In Search Of... Drum Machine

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MindMachine
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In Search Of... Drum Machine

Post by MindMachine » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:32 pm

So I'm oldish and grew up blown away by electronic sounds and rhythms like this intro sound (guessing ARP 2500, Soloist sounds or something?)


And I love these simple drum sounds:


My question is... what drum machine will get me closest to the Eno rhythms? For whatever reason I find them to be so simple and 'organic' (heh) that they do the trick. I also like the old school Cluster and Conrad Schnitzler drum rhythms, but Eno's seem less motoric and closer to the Wild Wild sound I like.

I've been looking at the AceTone FR-8L and the Roland TR-77, which is an expanded FR-8L. The exact anser may be simpler machine wise, but these seem to tick that sound plus offer a lot of control over their brethren.

ps. - if you ever do a Roland drum machine demo, lease...please tone the Guiro down.
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Post by fattyparts » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:23 am

the Roland Tr 77 sounds gorgeous. i think any of those early organ drum machines will get you that sound. it might be worth looking at the Cyclone TT-78 which supposedly is a clone of the CR78, but if it's anything like their 606 clone it won't sound anything like it. great sequencers though.

also, check out Soma Labs Pulsar 23!

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Post by rowsbywoof » Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:03 am

You probably want a CR-78. Definitely will dial in that Eno vibe. Newer programmers can integrate them into modern setups, too. I believe Future Retro makes a programmer that will integrate MIDI along with allowing you to program the 78.

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Post by dubonaire » Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:54 am

That Eno track sounded more like a TR 77 to me or maybe one of its predecessors, if it was a drum machine. Actually it sounded like a TR 77 taped and slowed down.

I don't think it could by a CR-78, not just because it sounds different, but also because the CR-78 didn't exist when Eno released Another Green World.

What I do for sounds like this is sequence a Roland Integra 7.

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Post by nodog » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:08 am

Seconding the TT78. It has the vibe of the oldies without the setbacks (price, availability, sequencer, multiple outs).

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Post by rowsbywoof » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:32 am

dubonaire wrote:That Eno track sounded more like a TR 77 to me or maybe one of its predecessors, if it was a drum machine. Actually it sounded like a TR 77 taped and slowed down.

I don't think it could by a CR-78, not just because it sounds different, but also because the CR-78 didn't exist when Eno released Another Green World.

What I do for sounds like this is sequence a Roland Integra 7.
Fair enough. Heck of a lot cheaper too :hihi:

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Post by Technologear? » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:37 am

Listening to the Eno track, it sounds like it was recorded from a playback system in a room. Like the drums were programmed, played back through the monitors, and the lead line played live with it, all recorded by a room mic. Anyone?

My journey with drum machines has led me to put them through many FX and rarely use them dry, which is why I'm noting the above incase you are chasing that specific sound

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Post by MindMachine » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:08 am

Thanks all. I have a CR-78. Much cleaner than what I seek, however so close. That is why I think it might be a Roland/Acetone solution.
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Post by JimY » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:54 am

It isn't just the sounds in those old drum machines, it's those preset rhythms too. Does anyone know of any that have been transcribed as midi files?

Sometimes they are provided at the back of the owners manual. Sometimes you would find them in the datasheet for a rhythm chip - other times the chips were factory programmed like ROM's and only the owning company would have that data.

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Post by Michael O. » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:25 pm

That Eno album is one of the ones that got me interested in production back in the day. The tr77 or tr66 would get you there sound wise. They’re both excellent sounding boxes with many useful patterns. I’d say they’re greater than the sum of their parts and are surprisingly versatile instruments. For a similar but different vibe the Korg/Univox minipops boxes can sound pretty great.

Also, and this is probably obvious, the drum machine in Sombre Reptiles is recorded to tape then slowed down, lowering the pitch of each instrument (the clave and hihat are naturally pitched much higher), then a short echo was applied.

