Yamaha rs7000...very happy not to sit in front of Ableton for a while. Elegant, chunky, and accessible...wonderful to play ideas live. feels like an extension of will and reminds me of the same feel I got when I would party and dance all night at clubs...the real time remix and chord separate function are to die for...the realtime remix can rearrange recognizable preset phrases into something different lickety split...while the chord seperate function can be used to ignore the stupid arpeggiator(no box is perfect)...another thing that I love is the midi fx, the playfx...which provide great ways to "thicken" the sound and also give access to happy accident mixing of the drums. The effect are quick, to the point and accessible...I could see myself getting another one.
Roland MC808. My first groovebox. sequenced by ableton(it is a very awkward sequence)...but it does have a great arpeggiator and I just can't live without the chord memory function.(I am not musically trained)...I can write chords, melodies and bass lines in a quick efficient manner that makes me feel good....it also has the fantom engine...and that was the first engine I learned how to build patches on. I love the mod matrix...I wish they had made the software editor in VSTi format, but what can you do....it was the first synth I could get a hold of when I really wanted external digital synth hardware. I despise the sequencer...I will never like it and it almost gave me a creative stroke and made me question if I was just being spoiled...but I did realize a few important things...first you can record in realtime from ableton to the mc808...more importantly...if you use the MC808 to change the pattern...it instantly splits all the patches and fx settings....so with a bit of planning and paperwork....you can spawn several slightly dissimilar patterns...with exactly one midi note at a velocity of 1(mc808 cannot save empty patterns) and flip from pattern to pattern WHILE it is receiving midi from another source.
yamaha encourages improvisation... MC808 encourages careful planning.
the problem with the yamaha? If you don't plan carefully...you will have a harder time playing live and transitioning.
problem with the mc808...I have to organize everything on an excel sheet. and IF I play live, I have to either play with laptop plus ableton...or realtime record into the box.
I love my creative luxury problems...