1 OTO Machines BOUM
Running machines raw into a big system can be dangerous. This compressor/distortion unit safely squeezes all your elements together and adds nice grit via four distortion types, making it a hit with touring live techno acts like Surgeon and Karenn. With lo-and hi-cut filters and a noise gate.
2 Elektron Octatrack
Elektron’s swiss army knife is not perfect. It has a steep learning curve, switching between midi sequencing and sample playback can upset rhythm, and many artists use a controller to map parameters. But it’s popular thanks to its ability to function as a mixer and assignable cross-fader.
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3 Arturia Drumbrute Impact
A proper drum machine can make your set truly live. There are many options, but size and ease of use are key. The Impact saves pattern/songs easily, has a huge kick sound, distortion on the master output and the sequencer’s Roller and Beat Repeater let you add fills on the fly.
4 Boss RC-505 Looper
5 Behringer MS 101
Famed for its monstrous bass, three generations of producers swear by Roland’s SH 101 for its ease of use. If you can’t find an original, Behringer’s reboot, the MS101, is a worthy replacement – and if you need even smaller still, try Roland’s own Boutique remake, the SH-01A.