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Post by Blairio » Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:30 pm

Remember also that many electronic organs of the time of Eno's Another Green World (1975) had built-in drum / percussion machines. I used to own a Farfisa 110 Pro, which had a great drum machine - not so far away from those Acetone / CR78 sounds.

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Post by dubonaire » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:18 pm

Michael O. wrote:That Eno album is one of the ones that got me interested in production back in the day. The tr77 or tr66 would get you there sound wise. They’re both excellent sounding boxes with many useful patterns. I’d say they’re greater than the sum of their parts and are surprisingly versatile instruments. For a similar but different vibe the Korg/Univox minipops boxes can sound pretty great.

Also, and this is probably obvious, the drum machine in Sombre Reptiles is recorded to tape then slowed down, lowering the pitch of each instrument (the clave and hihat are naturally pitched much higher), then a short echo was applied.
dubonaire wrote:That Eno track sounded more like a TR 77 to me or maybe one of its predecessors, if it was a drum machine. Actually it sounded like a TR 77 taped and slowed down.

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Post by Michael O. » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:53 am

dubonaire wrote:
Michael O. wrote:That Eno album is one of the ones that got me interested in production back in the day. The tr77 or tr66 would get you there sound wise. They’re both excellent sounding boxes with many useful patterns. I’d say they’re greater than the sum of their parts and are surprisingly versatile instruments. For a similar but different vibe the Korg/Univox minipops boxes can sound pretty great.

Also, and this is probably obvious, the drum machine in Sombre Reptiles is recorded to tape then slowed down, lowering the pitch of each instrument (the clave and hihat are naturally pitched much higher), then a short echo was applied.
dubonaire wrote:That Eno track sounded more like a TR 77 to me or maybe one of its predecessors, if it was a drum machine. Actually it sounded like a TR 77 taped and slowed down.
Haha, I should have read the thread more throughly. I’m glad I wasn’t alone in thinking that. Recently recorded a guy who used a tr77 as the only percussion on an ep and it sounded excellent; between that and this thread I really want to pick one up.

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Post by dubonaire » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:26 am

Michael O. wrote:
dubonaire wrote:
Michael O. wrote:That Eno album is one of the ones that got me interested in production back in the day. The tr77 or tr66 would get you there sound wise. They’re both excellent sounding boxes with many useful patterns. I’d say they’re greater than the sum of their parts and are surprisingly versatile instruments. For a similar but different vibe the Korg/Univox minipops boxes can sound pretty great.

Also, and this is probably obvious, the drum machine in Sombre Reptiles is recorded to tape then slowed down, lowering the pitch of each instrument (the clave and hihat are naturally pitched much higher), then a short echo was applied.
dubonaire wrote:That Eno track sounded more like a TR 77 to me or maybe one of its predecessors, if it was a drum machine. Actually it sounded like a TR 77 taped and slowed down.
Haha, I should have read the thread more throughly. I’m glad I wasn’t alone in thinking that. Recently recorded a guy who used a tr77 as the only percussion on an ep and it sounded excellent; between that and this thread I really want to pick one up.
I don't think it's necessary. So many Samples or Romplers give you those sounds now.

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Post by SnipeCatcher » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:22 pm

I get the beauty of those old drum machines, but would much rather have a nice sampler as well as using a synth to program sounds. Love the Elektron Analog Four as a drum synth a whole lot for that sort of thing

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Post by kragg » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:30 pm

The Korg KR55 is excellent, and features some of those "retro exotic" sounds (cuica, casaba, conga...). Not to mention that the kick and snares are killers :)
It is a preset drum machine, but you have knobs to adjust every sound, so if you need only percussive sounds, you can dial out snare, kick, hihats.

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Post by Blairio » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:16 pm

The Cyclone TT78 beat bot sounds great, and is very easy to program. I have come close to buying one several times, but I could never find out whether it has accurate replications of the CR78's rhythms.

Meanwhile my 'CR78' is an excellent set of freeware CR78 samples implemented as a polyphonic instrument in Reaper.

