Gear

This page is related to my music gear, either stuff I made or something not easily found on the Internet like some rare user manuals in the archive below.

Pocket Operators

pocket operator model KO! in an official case

I own several of teenage engineering's pocket operators. Here are some resources I created:

Drum Machine Samples

I have nearly a dozen drum machines. While I sometimes record beats straight from the device, most of the time I use them for sketching out ideas then reprogram the beats in a DAW using samples. It's usually fairly easy to find most machines, but occasionally I can't find good quality samples or complete sets and have to sample them myself, like the ones below:

🔗 Suzuki RPM-40

Suzuki RPM-40

The sounds in this rather rare drum machine are nice and crunchy. I looked around for a good sample pack, but I found just one and it was missing three sounds that can only be triggered via MIDI. I then saw a RPM-40 for a good price so I bought it. Later I discovered the samples on the KB6 site listed as Keytek MDP-40 (these are both rebrands of the Italian made Seil MDP-40), but I had already sampled mine, so here they are:

RPM-40 Samples (ZIP)
🔗 yamaha rx15 drum machine

Yamaha RX15

Have I mentioned how much I love old drum machines? I imagine most producers think the Yamaha RX15 sounds flat and lifeless, but matched with the right synth it's a beast! I've used it in a live gig and it was great. These samples were not easily available when I first posted these on my site years ago and since then I've seen them circulated quite a bit.

RX15 Samples (ZIP)
🔗 yamaha mr10 drum machine

Yamaha MR10

I waited years for a good deal on this rare analog box and now it's mine. Turns out it actually sounds better than expected. The ability to tune drums and adjust the volume on the kick drum and cymbal channel really makes this more versatile than it seems at first glance. The samples below have a couple variations loosely tuned to a few pitches.

MR10 Samples (ZIP)
🔗 Mattel Electronics Synsonics Drums

Mattel Electronics Synsonics Drums

I've wanted one of these since I was a kid and regret not buying one sooner because it's way cooler and more fun than imagined. I also think the sounds are great. The tunable tom goes super low and feels a little like an 808 kick. Samples below. This archive has 8 different versions of tom tom 1, chosen based on how they sound next to tom tom 2 (my preference, not tuned to a specific pitch).

FYI: if you pick one of these up and don't want to use 6 C batteries, the adapter needs to output 9v, 300mA, and have a 3.5mm mono tip with a negative sleeve. That last bit makes compatible adapters hard to find.

Fun fact: this is one of the earliest devices to have a tap tempo feature.

Synsonics Drums Samples (ZIP)
🔗 Seeburg Select-A-Rhythm

Seeburg Select-A-Rhythm

Probably the most musical analog drum machine I've ever played with. The circuit combines 4 tone generators with 4 noise generators through a variety of shaping circuits in a matrix that gives each rhythm with a unique sound profile. The samples below are some of the most common, but there are too many subtle sounds to capture. See also: the service manual at the bottom of this page. Super interesting.

Select-A-Rhythm Samples (ZIP)
🔗 Seeburg Rhythm Prince

Seeburg Rhythm Prince

Vintage analog drum machines are cool...except for this one. Four terrible sounds and none of the eight rhythms capture the feel of their respective genres. The only thing interesting about this drum machine is the way it's constructed, sounds are created by a motorized platter with contact strips that close different circuits as it rotates. Research seems to indicate there are multiple versions of this drum machine so it's possible other sound better.

Rhythm Prince Samples (ZIP)
🔗 Univox SR-55

Univox SR-55

Great analog drum machine. The two knobs on the left allow for 6x6 pattern variations when the first rhythm button is selected. This is in addition to the other rhythms, which you can often combine when activating more than one button. Quite a lot of variety. I think the unit pictured above might have some electrical issues. The gain was low and there was a 60Hz hum I had to remove from the samples.

SR-55 Samples (ZIP)
🔗 Maestro Rhythm King MRK-1

Maestro Rhythm King

I love that this analog beast has triggers for individual sounds, and pushing them really quickly will change the sound for the snare and cymbals (it's how I captured these). Even better than the sound is the visual presentation, and this is such a beautiful looking machine.

Rhythm King Samples (ZIP)

Miscellaneous

Entries below hang out here until they get their own section, of course. See also: my circuit bent Casio SK-1.

🔗 image

Yamaha DX27 Voice Programming Guide

I had a DX27 in my possession for a short time. It came with a cassette tape, which had instructions on how to program the synthesizer. It wasn't very useful, but since I was digitizing cassettes at the time I decided to capture this one too.

DX27 Programming Guide Cassette.mp3
🔗 alesis palmtrack photo alesis palmtrack drawing

Alesis Palmtrack Microphone Orientation

The Alesis Palmtrack is garbage, really. It has one of the worst A/D converters I've ever heard. I mostly used it with an external stereo microphone because the internal ones are terrible. Speaking of, on the rare occasion I wanted to record with them I could never remember what their orientation is. There are four capsules. Two face the front of the device for directional recording and two face the rear for omni mode (active when you choose "4 mics" in the menu). Above is a picture of the device from the rear and a drawing showing which mic is which.

🔗 circut bent effects processor

Sleepwave:ALPHA

I took a buch of broken guitar pedals and put them in a project box in order to salvage some of their functionality. The "sleepwave" is kind of a circuit bent effects processor. I used it on a couple recordings and it eventually died because I don't know enough about electronics to keep it working. Pretty fun project though.

Old Web Design Ahead!
🔗 a sound gizmo

Sound Gizmo

It's one of my most valuable artifacts of an earlier age of sound. I circuit bent one and now I have a page dedicated to this awesome vintage toy:

The Sound Gizmo Page

Manuals

Whenever I get new gear I like to read the owner's manual. Here is an archive of manuals from gear I own, previously owned, or maybe borrowed for a while, or repaired for someone: