The problem was simple. I wanted 808-ish sounds without sounding exactly like an 808. There are tons of 808 emulations out there but this drum machine really caught my ear.
It sounds, kinda like an 808 – problem solved!
It has a sort of TR style programming interface that I do not have the patience to fiddle with. I can’t seriously imagine someone using this to program beats. But it sounds great, so trigger it from your DAW and tweak the knobs.
When I bought this, I was most interested in the kick sound. I use a Jomox X-base for 909 style kicks, and it certainly puts most 909 emulations to shame. However the MFB 522 is just, well ‘different’ than an 808. It can certainly fill the space an 808 would usually take up in a mix, but one thing that really surprised me was the quality of the percussion sounds. Usually for 808 type percussion sounds a sample will do, but after using this unit in a few mixes I can really tell it from a sample. There almost seems to be some kind of high end distortion or enhancer type thing going on. These sounds really cut through a mix. It could just be quirks of the analog source, but no matter, I like it a lot, and go out of my way to use it.
It’s also small and fits nicely on the end of a keyboard.
Over the years there have been many 808 emulations, but they have always been really expensive. Relatively speaking, this thing is cheap, so buying it was a no-brainer. As if I have brains when it comes to drum machines.