ER301 as drum machine

Hi all!

I’m new here – doing some research on this incredible-sounding machine before committing. I have a question about one use scenario I’d have in mind:

How’s the ER301 as a drum machine?

Can you just set up a drum machine ‘template’ - assign a bunch of sample players with modulation inputs, filters, delay sends etc., and call it a drum machine— er, day?

Is there some obvious drawback to this type of approach?

I guess at least the amount of gate/cv needed is kind of impressive as opposed to something that runs on MIDI, but that’s the nature of the beast, I guess :slight_smile:

Thanks for any insight, looking forward to learning more about this.

emphatic yes. for one of many options check out Neil’s VID #2

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If you got something like a Beatstep Pro, which is pretty affordable, you could do quite a bit with drum samples. Don’t forget too that it has noise generators and oscillators (sine only currently), so you could synthesize drums too.

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Thanks! I’ve been looking at Neil’s fantastic videos, but have managed to skip that one.

@jonny – I have a Cirklon, which is obviously a pretty good match for something like the ER-301.

Emphatic yes… Encouraging.

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I sold my Elektron Machine Drum for an ER-301 -no regrets, I’m not disappointed! :slight_smile:

ER-301 pairs very well with a Shuttle Control, but a Cirklon with the CVIO breakout would be killer!!

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How are you guys setting it up? How many channels? Any effects in the chain, per sample or as master FX? Is the setup a big stress for the 301, computing-wise?

And, well, does it feel like an instrument? The machinedrum is very quick to get going with – do you lose some immediacy on the ER301, or is it on the contrary?

Sorry for the flood of questions guys :slight_smile:

Default setup is one trigger to one mono track for the kick and then 7 of ABCD inputs to a stereo track with up to 7 sample players each in it’s own mixer to give full level and panning control. It sounds great!

Effects, sometimes yes, but I just add these to taste.

Setup is really quick and easy once you have a few custom units saved out, no stress at all, I LOVE the flexibility, so if one time I only want a 4 channel drum machine it’s totally adaptable.

The instrument side of things really depends on your controller, plug in a Stillson Hammer mk][ or an iPad, or a Varigate 8+ and that is what feels like the instrument you are playing, not the ER-301.

depends what you mean by immediacy, if you mean firing up the MD and loading a default song and hitting play, then well yes. If you mean developing a kit from scratch with your own samples on the MD then, no, it’s largely equivalent. They are still very different things though and the controller has a huge part to play in it.


Thanks for the explanation, it’s a good point that the interface is separate and makes a big difference. Well, you guys seem very happy with using it as a drum sampler :slight_smile: Will have to dig deeper into the videos, and also look if there’s a listing of the current available units/machines somewhere… Of course would love to hear more details about how people use the 301 in this capacity, but I think I’ve got the general idea!

Another approach is to load up sample chains into one Sample Player and slice it up, if you happen to like the monophonic* approach - which I happen to… very much - it works a treat!

As mentioned there is also a huge amount of potential for synthesis too, FM in particular seems to be highly effective if you’re into that kind of thing :wink:

Think of it less as a Drum Machine or a sampler and much more of a Sound Computer you can do whatever you like with.

*as in one sound at a time rather than one output channel - it can still be stereo and monophonic


It’s… Uh, I ordered one.

It just does so much!

Thanks for all the advice :slight_smile:

You might to take a look the vids i made… it’s in the main forum area.

There’s no set rules on what you can do … so you can just come up with ways to use it to suite your needs. In the vids I’ve gone over ways to make:

  • Effect Processor
  • Drum ROMpler
  • Looper
  • Freezer
  • FM Voice
  • Subtractive Voice
  • Wavetable Voice
  • Recorder

And lots more!


Thanks Neil, I’ve been binging on your videos for the last day! You probably owe me at least 80% of the ER-301’s price :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for the videos.

And yes, I do realize that the possibilities are vast… The Drum ROMpler is just one thing I had in mind. What pushed me over the edge was the fact that it can play drums, do 1v/oct synth voices, act as effects unit AND record performances, all at the same time, and more. Once you factor all that in, the price is cheap for Euro.

One question: Is there a list of currently implemented units somewhere? A FAQ or similar?


Thanks! Actually, if you hang tight - I’m uploading a video right now doing everything you’re talking about.

Below are the units currently available as of 0.1.6pre13 Firmware:

  • Custom Unit (allows you to encapsulate units within with macro CV controls that any unit can access)
  • Channel Mixer (offers solo/mute) so you can blend additional units into a chain instead of a simple out to in path
  • Sample Recorder (Looper)
  • Sample Player
  • Fixed Delay
  • Clocked Delay
  • Variable Delay
  • Pitch Shifting Delay
  • 3 Band EQ
  • Ladder Filter
  • Limiter
  • Quantizer
  • Sine Oscillator
  • White Noise
  • Pink Noise
  • ADSR
  • Offset
  • Linear VCA
  • Rational VCA
  • Envelope Follower
  • Sample and Hold
  • Track and Hold
  • Tap Tempo
  • Period ‘o’ Meter
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Also one thing that sets it apart from other drum machines is the ability to select slices with CV.
What I have been doing is having a long sample with say for example 15 different hi hat samples and then setting the trigger to modulate the slice select so every time you trigger the sample it plays a different slice.
This is a really quick way (once setup) to get a lot of variation when playing, and this kind of functionality is what makes Modular samplers more interesting than non CV controllable samplers.


In this vid I have some of the sounds doing just that;


Ah. You are so helpful, thanks sunshinelover and Neil :slight_smile:

So I guess there’s quite a bit of prep work I can do while waiting for that eternal 10 weeks.

oh yeah, and about hit-to-hit variation, you guys know this already, but thinking aloud: In addition to chains with varying sample settings, you could also use a s&h to create slight variations in filter settings, EQ and such with each gate… can already see this module makes your brain race!


the thing I love about the shbobo shnth is that you can create a S&H and then reference it as many times as you want through the patch with having to create a bunch of the same module

I don’t have a module yet but it looks like the “global inputs” (I think that is what they are called) could do this
of course what makes that even more fun is using the same S&H and changing the level/ranges for each usage

I can’t wait to make a quantussy custum unit and share it if someone doesn’t beat me to it!


Current ‘workaround’:

If you’re not using all processing channels…

Put that S&H on IE: ch.4.

Now, anywhere in any other chain in the system, set the signal source to Out4.

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FAQ is now published here:


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