Articles, Blog

Creating Rhythmic Effects with Vintage Drum Machines + Fulltone Tube Tape Echo

October 9, 2019


eHey, everyone. Mark Marshall with theproaudiofiles.com
and guitaristmarkmarshall.com. Today, I’m going to talk about using a vintage
drum machine, and a Fulltone Tube Tape Echo to create some really interesting rhythmic
effects. I sat down with my good friend, Nick Oddy, who’s a composer for film and video
game soundtracks, as well as a member of the band, Zammuto, and he’s going to walk us through
the process because he owns one of these old vintage drum machines. What’s really cool about this process, is
if you don’t own the vintage or analog gear, you’re not going to be limited to getting
some of these effects into your productions. It could be done with using Logic’s Tape plug-in.
They have a tape echo plug-in. PSP makes a really nice analog, tape-ish sounding delay
plug-in, and UAD has their own Echoplex plug-in, which is fantastic. Any of those will do. It’s not particularly
dependent on a specific brand or analog model of delay, and also, if you search the web,
you can find people that have sampled a lot of these old drum machine rhythms at varying
tempos. If you do a little bit of homework, you can
find these old school sounds, but it’s also worth noting that these techniques can be
applied to very modern sounding drum loops and drum machines as well. Let’s check out how Nick approaches using
these two devices. Nick: Well, there isn’t really a process.
It’s all really trial-and-error. The idea is basically you’ve got to go back to what
people like Brian Eno used to do in the 70’s where you take one of these drum-machines/rhythm
boxes, Rhythm King in this case, that was made to accompany organ players, and sometimes
guitar players so you could have a drummer who wouldn’t complain. But, when you start running them into tape
echos, magical things start happening. So we’ll start with just the dry sound, which
is a mambo and valero*** combo. That’s the great thing about this box. You can combine
any two of these rhythms. So, we’ll take the mambo and the valero… [drums] Then you start fading in some echo… [drum machine, with echo] …and you get some other drummers who are
coming in. There we go. [drums continue playing] I mean, I could listen to that all night. So then, maybe messing with the delay time
and see what that does. Let’s see what happens. [drum machine playing] Crank up the repeats… [drum machine playing] Oh, yeah. That’s good. [laughs] There’s a lot of trial-and-error, but then
you find it when it locks into a groove like that, I mean all of – there’s so many possibilities
out of this thing that’s just in a loop. We can play it forever. And actually, Kraftwerk, I believe, used the
same box on Trans-Zero Express, and they modified it so that they could actually play those
hits. I don’t know how they did that back in 1973, or whenever that album came out,
but they opened up the back and had their own sort of drum pad that they connected into
the back of this thing, and they played those hits. [drum machine] You know? But with sticks. Swing and Rumba sound like together. [drum machine] I’m happy with that. It’s really incredible too when you kind of
change the balance between this thing and the echo volume. It really changes your perception
of what the rhythm is, you know? Adjust the echo. Then bring in your original
signal. And again, that’s the original by itself.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Samuel Nevilles March 23, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    what's the name of the drum machine? sounds are super fresh

  • Reply Charles Den-Baars March 23, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Cool, that machine is an old Maestro Rhythm king, made about 45 years ago… they look like an old amp head or a kitchen appliance…  I have samples of that machine along with many others and i can import them onto Fruity Loops or other samplers and DAWS and make my own beats with them!  And UVI just put out the Beatbox anthology which is a software program which has many of these old vintage units sampled, with loops and individual kit sounds, for your own use and includes a picture of the old machines also!  Very cool, many years ago i preferred  my machines to sound realistic, now i prefer them to sound synthetic and cheesy!   I'll use real drums or digital pads when i want a real drum sound…

  • Reply Benny Feenell April 8, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    amazing!

  • Reply TheStingySteve May 8, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I HAVE THIS EXACT MACHINE, ITS A RHYTHM KING MRK-1 AND IT'S FOR SALE ALL ORIGINAL WITH ALL ORIGINAL PARTS AND CONNECTIONS

  • Reply Haze Anderson March 21, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    It's a shame we can't be in the same room to FEEL that thing as well.

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