Hands down the best electribe ever made is the ESX.
It has all the features you like in the original Electribe es-1 as far as sample shaping, far more effects, incredible sequencing capability. The later model Electribes do not hold a candle to it. The tube amp might be a little gimmicky but it looks cool.
- BPM Sync Delay
- Short Delay
- Mod Delay
- Grain Shifter
- Ring Modulator
- Talking Modulator
- Pitch Shifter
- Low Pass Filter
- High Pass Filter
One of the most effective sound design techniques is re sampling. When you resample you get the chance to make a snapshot of your current sound design and take that sound to a new level with new effects, edits etc… The electribe can re sample with ease.
Many composers like to do step editing when programming drum machines, the electribe has a great step edit ability with light pads that span the entire beat, as ou select the different parts you get a new light/step edit board. You can input 16th notes 8th notes 32nd notes 8th note triplets 16th note triplets. Each pattern can store up to 128 steps.
Motion sequencing is what makes the electribe one of the most capable/fun drum machines on the planet for performances, recording your individual movements on the various filters and effects leads to an amazing array of sound shaping, beat making capabilities, this is where you can really rock a beat and get sounds that nothing else can. Beyond the effects and filters you can motion sequencing panning and effect sending. You can layer the motion sequencing with overdubs which can create dramatic changes throughout the sequence to get very unique effects.
It’s easy to get stuck on this machine doing a live dubs and performances for hours and hours, it’s just too much fun, the new electribe machines don’t even come close to the fun the ESX can deliver. You can see from the countless videos on you tube how fun the electribe is to perform with live. For some reason most other drum machines just do not have this capability with regard to live performance ability in the real time aspect. Most other drum machines are just not as fun to play. While many other drum machines offer more sequencing ability like the AKAI MPC series, the electribe esx simply cannot be beat for rocking a live set and having fun doing it.
Example of a live performance:
In the above example you can year an electribe esx in a live performance using a variety of effects tweaking, time signature hacks, you can see the finger slider in use.
The electribe’s on board effects can be used on an external source such as another drum machine, CD or Record player with auto BPM detection. Some people have even used the electribe esx as a guitar effects unit.
Are the sounds Dated?
This is always a factor with electronic music equipment, when the devices are made, the manufacturer’s attempt to be the “latest and greatest” in the types of sounds of the time of the release. Korg has used artists of the time to produce the default sounds and tracks to be “hip” to the latest sounds. The problem with this tactic is that over time the machine becomes dated to the time of the release and thus limited in the ability to adapt to the future music trends and sounds. Thankfully, with the electribe esx you can change any sound and make all of your own patterns, this is very good for experimentation which creates new sounds and music styles and helps you break out of any dating the particular machine may or may not have.
How Do I Get One?
That’s a good question, production of this electribe stopped a decade ago, the new electribe units simply do not have this live ability an all of the knobs and buttons right there to be tweaked in real time. The first place i would look is ebay, but you are buying used goods so be cautious when shopping for an electribe esx. Many seem to be availiable from japan and have high shipping costs but appear in good condition. Another place is guitar center’s used market place, other music stores have similar used markets. After that it’s up to craig’s list, classified sites, facebook’s market, pawn shops can also be another option. You may want to own two of them so you ahve a spare if your live setup depends on it.
The electribe esx is very sturdy and i have owned a couple of them over the years with no problems, the tubes could go out though which is a concern, again be sure to buy from a reputable seller who will allow returns and or know how to make repairs to the knobs etc…
Open electribe allows you to edit your sample mapping on your computer saving a huge amount of time. You can use it to re map your samples over other sequences creating a strange, yet creativity enhancing effect on your samples and drum machine performances.