/hΩme /♬ /∧bout  LEON DU STAR ɘlectronic funk music livɘ-artist from Europɘ

thinking about esx

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about purchasing an instrument which promotes easy, idiotproof liveperformances.

Since I’ve done many liveperformances in many ways, these are my requirements (watch out, its big hehe):

Why all these requirements?

Its time to bring back the fun! :) I had a lot of fun, yet troublesome livesituations. I always took an extra CD with me, so I could always press play if things went wrong.

The conclusion is that I’ve never really trusted my livesetups. I want to go back to the feeling when I was playing in bands…arrive, plug-in, and play! :) 

Until now, every electronic & software setup started with enthousiasm, but in practice it turned out to be tiresome/stressfull. I want to go back to one instrument, regardless if I loose some ‘computingpower’. This isnt in any case a  software vs hardware-article, but more of a personal comfortability-pursuit. If you have a laptoplivesetup which is running fine, perfect! :)


Winner: Korg ESX1-SD, its a nice combination between samplesequencing, soundquality, latency and live-possibilities. You can alter everything in realtime (even notes). It lacks long samplesupport, but I can work my way around it (line-in: ipod or minikp for livelooping). It has been my observation that the latest grooveboxes ( Maschine, rhyzome, etc) :

Also I’ve looked at the machinedrum,octatrack,OP-1, and they lack in these fields imho:

Last but not least I asked some friends who use laptops with controllers on stage, and these are the downsides they reported:

Electribe ESX2

I was thinking about waiting for this one. But my research has shown that its not very likely this will happen. In november 2012 Korg would do a big announcement. Unfortunately there was nothing about a new Electribe. Personally I think the SD- and adapter-upgrade will be the last improvement for the electribe. I’ve talked to many people, and its very obvious that the big brands (Roland/Korg/etc) are focusing on products which reduce costs by connecting to a computer using USB or a pluginhost. Its too expensive to create custom hardware/software standalone solutions anymore. Who knows this will be back in 5-7 years when this 2nd wave software-revolution is over..

UPDATE: in may 2015 it happened. The ES2 is here.

Last of mohicans

I’ve looked around for all latest grooveboxsamplers (Roland MCx0x’s, RS7000, maschine, machinedrum, octatrack, rhyzome, mpc’s). But to me it seems the korg ESX1-SD is one of the last small, standalone, portable approaches to live groovebox-samplesequencing for its price.

To me it seems definately worth to get one, because soon they will be gone in the stores. 

Commitment to one workflow

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the past, its that a single workflow is key for making livesets. The more things I added (software- or cable-wise), the more obstacles could occur. I predict that in the future my  monkeymind will start searching for an ‘another’ ultimate livetoy, but then I should remember this article. I should make a total commitment to one device, and totally streamline that workflow.

ESX Limitations

I was thinking..the ESX has only around 281 seconds of samplememory..how bad are these limitations actually? I think I should accept this memorylimit as a challenge. I’ve used an akai s01 sampler back in the days, and looking back to it…I could still make funky music with that setup. Also, I’ve used my yamaha rm1x for ages now, and how ugly the sounds are, the limits still push me into some kind of ‘survival’-mode which still results in interesting loops which can be integrated in my DAW. Sometimes its more fun to fight with limitations, then to ‘think’ about infinite possibilities (DAW). I guess this is what people mean with ‘the freedom of limitations’.

So, I bet the ESX limitations can have its benefits too concerning my creative mindset. Evidence for this can be found looking at the gifted Danieklerr.


Im confident that, with the right preparation/preproduction of samples, one doesnt need more then one ESX. 

In the end its just soundwaves coming out of the speaker, and those ones you can prepare using your DAW / software applications.

UPDATE 2015: The ESX and a DAW masterchain is all I need to have fun :)