IN ADDITION TO his work with electronic percussion devices, Erskine has jumped headfirst into the synth and MIDI fray. His home studio contains a Casio FZ1 and CZ101, a Roland Super JX, a Korg DW8000 and Poly 800, a recently MIDI'd Oberheim OBXa, a Yamaha DX100 and Yamaha RX5, PMC1 and TX816.more
Unfortunately the midi retrofit was expensive. By the time 'Floodland' was being written, Andrew had spent all the ready cash on a computer and a sequencer, and was looking for a reasonably priced midi drum machine with a tighter snare drum. So he got a Yamaha RX5 for the snare sound (the kick was quite tight too) and wrote the album with that. "Having already abused the sampling delay units of that era (and some very complicated chains of painstakingly-tuned Drawmer gates) to trigger captured drum sounds, the first dedicated samplers were a godsend. Until then, even the AMS delay unit had a maximum seven seconds of memory, and that cost a fortune. A rare treat. Mostly we had only had access to Bel units with a couple of seconds at 8 bit resolution. Both had to be triggered by hand or audio key."more
Mastelotto isn't shy with electronics. He used "a fair amount of samples" for composite snare sounds, including three alone for "King for a Day," played on a Roland Octopad, and the overtone of "a very ringy Ludwig similar to a tube-lug snare" sampled on an Akai S900. The drummer and his tech Paul Mitchell bent the samples with a warp function "to a note that sounded good" for each track. Tabourine-shaker, congas, tablas and other oriental percussion came from Casio FZ-1 samplers. A Yamaha RX5 drum machine crops up on the fade of "Hold Me My Daddy"; elsewhere Mastelotto used an MX8 MIDI patch bay to increase the velocity of a LinnDrum fed into a Yamaha QX2 program. An old Simmons SD55's kicks and snares are on "Chalkhills and Children" and "Poor Skeleton Steps Out." There's a Pearl SC-40 on "Cynical Days" -- "similar to a tambourine but more of a bongo" -- and "Garden of Earthly Delights," "for a low kick that bends up like a tabla." "Garden" also employs a Roland TR727 drum loop. And Mastelotto still uses sticks: Pro-Mark 5Bs or 909s, "butt-end."more
I love the snares and claps on this machine. The stock tambourine is one of my favorite tambourine samples that I use. It has discrete outs for each drum, which is really nice if you're doing more than grabbing one shot samples. Hard plastic pads get loud and clicky when playing things in live, which can be annoying, but it's a small price to pay.
I must be honest, if I hadn't developed sound cartridges for this unit (Retrokits RK-001) I would probably not use it that much (although the RX5's sounds are iconic too) but now I can play custom and 808s, 909s, 606s,... on this machine it has become a stable clock in my setup. Loads of pattern memory, 80s style editing but hey. Stable as a rock.
Stephen Morris from New order used to use these and thats why i bought one, i only ever used it for reverse cymbals.. true story ! nice sounding, but really quite limiting. Had all the expansion waveforms for it, but let it go.. Not forgotten, but not really missed.
The built-in sampled drum sounds themselves are pretty bland, but there are sufficient means of sculpting the sounds even beyond recognition. Pitch and amp envelopes and sample looping just to name a few, and when you pitch down the samples you get that deliciously gritty 80s industrial sound. Mmmmmm!