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Drum Machine
Retro Drum Machine

I am a huge fan of 70;s, 80's, and 90's rock and pop music and when I listen to this music I sometimes can't help but laugh, reminisce, and remember how things we take for granted today were... shall we say challenging, and creative back in the day. I always laugh when I hear some of these songs. I can even tell what synthesizers were used, what drum machines, what samples and samplers, etc. It makes me laugh AND makes me marvel at the creativity. Here are some of the retro ramblings and reminiscing that go through my head when listing to this music.

  • Trevor Horn was a genius.

  • The Akai S-900 and Emulator II were responsible for more music production in the 90's than anything sampler. Yes, Fairlight, Synclav, Wavestation, Kurzweil K-250, etc. all had their fair share of hits. But the affordability of the S-900 and Emulator enabled more people to create more music.

  • The Tascam and Fostex "PortaStudios" were critical to creating demos for so many albums

  • Simons Drums were awesome.

  • The Yamaha SPX 90 and Lexicon PCM 60 and 70 were staples of any studio home and pro!

  • That thin highly chorused strat sound used in 90's pop is unmistakable.

  • The Linn Drum, TR 808-909, MPC - 60, Yamaha RX-11, Oberheim DMX, Emu SP1200, were the soundtrack of the 80,s 90,s and early 2000's.

  • Sampled slap base samples from the Emulator were classic.

  • Orchestra hits! Whether from the S-900, Emulator, Fairlight CMI, etc. Every damn song had them!

  • Sampled voices and crappy choir samples.

  • Sampled... anything used as an instrument.

  • The Yamaha DX7, DX7 III FD (floppy disc), Roland D-50, Korg Wavestation, Prophet 5, PPG, and Jupiter 8.

  • Floppy discs. I still have hundreds in storage.

  • SMTP and external sync.

  • Odd and ethnic sampled percussion.

  • Roto Toms!

  • AMPEX 456

  • Having to record a snare or cymbal and then flip AMPEX 456 and play it back reversed and print to a different track just to get that simple reversed snare or cymbal sounds. Samplers, changed that!

  • MIDI!

  • Midi controlled or wired pedal controlled multi DSP devices for Guitar players.

  • Rockman!

  • AKG 456, Nuemann U87, and Sure SM 57

  • Italian Synthesizers - Elka, Crumar, Viscount, etc.

  • Yamaha CP-70 Electric Stage Piano.

  • Vocoders!

  • TDK and Maxell cassette tapes

  • DAT and the Panasonic SV - 3700...Tascam had a few good ones too.

  • SCSI Drives including iMatiom, Superdrive, etc.

  • Compact Disc.

  • Cakewalk, Emagic Logic (yes, long before Apple), Cuebase 1.0

  • Dongles

  • RS 232

  • Mac and Atari Computers

  • CamCorder Music Videos.

  • Mullets and eye shadow!

  • Neon and Parachute pants as stage wardrobe.

Ah man, I can still smell the tape, cheap plastic, feel the metal cover on the floppy disc, the buzzing of the disc drive, sample aliasing, 16 bit, 8 bit, etc. that D-50 Shakuhachi flute, bell and pad sounds, DX electric piano, brass, and bass sounds. Good times, good times. Here's a toast to the good old days!




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