EKKO FROM MARS

The Rarest Drum Machine We've Ever Sampled

Released in 1972, the Italian-made Eko Computerhythm (which we're lovingly referring to as the "Ekko") was the first programmable drum machine, shaping the sound of electronic music forever after. With only around 50 ever made and less than 15 in circulation today, it's taken us years to find one - but finally, we have, and our high expectations have been exceeded- nothing could fully prepare us for how cool this thing is to look at, play and hear! 


Of course, we wanted to share this joy with you by creating the most extensive Eko sample pack in existence. Capturing round robin one-hits, loops and stems, we preserved the natural sound of this pioneering rhythm box, and further processed it to extend the possibilities of this analog powerhouse for years to come. Check out what you can do with the one-shots: 

The First Programmable Drum Machine

Rhythm boxes were first created out of necessity, to provide pre-made beats to accompany an organ player, for example. As such, they were hardly considered instruments in their own right.

We aren't sure exactly why Eko, an Italian company making guitars and organs during the psychedelic revolution of the 60's, had the foresight to create the first ever user programmable step sequencer (possibly some mind-expanding substances?). But what we do know is that this step sequencer would change the face of music and music technology forever after, (after all, we're still using it today!)

Sporting a space-age user interface with 16 steps per track for user input, a punch card reader to load sequences, 12 voices and individual outs, musicians were no longer reliant on using pre-programmed factory Waltz and Fox Trot presets, and could finally program their own custom patterns and perform live with an analog drum machine. The Computerhythm quickly garnered favor with innovative musicians and groundbreaking composers like Jean-Michel Jarre, Lee Scratch Perry and Tangerine Dream.

Preserving the Original Sound

The Eko features 12 classic rhythm box sounds (ok, one is a "rolling drum" which is quite odd) and upon first listen, it is warm, punchy and full of life- somehow more defined and pro sounding than any other rhythm box we've used - likely due to its robust internal electronics (this thing is huge!) and direct outs. 

We figured it'd be rude of us to alter this beautiful sound (at least, at first 😉) - so, to maintain its raw, sonic beauty, we simply ran the direct outputs into Radial JDIs, into our API console, and to our Apogee Symphony MKII interface. Syncing the unit to our ERM Multiclock, we composed classic, clean patterns inspired by machines like the CR-78 and Rhythm 700:

Our unit came with 6 punch cards that can be fed into the machine's card reader in real time, and load up a sequence to be played back. We have no idea if these cards came from the factory,  but we sampled them regardless and they're included in this pack 🕺

Modernizing the Sound

While the sound of the original machine is beautiful, it's also 52 years old, and we'd be remiss if we didn't try to innovate on it, in the way this drum machine innovated in 1972. 

So, we extensively processed the outputs, and programmed all kinds of more modern patterns, touching on everything from Techno to Reggaeton, Trap and Hip Hop, all of which the Eko excelled at, but of course, in its own, specific, rhythm box way:

Our processing focused primarily on the bass drum, which is lovely, but was too high pitched and clean to stand out in a modern production. Since there's no tuning on the Eko, we called on our Overstayer Saturator to employ a filthy little trick - tuning its analog, hi pass filter to a cutoff frequency where we wanted the new "pitch" of the bass drum to be, we then added resonance to create this tone.

This resonance was then distorted, and the entire kick drum was saturated in parallel, with tubes from our amazing Summit TPA 200B, and then slightly compressed with our DBX 160A, SSL, API 2500 and Moog filter. From this process we made kick drums as low as F0 / 46 Hz. 


The remaining drum voices were recorded to tape, through Moog filters, API EQs, SSL Gates, and API Compression. Much of this processing was quite conservative, although we did push the boundaries a few times 😝. All of this processing was applied to the one-hits and loops. 

Going Beyond the Loops

To go beyond what a 16 step loop can offer, we also captured extensive one hits by programming a single step for each of the of the 12 available voices to retain the machine's timing. Here, we sampled six round robins per voice (a rarity for us!).

With an analog drum machine, every hit sounds slightly different - and while this may not seem noticeable to the ear when playing back a single sample, when sequencing in your DAW, the round robins truly breath life into your beats, making it sound like it was programmed on the machine itself. 

What You Get

We had a blast sampling this unique and beautiful machine, and our journey ultimately led us to 275 loops and 240 round robin one-hits, with clean and processed versions for both.