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Post by IR » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:32 am

They have lots of options and can vary the sounds, however, that's too complicated for most people who would rather use forums and bad demos than their brain.

Stick to computers and samples guys.

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Post by Blairio » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:42 am

IR wrote:They have lots of options and can vary the sounds, however, that's too complicated for most people who would rather use forums and bad demos than their brain.

Stick to computers and samples guys.
Most drum machines have a constrained feature and sound-set, like (for instance) my MFB 522, or my TR606 or indeed a CR78. Computer / DAW based sample playback on the other hand is open-ended in terms of the sounds that can be loaded, and what you do with them.

I think you have this the wrong way round.

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Post by dubonaire » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:44 am

IR wrote:They have lots of options and can vary the sounds, however, that's too complicated for most people who would rather use forums and bad demos than their brain.

Stick to computers and samples guys.
IR I think that's unnecessary in this thread. MindMachine is OK, and this forum is so valuable in the way people share their knowledge and experience.

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IR
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Post by IR » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:05 am

Blairio wrote:
IR wrote:They have lots of options and can vary the sounds, however, that's too complicated for most people who would rather use forums and bad demos than their brain.

Stick to computers and samples guys.
Most drum machines have a constrained feature and sound-set, like (for instance) my MFB 522, or my TR606 or indeed a CR78. Computer / DAW based sample playback on the other hand is open-ended in terms of the sounds that can be loaded, and what you do with them.

I think you have this the wrong way round.
What I meant is that there's a knob with 128 variations or whatever on the sound.

Some guy poasts that it sounds nothing like the original, doesn't bother to turn the knobs and everybody is like
:hail: :hail: you are so right, sounds nothing like the original.

If you don't believe me there's the infamous case of the TT606, where someone got an early one and posted a video that sounds nothing like the original. Forums and youtube comments were kissing his feet and probably other body parts.

Then someone who knew what they were doing got all the sounds to sounds very close to a TR-606, except for maybe the cymbal. People were still posting like madmen that all the sounds are completely different from a TR-606.

And also I fail to see why the only gear fit to be used is something that sounds like another piece of gear. The TR-909 and 707 came out because music store gossipers before the internet complained that the 808 sounds nothing like real drums.

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Post by resetlfo » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:44 am

you need a good sounding sampler , preferable drum sampler with pads at the end of it.
total freedom .

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Post by JimY » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:56 am

A thing I notice with fixed kit sounds (however produced) is that they only work together well in a limited range of tempo.
If you get your hands on a preset rhythm machine you should find that a preset that sounds naff at first, actual grooves quite nicely if you find the right tempo. Bear in mind they usually have no articulation other than Accent, but no swing settings and only 12 or 16 steps per pattern. Some patterns may be programmed in 6 or 8 bar sections and run twice as fast.

The tempo isn't recalled by the preset but by current state of the Tempo control, so you must always tweak that. I think the designers expected some modicum of knowledge on the users part as to what speeds those different music styles should be played at.
The synth-pop pioneers either had to write their tunes to suit the groove or record to tape and playback with vari-speed.

I've had access to the sounds of those old drum machine for decades now, and I still can't make anything else sound like one - because I don't have the beats!

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Post by visible cow » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:20 am

I'm also a big fan of those drum sounds. I looked into Acetones and Korg MiniPops but couldn't bring myself to buy something so limited. My solution was the Vermona DRM which can get me close sound-wise but obviously needs a sequencer. Part of the vibe (as I'm sure you know) is not changing the rhythm throughout the piece....also it helps to cut out a lot of low end (playing it through a guitar amp with a touch of spring reverb is also a great idea).

I will say that the DRM can't really get guiro sounds.

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Post by hinterlands303 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:51 am

Not the same, but did anyone check out the new MFB 301 pro at superbooth? Seems like a cool recreation of these old preset boxes but with the possibility of programming/sequencing. Only $150 too.

http://mfberlin.de/en/device/301proe/

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