ER 301 as simple drum machine

I use my ER301 just as a simple drum player machine sequenced by a nerdseq.

It is really oversized

Should I sell it and buy a cheaper alternative ? But what ?

I’m quite passionate about this subject but also opinionated.

If you’re just triggering static samples and not doing much else then sure, get something else. Bitbox Micro seems to be the best practical choice for an all-in-one sampler.

Now a rant:
I think the most important reason to use modular synths is first and foremost: synthesis. At the same time there seems to be a major disconnect for a lot of people when it comes to drums. They want to synthesize everything except drums, or want an “analog” solution that is basically a VST in modular form (parameters according to one person’s vision, usually not even theirs). If on the other hand you want to synthesize your own drums, you either need thousands of dollars worth of modules or a DSP solution like the ER-301.

Personally, I need to synthesize my own drum sounds. It is part of my sound and who I am as an artist. And while it is a lot of work, doing it for decades now has taught me a lot about sound design in general. Sure I’ll use samples, but only samples of my own synthesized drums for practical reasons (it is cheaper on CPU to trigger my ride sample vs the six square oscillators etc etc needed to create it). To top it off, the beauty of this is you never get bored of your drum sounds because you just keep creating new ones. Being able to do every single piece of this inside of the ER-301 and build a network beween the drum sounds themselves is amazing. Most important I can do this in the moment. I can craft my drums along with the rest of my patch right then and there, they are alive and related harmonically, texturally.

^ that’s all just an attempt to maybe inspire you to think twice and take advantage of the capabilities you already have and likely will not find anywhere else in Eurorack. But, like I said above, if you’re just triggering static samples, yeah, time to bounce.


I have been deliberating this myself. For one reason or another, I haven’t been on my modular so much. Especially since I got the 301. I feel like the learning curve is steep - and at the same time I wonder if its nullified a lot of my system.

Originally, I had a bitbox for my drum and looping duties. Then I stumbled across the 301 and immediately put the bitbox up for sale. I don’t regret it. But im finding I can’t quite get my mojo right on the 301 - but that’s not necessarily it’s fault - but its less grab and go, which the bitbox was.

When I have patched up a ‘simple drum machine’, I’ve often then got a bit more stuck in, and tried doing stuff I like doing in my system/the computer. I can see the benefits - and I think this is a machine for the future. It’s superlongevity, in my mind, is boundless. But I do find that daunting and a little overwhelming at times. It makes me want to sell everything and keep this, plus a 104hp case, or something. I’m not going to ha, but the thought does occasional pop into mind.

I say go in and use those drum tracks to start adding in complex delays, fx, loopers, etc. Otherwise, I agree with the dude before, a bitbox is possibly the way to go - maybe even a Nutella tsunami. Squid Salmple, dieting EX has dynamic options.

Love that rant :ok_hand:

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To be fair though you could probably buy an expensive alternative given the state of international shipping at the mo.

Thanks for your post.

Finally I keep it.

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