It’s not often Guitar Center gets a classic Akai MPC anymore. I regret passing so many of them up before I learned to appreciate stand alone music gear.
Guitar Center prices most used items pretty fairly and occasionally you will find a bargain. $1099 is pretty fair for the MPC 3000LE. The 3000LE sells very high on Ebay although the only difference with the LE and the non-LE is the black case. Some claim the plastic on the LE buttons are sub-par to the original MPC 3000.
Unfortunately, this Akai MPC 3000LE was sold a few hours I discovered it online. Congrats to whoever scooped it up.
With the recent price drops on the the Elektron Machinedrum and Monomachine, I picked up an Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1UW. I did not see the TM-1 USB adapter included in the box although the online product description at Guitar Center said it would be included. I eventually contacted Elektron via email about it and this is their response.
The TM1 is not included for free with the Machinedrum UW any more. It is a separate purchase and you can get it either from GC or directly from us, whichever you prefer.
The Elektron TM-1 sells for $115 online at BH Photo.
On February 10, 2016, Elektron announced permanent price drops on the Machinedrum UW, Machinedrum, and Monomachine. Prices are as follows:
Machinedrum UW: 1099 EUR / 999 USD
Machinedrum: 699 EUR / 599 USD
Monomachine: 899 EUR / 799 USD
As of this writing, many are waiting to see when the retail stores will lower their prices accordingly. If you recently purchased these products, consider exercising your vendor’s low price guarantee. Even if they don’t have this guarantee, you could probably return it within the return period and buy it again at the lower price. The store should avoid the hassle of the return and just give you the price adjustment.
I love using Guitar Center coupons. Most coupons don’t apply to temporary price drops but Elektron says this is permanent so it might apply. The other problem is that Guitar Center coupons exclude products from companies like Elektron. I’ll be calling my Guitar Center sales-rep soon enough.
Many see this extreme $400 to $500 price drop as sign of a product being discontinued. If true, I would jump on these units right now. If these products will be discontinued, their replacements will costs more as all Elektron producs average above $1,000. On the otherhand, companies manipulate their prices all the time to move inventory. This is what Elektron posted on Facebook,
Our shelves contain too many Machinedrums and Monomachines. Simply put, we are a tad over-stocked. To remedy this we permanently lower the prices for these venerable machines.
I’m not surprised by this statement. Elektron products are priced very close to each other around $1000 to $1500. The products compete with themselves, black boxes (Octatrak, Rytm) versus white boxes (Monomachine, Machinedrum). By placing these three products in the sub $1000 category, they enter a new segment that is affordable to those dreaming about owning an Elektron product.
A groovebox is a self contained electronic music device that typically allows for the sequencing of a drum track and other synthesized sounds for lead and bass lines. A groovebox will also have builtin sounds ready for use whether it be analog, wave tables, or recorded samples. The term “rompler” is synonymous with the groovebox. A rompler has prerecorded sound stored in the ROM chip within the device. ROM stands for ‘read only memory’. The clasic Roland MC series are examples of romplers. A “sampler” on the other hand allows the musician to record new sounds into the device and sequence it. The classic MPC series from Akai Pro are some of the more popular samplers on the used market. Some grooveboxes have limitation that only allow the musician to compose short loops or kick start musical ideas. Other grooveboxes have enough complexity that will allow the musician to produce entire songs. Grooveboxes also have an assortment of FX to manipulate sound to make it your own. The Roland SP series has an abundance of FX and filters which makes them so popular.
As iPad apps and computer software continue to take away from stand alone music devices market, some companies still actually make grooveboxes. The Korg Electribe series has been a long standing product line that is continually evolving. The latest versions, the Korg Electribe 2 and the Korg Sampler, are compact, battery operated, and constructed in a durable metal case. Both units have a variety of built in sounds to cater to many music genres. The beauty of this device is the capability to export your work to an SD card for import into Ableton Live. So make a beat at the beach and finish it off at your home studio on the computer. The pads have a great feel and the connection option are generous with MIDI and SYNC, perfect for connecting the Korg Volca devices. The Korg Electribe products has a street price of $399 US.
Another groovebox recently added to the market is the Novation Circuit. The Circuit has three parts, 2 for synths and another for the drums. The patches in the Circuit come from the Novation Nova synthesizer. Unlike the 4 bar restriction on the Korg Electribe, the Novation Circuit allows for 8 bars. Patches are manipulated by predetermined macros as you turn the pots above the device. The Novation Circuit appeared pretty basic to me at first but with firmware updates and patch editing software in the works, it looks like Novation has big plans for the Circuit. I knew I was going to buy it since it runs on batteries. The Novation Circuit has a street price of $329 US.
Grooveboxes are great to get that beat out of your imagination and into reality. Depending on the device, you will be able to produce a full song or just a 4 bar loop. The sound design potential is higher in pricier boxes such as the Elektron products. The prices of current grooveboxes are the only turn off as they near the price of medium range tablets. The opportunities creating music anytime and anywhere might just be worth the cost.
My kid had 2 hours of baseball practice today. I grabbed the Korg Electribe Sampler to pass the time and get more familiar with the unit. Loaded it up 6 fresh AA batteries and I was ready for a morning of button mashing.