Electribe Esx/Emx for Shruthi-1 sequencing

Since I’m going computerless, specially in live when playing bass I came across the Esx, for Shruthi seq and extra samples.

Read some reviews and looks like really fit my needs, but some opinions from Shruthicitizens will be great.


  • Extra stereo outs, good for sending metronome to the drumer.

  • Two channels to synth sequencing.

  • Can load my own sampled kits, hope this isn’t very painful…


  • Synth sequencing its only one note, (but I don’t need poly at this moment)

  • CC only goes up to #95

  • I think can’t load/import MIDI files, but not sure.

Does it support NRPNs?

I think so.

I don’t know about the ESX but on my EMX I can set all 5 synth parts to a single midi channel. Would’ve been nice to have actual polyphony but at least this works as workaround.
Regarding importing midi files, I believe you can just send them and record simultaneously, never actually tried though.
And yes it does NRPN. The EMX manual was very elaborate and easy to read. It’s even indexed! ^^

I use my Shruthi with an Electribe ESX and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

They work in perfect harmony!

Oh sweet. I am so pleased this thread came up.

I want to do exactly the same thing. I currently use renoise as my daw and as great as renoise is at sequencing I just can’t get a good sound out without serious effort (it could just be down to the fact my sample packs absolutely suck). It also lacks the ‘live’ element and thus sucks the fun out of playing with sound.

So i was looking at the ESX or EMX and came to the conclusion that the ESX would more likely fit my needs. As a sampler that it pretty much designed to be a beat slicer and groove arranger to use the ESX as a drum machine and either off load the synth to the shruthi or continue to use renoise as song / synth arrangement, purely as midi controller.

I’m still rather new to music production so if I could get your guys opinion i’d be interested to hear it.

another Pro:

  • they’re getting cheaper and cheaper…

You could also look at the Akai MPC series as well, very good sequencer and rock solid MIDI. I would look at:
MPC500 (modern compact budget unit uses flash memory for storage)
MPC2000 (Old school quite big but solid uses disks)
The MPCs use a system where you basically play in the notes by hand either by connecting a MIDI keyboard or playing the pads on the unit. You wouldn’t program the notes step by step (you can but it’s hard work). Good because you can get complex grooves going, not everything has to be exactly on a beat. Has a mode where you can mute and unmute sequences, drums and MIDI by using each pad on the front which is cool for live work.

Yamaha RM1X, this is more of a step sequencer, no sampler but has quite a lot of drum and synth samples built in. Was a competitor to the Korg Electribe series.
Yamaha SU7000 bit of a cross between an MPC and an RM1x.

I have a Korg ER1 which is great because it is so easy to use, in fact that is both a downside and an upside. Its features are basic but on stage it would be great as you are not going to have to work out what button does what, or go into menus. If the modern Electribes are similar they will be easy to use. I have seen people at festivals using just one Korg machine to do a live set with and they seem to sound good. I have an MPC1000 but it is so complicated that I sometimes get lost when all i want is a drumbeat!

If you are good with ebay remember you can always well things again, that is as long as you buy second hand stuff. My advice would be not to get something new as you will loose a lot if you sell it.

Bit more expensive, but the elektron octatrack is an awesome sampler / mangler with an 8 track MIDI sequencer (4 MIDI notes per track/step), arpeggiator per track, 3 assignable LFOs per track, parameter locks per step, different bar lengths per track.
Add an 8 track sampler, and you have it.
I love mine :slight_smile:

I would recommend that you try an Electribe of some kind if you can before you commit. The workflow, as they say, doesn’t really click with me right off the bat the times I have tried them.

That said, my friend loves his ESX…maybe more time with one would help. I have thought about an MPC1000 (some horror stories out there about the 500) but they lack the live element to me.

It’s funny I was watching some YouTube videos of the esx and I want one now! I used to really like the live aspect of using the er1. I say go for it they are so cheap now and for “traditional” techno or house they are great.

My laptop is dying just after recording the last Ep with my (rock) band so right now in the “studio” I’m only concerning about synth sequencing.

I’ve a Mpc500, and yes the horror stories are true. But I see a band doing a whole show with one mpc500 sequencing two Tetra and a Mfb503, obviously the hard work was done on the studio and the mpc was only doing midi playback.

But working with the mpc500 is like a nightmare, specially when you’ve a Shruthi where every parameter is just two clicks away. It’s not only the two lines screen, i think is the whole design that can be really improved.

And yes the octatrack looks great, but I want to put first my money on the Ambika.

It probably just depends what you want to do with it. My first sampler was a SP202 and the way I use samples has been more live triggering and now starting to do live looping, so its probably just that I am not used to the typical way folks use those machines.

I miss a step sequencer when using the mpc500, plus I really miss the possibility to change from pads to steps like on the Maschine.

Seems like the mpc1000 with the JJ OS have a grid mode, but don’t know if this work like a xox seq or if it’s good enough…

The Elektron Machinedrum and Monomachine can also be used to sequence external MIDI gear. This is my setup for an upcoming gig

I’ve not tried the MIDI out from my MD, but it seems to work pretty well, sequencing the Yellow Magic from the Monomachine. P-Locks on external gear are also pretty cool. You can only setup 4 per MIDI part, but it is possible to assign more than one of the 6 MIDI sequencer parts to the same channel, if you need more.


Hi, I own an ESX and EMX. They are really nice machines and since I replaced the tubes they sound quiet ok (of course not as good as a Shruti).

I use the EMX for sequencing a MBF-Synth. It’s ok for for simple notes but if you want to send velocity you need to use an extra “Accent” track which is not always very handy. So it’s quiet good for the development of ideas but you will reach soon the limits for sequencing external equipment.

@tabularasa I fully expect that limitation really. Hence I’ll keep renoise around as the midi master. It has no CC limits, great automation, unlimited tracks, patterns, track lenghts etc. The nice thing about this workflow is that if I do have an idea that will work on the electribe I can record it to renoise and build on it there.

I think I’ve been sold an electribe. But I can’t make my mind up which to get. The EMX with it’s very clean synthasised drum sounds and multiple synth / note channels. Or the ESX with sampler, beat slicer, fewer note channels. I can’t make my mind up!

I have seen a couple of people using the blue one live in a dance tent. One was doing psy trance the other was during the day doing digital dub roots sort of stuff. Thats the one I would go for.

The lack of velocity is not a dissadvantage for live stuff, it can be quite difficult to get things right on my MPC sometimes you want it simple. It was good enough for the 808 909 etc. If you look at these Korgs as having a 909 and a 202 or 303 etc all in one portable package, and for around £200 they are a really good deal.

What I like with my EMX is its versatility.
Sometimes I use it standalone - sometimes I use it as a sequencer for my Shruthi and microkorg, and sometimes I use it purely as a drum machine (you can make some pretty nice drum sounds using the synth parts).

I sometimes even use it as an effect box; the effects are not great (except for tube gain) but it’s all I have, and it’s good enough for me.

I read a couple of interviews that point me to the electribe for this versatility specially in live situations.

The LXR is out this friday, so bad it can’t sequence external synths because I like it a lot.