that.
Anyone out there got any killer Pyramid / Electribe tips?
I’ve only recently gotten an MPC live, but it seems like a powerful combo with the Pyramid. Unfortunately the Live currently only accepts external midi for one program at a time, so it can’t used like a sound module with multiple instrument programs loaded for the pyramid to play. (Which is hella dumb, but lots of people are telling Akai to make the live properly multi-timberal so perhaps that will happen). But as is it’s a really powerful phrase sampler, because one program has 128 slots (1 per midi note), each slot can have up to 4 samples assigned to it (layered or velocity-switched), FX can be assigned on a per-slot basis, and now any slot can be synched to tempo (just added in 2.0.5). So for my use, I can just load my samples and loops into the slots and trigger everything from the Pyramid. The interface is fast for this and it holds all my sample libraries with lots of extra room on the 500GB ssd drive I put in it. It also has some very slick loop slicing stuff built in- basically Recycle in a box- that should be fun to play with. One thing I haven’t delved into is how much the Live program can be automated externally, beyond just note data. The manual is fairly useless (there isn’t even the standard midi specification chart that used to come with literally every piece of midi gear- wtf Akai) and reports on-line are wildly conflicting on the subject. So that’s something I’ll need to report back on.
These are both great answers! I was really curious about the electribe’s midi capacity and this goes a long way to enlightening me. So by a sample/part being locked to a midi channel does that allow the pyramid to play it chromatically?
The MPC live is also starting to sound like a killer piece of kit but almost seems like overkill to use the pyramid to sequence it?
Yep. As soon as you assign a sample to a pad/midi channel (or ‘part’ in electribe world) it’s immediately mapped chromatically across 4 octaves. The electribe pads play scales just like the pyramid and you can jump straight into keyboard mode to start working out a melody/riff. If you record directly into the electribe it will quantise your playing so you could record that back into the Pryramid quantised to save yourself a FX slot and then delete the sequence on the electribe (although I’ve never bothered for some reason).
I’m old so… Emax, Mirage and EPS16+ here.
Especially EPS16+ is very handy as Multi-Timbral sampler (Up to 8 individual tracks)
I use a (restored) yamaha a3000 v2 too. Loads of individual outputs, decent fx, very simple/quick to use, lots of grabby knobs for fast editing.
One thing that concerns me for samplers other than the MPC live is being able to avoid a PC for editing waveforms. Do the yamaha and electribe handle that business well? Like snapping to zero crossing points, visual aids etc?
You need a sampler with a decent dot matrix lcd screen to display waveforms for decent sample editing, which the ES2 doesn’t have. I keep needing to remind myself that when I start to entertain the idea of getting one.
I am using a Roland MV8000 which is a powerful sampler with a big screen, but it’s also very clunky to operate, I much prefer my old E-Mu.
As far as current stand-alone samplers, it’s pretty much Akai’s MPC X and Live are the only things that can do absolutely everything in the box without needing to use a computer for a single thing aside accessing your soundcloud account for uploading.
All that said, I bought a MicroGranny recently which is flawed in many ways but deliciously lofi. I’d love to have an old Akai again with the sliders for setting start and end points. That thing was so much fun, but the disc system they used ensures they just can’t live forever.
I use a Roland Sp404sx. Loads of sampling time ( about two days ) and syncs nicely to the pyramid
Um no nothing like that in either. But you can get by without. I did so for many years before computers came along as ingest points for samplers. You just gotta roll that start point around til it does what you want, or dial in a teeny little attack envelope to curve off that first sample. Easy to do, takes less than 5 seconds once you get the hang of it. Or do all that stuff in the PC beforehand and just load samples in ready to go. (Although I can appreciate it if you just don’t want to go near a computer at all).
The last few samplers Akai made got pretty good with graphical displays.(s5000 / s6000) You can probably get one 2nd hand for the same price you’d pay for an electribe. Not as “playable” as an electribe but great samplers nonetheless.
If it’s graphical displays etc you want then maybe hardware sampler isn’t what you are after. What got you thinking about them in the first place? Are you going down a strictly hardware route?
I’m using my Squarp for my oldschool gabber project (inspired by Nasenbluten)
Electribe ES1 Mk2, through a yamaha mixer with compressor, works wonders with the squarekicks…
(+Acid8 Mk1, Novation Mininova)
Feed it to my Tascam 2488 multitracker for that “grainy” sound.
Squarp sequences much tighter than my old rusty old Electribe.
Despite now having a Live, I’m tempted sometimes to get an Emu E4 series. I did like that one. Decent screen size and menu system for its time. Virtual patch cords, z-plane filters…I understand that stuff much better now and could do a lot more with it.
Then I think about bulky rack gear, rotary encoders and screens going bad, SCSI issues…and say no.
No more dinosaur gear for me. Life is too short.
Badly want to hear some of this “project”! Please post some links.
This particular project (all my music goes under the “KjerkeDemon” umbrella) is only released on tape.
My synthpop and quirky housy stuff you can find on spotify, and itunes etc. FLAC(!) for free(!) on kjerkedemon.com.
I “released” a gabber cassette single you can have for free, if you are the cassette type that is.
And pay the postal service for their…service. I’m not in this for the money.
That said, this single was sequenced purely on the ES1. Working on a new tape as we speak, using Squarp.
Hope this doesn’t go under ‘spam’.
OMG, Nasenbluten… Newcastle’s finest.
Pretty sure they used samples and an Amiga with Fast Tracker.
Mark N now plays High NRG and piano house at mainstream commercial raves.
I believe you are right. ES1 sound way too pretty, but…I sorta gave my S2000 to a guy who needed it more.
I have an Atari STsomething lying around somewhere, and Ultrasatan. But I need all sorts of adapters, and just stuck with the ES1 for now. Sorta sad to hear about Mark N, but I guess it pays the bills. I blame the mainstream being what it is.
Will check it for sure. Thanks for posting.
Soonbwhen my pyramid arrives, I’ll be using it with my Octatrack. Im really looking forward to the feature that lets me transform MIDI notes into MIDI CC’s. The Octatrack can play sample slices via the internal sequencer or MIDI CC but not with notes. Should be really fun!
I love my old EMU 6400 Ultra. I replaced the floppy drive with a card reader. now transferring samples to and from my laptop, wich I use for recording and cutting samples, is really fast. and the pyramid together with the emu is awesome.