What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

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What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by White » Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:59 pm

I've recently got interested in drum machines. I own a Novation Drumstation, which is great for dance, but has a tendancy to stop working every now and then. I also owm a Yamaha RM50 - stacks of drum kits. Currently for drums I use my Roland SH32 and sometimes my Emu XL1 Turbo.

With my interest in drum machines, I was just wondering, as the title says - what was THE must have drum machine of the 80's for you? I quite fancied a Yamaha RX5 myself.
Last edited by White on Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by Johnny Lenin » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:08 pm

I'll stick my neck out and say it's have to be the TR-808. It was the drum machine that made post-DJ hip hop. And hip hop after "Planet Rock" pretty much dominated American music for that decade.

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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by techno jackin » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:31 pm

i agree. the 808 is king. used on so many records but it also SOUNDS THE BEST. if you've ever used the real thing and not a sample library, you'd agree that nothing cuts like that beast.

check this video too.

[youtube][/youtube]
Last edited by techno jackin on Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by chordmemories » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:35 pm

There are too many 80s. Can we break it down by genre?

Anyways, the only thing more amazing to me than the fact that the 80s used to be so maligned even though there was such a wealth and diversity of music made in that decade is the fact that the revival has actually lasted longer than the decade itself. Not including the original poster on this thread, but if I read of another person looking for more "cheesy" 80s sounds to add to their productions or one more indie act with "ironic" 80s influences I am going to take my forthcoming 1996 Kawai synth and beat people over the head.

Anyways, the most obvious (for good reason!) answers are:
Roland TR-808 and -909
Oberheim DX and DMX
Any LinnDrum

If we are talking about hip-hop, samplers have to matter too but since they didn't generate the beats:
James Brown's drummers (too many tracks to mention!)
The Winstons' drummer ("Amen, My Brother" was used in hip hop before jungle, obviously.)
Chuck Brown's drummer ("Ashley's Roach Clip" break defined very late 80s)

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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by Clavier » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:44 pm

Drumulator and Linn Drum.
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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by cornutt » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:51 pm

If you're talking about what influenced the '80s music the most, I'd have to agree on the Drummulator and the Linn LM-1. The TR series went in a very different direction, and they didn't really become influential until long after they were manufactured.

(And chordmemories, I'd have to agree with you that today's bands who think they are being ironic by quoting the '80s don't realize that the joke is on them.)
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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by Mooger5 » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:54 pm

Probably the 80s will be remembered mostly for the tacky 82-86 period. Everything was modern. Shoulder pads and bad haircuts. Laser beams. Dog bark samples. Miami Vice. Modern Talking. DX pianos, bells and marimbas. In Europop the Fairlight CMI and the Linn Drum reigned supreme. Check Tears For Fears, Falco and Bananarama. The Simmons Drums were also very popular, but after appearing in the Eurovision Song Contest they were out.

Someone else may say the Drumulator. This could be your best bet as it can sound like anything, within its limits, if you´re into vintage equipment. Or you might get a modern MPC.
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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by Mooger5 » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:59 pm

Yes, the 909 remained obscure throughout the decade. It was Roland´s flagship DM in 1983, but it became a 90s instrument.
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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by cornutt » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:59 pm

Mooger5 raises a good point: the real ultimate '80s drum machine might have been the Fairlight.

I'm not sure the Simmons falls into the same category. Although some people did sequence them, they were intended to be played live and most of them didn't have built-in sequencers.
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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by Z » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:07 pm

While the 808 has found longevity in eletronic music, I'd say the king of 80's drum machines would be the LinnDrum. I'm sure you'll find it used on more 80's tracks than any other machine.

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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by chordmemories » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:07 pm

(And chordmemories, I'd have to agree with you that today's bands who think they are being ironic by quoting the '80s don't realize that the joke is on them.)
When I am in light mood it is really amusing to me. When I want to have faith i the idea of creativity and passion, then the constant revival depresses me greatly. There are two problems especially that bother me. The first is that most acts don't really go very deep into 80s music to find interesting things to rip off (Associates, anyone?). The second is that most acts don't even know enough about recent music to understand how long the revival has been going on. I mean, I would be embarrassed at this point. It is one thing to be in a band that is sh***y copy of something that happened in the 80s, but another thing entirely to be a band that is a sh***y copy of a 2002 band that was a sh***y copy of the 80s. I am not even out of my twenties and I have already seen the 80s revival revive itself!

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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by Mooger5 » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:14 pm

cornutt wrote: I'm not sure the Simmons falls into the same category.
It doesn´t qualify as a drum machine, but the sounds were as fashionable as the hexapads visuals. All the B-movies featured tomtom rolls.
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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by THM » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:23 pm

First drum sounds of the 80ies I'd think off are - like mentioned - the TR-808, TR-909, LinnDrum, and Simmons drums. I fully agree with those.
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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by chordmemories » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:25 pm

Which machine makes the weird snare sound that comes in at :34 again?
[youtube][/youtube]

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Re: What was the ultimate drum machine of the '80's?

Post by D-Collector » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:27 pm

I would have to go with the Fairlight, with the various LinnDrum incarnations on second.
So many of my favourite 80's records were made with the Fairlight.
chordmemories wrote:Not including the original poster on this thread, but if I read of another person looking for more "cheesy" 80s sounds to add to their productions or one more indie act with "ironic" 80s influences I am going to take my forthcoming 1996 Kawai synth and beat people over the head.
I agree with you, but I will also ask this: Why do many people call music and culture from the 80s "cheesy"? And why is using typical 80's sounds in modern productions considered "ironic"? It just sounds stupid to me. Does modern popular music and culture have such a strong hold on people that they have to find an silly "excuse" to listen to old music, like "it's just for laughs" or something? Is the musical culture of today so much more advanced and developed than in the 80s? Technically maybe, but creatively it's quite the opposite I would say.

And what the f**k does "cheesy" even mean??

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