While it doesn't have a lot to do with this post, I recently traded my MachineDrum MkI and Monomachine MkI for a MachineDrum MkII (plus some cash). This was a fantastic deal as I had been using the Monomachine less and less since I got the modular set back up and the MD was always my favored one of the two. the MDmkII is great, but I'm getting off track...
Lately I've been coming close to filling up the Doepfer Single Monster Case. I know, crazy right? But I was starting to think about starting to save for a Monster Base. But, it's a lot of money, and it means I would eventually spend even more than that filling it up with modules; not only would it be a tough financial purchase, but it would ensure future financial purchases. I know the modular thing "never ends", but at some point I need to try.
So, while weighing the difference between getting the Monster Base and not, I quickly found that there's already existing modules that I want that I do not have enough room for, let alone whatever really cool shit comes out in the next year or so. Not getting a Monster Base and sticking with the Monster Case would mean getting rid of modules. Tough.
So a couple weeks go by and I'm digging into the MachineDrum more than I have in a while, and one of these things was trying out the MIDI machines, which allow step sequencing of MIDI notes as well as up to 6 MIDI CCs per machine (1 machine per track). I played around with sequencing with these MIDI machines and it was surprisingly in fact, I found it easier than sequencing the MnM. For each step, you simply parameter lock a different pitch, and further different note length, pitch bend, mod wheel, etc. In other words, it was actually a great sequencer for melodies as well as CCs (although I only did a little of sequencing CC values, same principles applied though).
This got me thinking...the biggest module in my system is the A-155 sequencer, and that's without the A-154 controller. Plus, one of my most common uses of the 155 was sequencing triggers, something I very recently found more enjoyable to do via the MD rather than the 155. The other thing is that many aspects of the 154 controller could be programmed via the MD, either via Song mode or linking patterns. Sure, not quite as cool as voltage control, but it means that the MD is almost feature comparable to the 155+154 combo, so long as you have a MIDI-CV converter.
The A-190 has been great, but it's only a single MIDI channel, 2 cv, gate, reset and clock output. Meaning that I'd need at least one second channel to match the A-155's two sequence rows. And of course, what would be better would be two independent channels so that each channel could have and independent clock, one moving at 8th notes and one moving at 16th notes for example. That would be a significant benefit over the A-155.
So I started looking at the Kenton Pro-2000 mkII. This thing really would be the ticket. Not only does it have 2 separate "main" CV channels (each can respond to a different MIDI channel) it also has 6 auxiliary CV outputs controlled by assignable MIDI CC values, also can respond to different MIDI channels, or the same channel). This would mean I would have full control via the MachineDrum sequencer. And, each main CV output is switchable between 1v/Oct and 1hz/Volt scales. It has other features too, 2 programmable LFOs as well as portamento, and more, but the above are the real important ones to me. I've come to the conclusion that the MD + Pro-2000 makes a serious bad ass sequencer/modular controller.
So, let's take it down to brass tax:
Monster Base - $1200 - Additional 336HP (unknown additional cost of filling that case up)
Pro-2000 mkII - $600 - Additional 82HP (A-155, A-154, A-190).
I know, doesn't seem to quite add up right? Paying 2x as much would get me 3x the space with the Monster Base, but there's that unknown additional cost of eventually filling that up. And the MD+Pro-2000 seems to add a considerable amount of additional functionality, at least in terms of sequencing. Plus, I'd really like to start saving money again soon. ;)
So, what do you guys think? I know it's never fun to hear someone's not trying to expand their system, but I think this is the best move, both monetarily and functionally.