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Syncing Old Drum Machines to Modular Synths
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Syncing Old Drum Machines to Modular Synths
The Mule
I recently acquired an old Ace Tone Rhythm Ace FR-3 in a trade. I've never cared much for drum machines so I was just going to sell it. But decided to mess around with it first. And I decided it's kind of cool in that vintage retro way. So I thought it would be nifty if I could sync it to the modular, but unfortunately without adding a mod that will cost me $300 more, it isn't possible with this machine. I know there are old drum machines that can be synced to external clock. I believe the Roland CR-78 and CR-8000 are among these. CR-78 a bit outside my budget currently. Can anyone suggest some options for me? $200-450 perhaps on eBay/Reverb. Must be from the 1960s or 70s. No need for programmability - I'm happy to use the cheesy Samba, Mambo, Rock, Bossa Nova beats, etc. Just need it to be able to sync to clock that would be generated by modules in my Eurorack system. Pamela's, Metropolis and a few others. Thoughts?
jahreed
i've had very limited success sending gates to the footswitch control and manually adjusting the tempo to beat match

i think a gate is the wrong tool, i think it's expecting a latching signal
The Mule
Perhaps it's a better idea to pick a drum machine that has a trigger out and sync the modular to the drum machine?
Nightly Closures
Roland CR-68 does the trick.
The Mule
Nightly Closures wrote:
Roland CR-68 does the trick.


That is certainly one that's on my radar. If anyone else wants to chime in with their favorite old (vintage 1970s) drum machine that sends trigger (or can receive it), that would be cool. I've looked at hundreds of drum machines. Getting a little input on what everybody likes best could help whittle it down a bit. thumbs up
wackelpeter
Well Right now to lazy to Google for schematics, but as far as i remember it was not so far from the Roland TR-77, which i have modded with an external Clock, a Clock out and the individual Voices to be triggered individually…

The last Thing was really simple, the main Clock is divided several times and with some sidoe logic, so i only had to pull These ots to some banana sockets and then also pull the OnBoard trigger ins to banana sockets too…
Works for all Voices except the guiro which is triggered a bit different...

It was not much, needed jsut two or 3 tl072 op amps or so and a plate on front of the housing with the banana sockets and some switches…


I can have a Closer look into what i've done and Maybe look if the schematics match somehow or are somewhat similar…
I remember there was a great and useful site dedicated to the modding of an old TR-77, which explained most steps very clear.

okay couldn't resist to take a quick Google search, These links may be helpful:

http://electro-music.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=41564&postorder=asc

http://mezzoauto.blogspot.com/2017/05/roland-rhythm-tr-77-how-it-works .html

https://tubbutec.de/blog/unipulse-installation-ace-tone-rhythm-ace-fr3  /

Perhaps you can take some pics of the inside of your Rhythm Ace and we can see if the boards are actually the same or if there's some difference.
The Mule
Thanks, I was actually looking at a couple of TR-77's. Seems like a cool machine... As for the Unipulse, that seems like it might be the overall best option, as it would work on just about any drum machine and accomplish what I want. I am not a big MIDI guy though, so was hoping to not have to deal with that. And is the Unipulse difficult to install or would I need to get a tech guy to do it? I no longer have a soldering iron as I proved on multiple occasions that I was not fit to own one! lol
MindMachine
You'll have much better luck going from a drum machine into modular.

I have a Roland CR-78, Yamaha RX5 and a few more modern boxes.

The CR-78 is fickle with any number of clock ins. I just use it's trig out (with audio out).

Trig out into Mutable Grids and let Grids step three sequencers with different voices. The take the CR-78 audio out into a multiple that feeds a) EMW 3 Band Splitter that feeds hi band into one processing chain into a mixer. 3 Band Splitter low band into another process chain into the mixer. Then take the original multed CR sound into the mixer. Then I have two processed drum sounds, the original drum sounds and three sequnces of synth voices all triggered from the CR-78.

Crude but... crude and jangly awesome.

But if you are looking for a master drum machine that can be the central clock, then RX5 is king. Outputs for each voice means no splitting, etc. just process the ones you want and use any of numerous outs for clock.

I also use a cheapo Korg KR Minirhythm into Doepfer A-119's (and the EMW 3 Band Splitter) to get triggers and accents. It has individual sound pads too. Excellent $90.00 or whatever.
tito_tunes
+1 for the TR-77. I had one and got it to sync by soldering one wire to a specific point and feeding it a square wave. Sounded really awesome at audio rate.

I ended up selling the TR-77 cause mine was so mint I felt bad modding it. I’d love to find a beat up one and mod the shit out of it and install it in a 19” rack
The Mule
Has anyone used a Maestro Rhythm King MRK-2 for this sort of thing? I picked one up the other day on impulse because the price was right, and it sounds and looks super cool. It's a little on the large side, but I had a spot for it. Should I get this guy modded or sell it and look for a TR-77 or the other one that sounds really good to me, the Korg MiniPops 7 / Univox SR-95?
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