Amdek RMK-100 Rhythm Machine

Amdek RMK-100Having constructed my first synthesizer in 1981 I needed some backing and obtained an Amdek RMK-100; which was sold as a kit.

I remember this as a very nice, although basic, piece of kit but it's only while researching in preparation for writing this page (I couldn't remember the name of the thing) that I've discovered that Amdek was owned by Roland. As you read these pages you'll probably notice, if you haven't already, that I'm something of a Roland fan.

Roland TR-909

The Amdek was pretty basic and I'd been drooling over (not literally) a TR-909 for a while however the £900 price tag was more than I could afford. Then Roland released the TR-707 and the price tag on the 909 fell to £450 overnight. I nagged my bank manager for days (and as I worked in the bank at the time he couldn't escape me), until he gave me a loan for it. In view of that it seems kind of odd to me that the 909 is now regarded as a classic while the 707 is just another drum machine.

For me, the 909 became redundant when I started using a computer and a sound module (a Roland U110) to generate drum parts, and shortly afterwards I sold the 909 for the same price that I'd paid for it.

Akai MPC-2000 Sequencer/Sampler

Akai MPC-2000The MPC-2000 was my first sampler and this one was kinda destined to be mine. When I chanced to see it up for auction on eBay I didn't know much about it so I set about doing a little research. I concluded that not only would it give me what I wanted from a sampler (my main interest being in percussion samples), but it seemed that the sequencer would also resolve a problem that Debs and I had at the time in that we only had one computer (and were therefore unable to use it for two purposes at the same time). The MPC would give us a dedicated music 'computer' for sequencing, and a sampler too!

Having decided to make a bid I was rather disappointed when I went back to eBay and saw that there was a battle on between two bidders and that it has already gone over my spending limit. Being a glutton for punishment however I went back after the auction ended to see that one of the bidders had backed out and that the winning bid was now less than I was willing to pay!

I emailed the seller and told him that in his shoes I'd be inclined to ask eBay to re-run the auction as the bidder who backed out had jeopardised his chances of getting what he should for the item. He replied that the other bidder, the winner, turned out to be an American who though he was bidding in dollars as opposed to pounds and had now backed out and that as a result of the way he'd been messed about he didn't want to re-auction it and if I was willing to pay his reserve price the MPC was mine!

In the end it didn't see the kind of use I'd anticipated (none of my gear ever does) however the MPC is now at the core of my percussion setup.

Things To Hit

The idea of having some pads that I could link to electronic percussion had appealed to me since I got interested in synths. However going along this tangent would have required funds that I didn't have.

Come Christmas 2005 I'd forgotten all about percussion and was well on the way to saving up for a saxophone. Then however I walked into a music shop in Cambridge and saw how far the stuff had progressed while I hadn't been looking. Come the new year, I was scouring eBay.

Roland RM-2

This was my first purchase and in fact what I have is the RMP-1 Rhythm Coach which combines the RM-2 module with an RP-2 mesh practice pad. The RM-2 can produce a variety of drum sounds, has a jack for an additional trigger, and a headphone socket. It also has a metronome and a number of training modes.

Roland KD-7 & Pearl P-100

Initially I plugged the KD-7 into the RM-2 so I could play kick & snare patterns. Now, unless I'm using the training modes on the RM-2, both the KD-7 and RP-2 are plugged into one of my OctoPads (see below).

Roland Octopad II

Of course my ultimate goal was to play the MPC-2000 from pads and this required a pad-MIDI interface. The Octopads (I have two) provide this. Each has 8 pads build in and the ability to connect up to 6 external pads. One of them has the RM-2 and KD-7 connected to for snare and kick, while the other has 5x PD-5s connected for use as toms.

Roland SPD-20

I wanted to be able to use a hi-hat pedal and the Octopads don't support this. The SPD-20 does so I have the PCY80s and FD-6 (see below for both) connected to it. It also has a very large collection of percussion sounds built in.

Roland FD-6

The aforementioned hi-hat pedal, connected into the SPD-20.

Roland PD-5

I have 5 of these pads connected into one of the Octopads for use as toms. The don't feel as nice as the RP-1 and PD-80R (see below) but they are fine as toms.

Dixon & Gibraltar Racks

Of course with the number of pads and things that I have I needed something to mount them on and I have two Dixon frames with an assortment of Dixon and Gibraltar fittings. As with most of my percussion gear, these were acquired on eBay and in this case it took a number of auction wins to obtain all of the required parts (the remainder being sold on).

Roland PD-80R

I obtained this while acquiring the parts for my racks. I don't really have a use for it at the moment but I am thinking that there might come a point where I no longer want the training modes on the RM-2 and will sell it, and the RP-1, and use this as my snare.

Yamaha PCY80

These were also obtained while acquiring the racks but I really like the way the wedge shape takes up so much less space than a round cymbal. I'm currently used them for hi-hat and ride cymbals however I intend to get something else to use as hi-hat (I'm not sure what yet) and use these as crash and ride.

Roland MC-303 GrooveBox

This is my most recent acquisition and although I'm listing it on this page, it isn't really part of my percussion set up in the I don't use it when I'm drumming. My intention is to use it as something to play along with when I'm messing about on keyboards or guitar, but at the moment I can't switch it on without getting totally distracted by all the fun stuff it can do on its own.