So what is the Electribe Sampler all about?
About a year or two ago KORG announced that they were bringing out a new Electribe, which is their wildly popular groove box. However, along with that they also announced they would release a sampler version, with the same groove box features only you would have the ability to sample and import your own sounds.
This is something I was definitely interested in, mainly because one of the new features of the Electribe series that had me excited was the Ableton Live session export.
The Electribe sampler is a sampler, sequencer and even has touch pad that operates similar to their Kaossilator allowing quick scale and arp-like performance.
You can load insert/master effects and control both the filter and envelope on each of the 16 parts.
They even threw in some creative features like scale and chord modes.
Oh…and it can be powered by batteries or a power adapter…which makes it super mobile.
- features: 16 parts, 250 patterns, up to 999 samples, 270 seconds sample time, 38 insert fx, 32 master fx, 64 steps per part, up to 24 modulation sequences per part
- hardware/connectivity: 16 trigger pads, 1/4″ stereo/mono out, sync in/out, stereo mini jack line input, MIDI in/out, Micro USB type B
- price: $399
- product page: http://www.korg.com/us/products/dj/electribe_sampler/index.php
- purchase: http://www.zzounds.com/a–1786589/item–KORELECTRIBES
How does it sound?
Well as this is a sampler, it’s going to sound like what you put in it, but it does come with some factory samples and the factor library is actually pretty good. Also, this has a va synth engine similar to that of the King KORG, or at least some of the waveforms from there, so you get a decent synth in the box as well.
I wish it included all of the filters from the non sampling Electribe though, as they have quite a few more than what you find in the Electribe sampler, but hey…who knows what the future holds.
One thing I also found useful soundwise were the included effects, they have quite a few and it’s easy to tweak them with the edit knob to make instant changes to your sound. You get access to insert effects per “part”, so basically each pad can have it’s own insert plus you still have access to the overall master effects.
So you can have a compressor on your drums while you have reverb or delay on your melodic parts, and still throw another effect over everything for enhancing the sound or even performance situations.
Overall the “sound” is cool, the samples I imported sounded like they were supposed to and what I sampled in live kept the character of the source I was sampling.
You can also get some cool results by recording motion sequences, which basically let you record your knob and other tweaks as automation. There’s even some groove template options for dialing in the exact feel you want per part.
So what’s the bottom line?
I was SUPER excited about this, as I mentioned before, the Ableton Live export really made it desirable for me. Having a totally portable hardware unit, which is well built, that allows me to put my own sounds in it, come up with ideas, and export that directly to Ableton makes a valuable unit to have for my workflow.
After spending a few months with the Electribe Sampler, I give it 3.5 out of 5 subs. The unit is well built, battery time lasts long, and I didn’t find myself running into any bugs or crashes during use. There are also plenty of creative tools for production as well as performance.
Again, being able to export my ideas to Ableton is really dope and it frees me up from relying only on an iPad or laptop when I’m mobile. I’ve never ben a big mobile production with a laptop guy, so being able to have a single unit that can do what I need is nice.
That said, there are some things holding it back from being fully great for my workflow. For one, the pad velocity response isn’t quite as sensitive as I’d like, and you have to enable velocity response on a per part (pad) basis. While it’s not hard to do, I think there should be an option to turn it on for all pads/parts at once.
Another thing I wasn’t fond of is the fact that stereo samples take up two parts, if you work with a lot of stereo samples that can definitely limit what you have access to at one time.
The other main issue I had was the fact that everything is locked to the grid. I know it’s a step sequencer so by nature that’s how it works but I’d really love the option to turn the grid completely off. Sure there are groove settings and swing, you can also go in and edit your notes to move them around the grid as needed….but the way I work, I like to put things in manually and I like to have the grid completely off so I can capture my own groove.
I’m not sure if that’s something they can change as you’re talking about the foundation of the sequencer, but if they could, that would be lovely for my workflow.
That said, I still think this is a good unit, and for others it may actually be great, especially if you’re more into step sequencing. I still don’t find there to be anything on the market hardware wise that is this portable, sturdy, and allows you to use your own sounds to come up with ideas to dump into Ableton. Even if you don’t use Ableton you can dump into wav format which is cool too.
The Electribe definitely caters to a certain way of working, however I feel that there are enough creative tools in this box to make it useful for a wide range of users. I’m definitely interested to see if they continue to build upon the platform, and even as it is I still find it really useful.
Go on over to the site and check it out: http://www.korg.com/us/products/dj/electribe_sampler/index.php
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think