LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

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bleurgh
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LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by bleurgh » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:37 am

I fully admit that when it comes to vintage digital drum machines, I really don't have much of an idea of the different qualities between brands - I've traditionally been an analogue kind of guy. But I'm really starting to get into 80's italo-disco and would like an appropriate digital drum machine (I really don't like using software!).

Of course the classic drum machine from this style of music is the LinnDrum, but these days they cost an arm and a leg. I'm wondering what others think of how the Yamaha RX5 compares? Are the sounds as punchy? Which artists predominately used the RX5? Are the percussion sounds as good as those lovely claps/rimshot/cowbell/congas on the Linn?

The RX5 certainly seems a lot more flexible - and is about a fifth of the price. Is there a good reason anyone can cite as to why it's so cheap?

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by Z » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:07 am

First, the LinnDrum has the classic sound that was used in countless recordings and still sounds fresh and powerful today.

I have both mmachines and the RX-5 and it definately has more of a "dated" 80's sound to it.

Here is a scan from Keyboard magazine with The System's David Frank's rig (circa 1988). There's a Yammy RX-5 in his rig, but not sure what songs (if any) it was used on.
Image

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by bleurgh » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:06 am

The Linn definitely has a classic sound - I love it! But maybe that "dated" sound of the yammy would work just as well for that style of music? Do you think? I'm not terribly familiar with it. I've really only heard what are possibly poor quality samples.

I notice that quite a few people are looking at this thread but not replying! Come on! I'm completely open to unashamedly subjective opinions!

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by BoxPhenom » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:26 am

The Rx is great, function-wise, and was Yamaha's flagship drum machine at the time, but it's a lot cleaner sounding and not quite as punchy as the Linn.

You should try samples of both, you'd have a very close impression of both machine's sound. Then you'll know if the Linn is worth the considerable difference in price.

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by Z » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:47 am

I'll try to make you a quick demo of both machine's sounds in the next few days. My LM-2 does not have the factory stock toms, instead it hasToms #6, which are "Simmons" style electronic. I'll be sending my LM-2 off to Forat soon for MIDI upgrade and seperate side stick tuning mod.

Technically speaking, the RX5 is a more powerful machine, but today's computers and machines are even more powerful. But most people's decision to purchase a vintage electronic instrument is for its sound.

Like BoxPhenom said, the RX5 is a cleaner sounding machine, but there are individual outs for external processing.

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by bleurgh » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:58 am

Z wrote:I'll try to make you a quick demo of both machine's sounds in the next few days. My LM-2 does not have the factory stock toms, instead it hasToms #6, which are "Simmons" style electronic. I'll be sending my LM-2 off to Forat soon for MIDI upgrade and seperate side stick tuning mod.
Very generous of you. Thank you!

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by nathanscribe » Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:46 am

I have a LinnDrum and RX-11, which was Yamaha's top model from 1984 till the RX-5 came out around '87.

The Yamaha has 29 sounds; you can allocate one of 8 snares, 3 kicks, 2 claps, etc. Some sounds have no alternatives - there's just 1 set of toms, for example. It's a breeze to program, and has individual outs as well as a stereo pair. It will run via MIDI clock, you can send & receive MIDI notes, and it will accept analogue clock (at 24, 48 or 96ppqn IIRC). There is a configurable accent for each sound.

The Linn has a greater variety of sounds, and like Z says there are other sound chips that can be fitted in place of stock ones. MIne has Toms #6 and Congas #2. There's no accent as such, but many sounds have 2 or 3 levels you can play them at (dedicated buttons for each). There's built in mixer, panning and individual outs as well as a stereo pair. You can tune some but not all of the sounds, and over quite a good range - for those dropped Prince sidesticks for example. Listen to Genesis' album Invisible Touch for some good Linn stuff too, or mid-80s Peter Gabriel. There are many sync and trigger options - CV inputs for pitch, analogue triggers for sounds, clock sync, trig out - no MIDI as standard.

Both machines are easy to use. The Linn is substantially larger than the RX; I think of the RXs and smaller TRs (707 etc) as 'next-gen' from the Linn/Obie/EMU sample-based machines. The Linn has a very heavy, dominating sound. I've been through a few other drum machines, and the RX-11 so far has the 'best-fit' palette for me to slot inbetween the Linn and my analogue drums. The RX is lighter than the Linn, and though I've not had it long, I can see it should prove useful when I don't want the Linn's 'presence'.

From samples I've heard, the RX-5 shares some family sound with the RX-11, so hopefully my comments will be relevant to that too.

If I could only have one good sample-based 80s drum machine, it would be the Linn. However, I wanted something lighter to complement it and the RX is one of a number of machines that fit the bill. If money's an issue, no doubt you'd be better off with the RX or similar. I'd only go for the Linn (or similar) if you definitely want what it does and is.

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Jul 12, 2009 11:07 am

I'd just get a sampler and load samples of both into it and mix them together.

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by bleurgh » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:32 pm

Sounds like there's no real alternative to the LinnDrum if I want 'that' sound. I currently have an Alesis HR16B for my digital sounds, and although it's got some great snares, in general it really doesn't cut the mustard. There's nothing quite like that tight Linn kick!

Then again a sampler could be the way to go because (for example) I really do prefer the Oberheim clap to the Linn's, but is it worth splashing out on a sampler for that? Sampling is one of the few areas where I prefer software, because you get a better picture of what your doing, so I wouldn't really use a hardware sampler for anything other than drums/percussion.

I also freely admit that I'm pretty anal retentive when it comes to gear, and I like to have the clunky old original stuff. I know some people think that's a bit silly and unnecessary, but there's something very attractive about using the same gear that your favourite musicians have used! I know it certainly doesn't guarantee making just as good music, but there's a certain mystique...!

I could probably afford a Linn, but it does seem an awful lot of money to pay for what realistically is a very limited set of sounds. And my friends would laugh at me and make me feel very silly!

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by jeeroj » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:40 pm

you could always pick up a korg es-1 for cheap and use it as a drum machine.
Then stick samples of both in it and you can make your own mind up :)
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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by Z » Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:17 pm

bleurgh wrote: I really do prefer the Oberheim clap to the Linn's
Surely there's alternate Clap chips out there that are close to the Oberheim's, might check with Forat. If not, you can find someone with an EPROM burner.

I prefer the Linn clap though. The Oberhiem clap reminds me of old school rap like RUN DMC & LL Cool J (not that that's a bad thing, I prefer 84-92 rap over other rap)

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by kuroichi » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:44 pm

Without going off on one, i'll just say that my choice between the two, would be the Linndrum.

However it might be easier/cheaper/better to get a sampler and use samples of both machines.
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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by Syn303 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:54 pm

I have the Linn Drum kit samples in my 2nd MD-UW, everytime I put in a pattern using these samples, It sounds like the Art of Noise! :lol:
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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by bleurgh » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:31 am

I love Art of Noise! And funnily enough I think they actually used a Fairlight for their drums!

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Re: LinnDrum or Yamaha RX5?

Post by Z » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:36 am

Yamaha RX5 demo video for your viewing pleasure:

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