The loops range from classic rhythm box patterns to more modern genres, and are comprised of full beats and individual stems for really fun mixing, matching and pattern manipulation. The one-shots feature extensive round-robins, mapped to various DAWs and samplers and ready for your own pattern creation. 

Excellence. Known quality. Originality.

While the above (clunky, maybe) acronym is from an ad for Eko that ran in the 70s, it in some ways embodies our approach as a company - we look for excellence in the machines we sample, our process is dedicated to preserving their quality, while striving for originality by re-contextualizing sounds for the modern era.

With this pack, we hope to push modern electronic music in the same way that Eko did in the early 70s. Playing and sampling this machine has been pure joy, and we hope the Ekko From Mars can bring you this same feeling! ✨ 



What You Get:
  • (515) Samples at 24 bit 44.1k
  • (275) Ekko Loops including Full, Tops, and Stripped 
  • (240) One Shots with 6x round robins for each drum voice
  • Clean and extensively processed one-shots and loops
  • Traditional rhythm box patterns, modern and complex patterns, in both 4/4 and 6/8
  • (3) 16 Hit Round Robin Kits (6 cycling round robins per pad)
  • (3) 16 Hit One Shot kits
  • (2) Ableton and MIDI Groove files
  • Recorded though a Radial J-DI, API 1608 console, & Apogee Symphony MKII, and processed with an Overstayer NT-02A, Otari MTR-10 1/4" Tape, DBX 160a, Summit TPA 200B, API 2500 Compressor, and API 560 EQ
  • 100% Hardware processing
  • 630 MB Unzipped
  • About
Formatting:
  • Ableton includes (1) Individual Hits rack with Round Robins, (3) pre-made kits racks, and (275) original loops as audio clips
  • Kontakt, Logic, Reason, FL Studio, and SFZ include: (12) Individual Hits instruments with Round Robins, (3) Round Robin Kits, and (3) pre-made One Shot Kits Instruments
  • Maschine, Battery, and Reason Kong include: (3) pre-made kits
  • MPC 1000 and MPC 2500 include: (3) pre-made kits on 1 program
  • MPC Live, One and X include: (3) pre-made kits on 1 program
Requirements
  • Any 24 bit WAV Compatible DAW or Sampler
  • Ableton Live 9.7+ (Not Intro)
  • Kontakt 5.6.5+ (Not Kontakt Player)
  • Logic 9+
  • Maschine 2.6+
  • Reason 8+
  • Battery 4.1.5+
  • FL Studio 20+
  • MPC1000, MPC2500, MPC Live, MPC One, MPC X
  • 630 MB Free Space




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What You Get:
  • (515) Samples at 24 bit 44.1k
  • (275) Ekko Loops including Full, Tops, and Stripped 
  • (240) One Shots with 6x round robins for each drum voice
  • Clean and extensively processed one-shots and loops
  • Traditional rhythm box patterns, modern and complex patterns, in both 4/4 and 6/8
  • (3) 16 Hit Round Robin Kits (6 cycling round robins per pad)
  • (3) 16 Hit One Shot kits
  • (2) Ableton and MIDI Groove files
  • Recorded though a Radial J-DI, API 1608 console, & Apogee Symphony MKII, and processed with an Overstayer NT-02A, Otari MTR-10 1/4" Tape, DBX 160a, Summit TPA 200B, API 2500 Compressor, and API 560 EQ
  • 100% Hardware processing
  • 630 MB Unzipped
  • About
Formatting:
  • Ableton includes (1) Individual Hits rack with Round Robins, (3) pre-made kits racks, and (275) original loops as audio clips
  • Kontakt, Logic, Reason, FL Studio, and SFZ include: (12) Individual Hits instruments with Round Robins, (3) Round Robin Kits, and (3) pre-made One Shot Kits Instruments
  • Maschine, Battery, and Reason Kong include: (3) pre-made kits
  • MPC 1000 and MPC 2500 include: (3) pre-made kits on 1 program
  • MPC Live, One and X include: (3) pre-made kits on 1 program
Requirements
  • Any 24 bit WAV Compatible DAW or Sampler
  • Ableton Live 9.7+ (Not Intro)
  • Kontakt 5.6.5+ (Not Kontakt Player)
  • Logic 9+
  • Maschine 2.6+
  • Reason 8+
  • Battery 4.1.5+
  • FL Studio 20+
  • MPC1000, MPC2500, MPC Live, MPC One, MPC X
  • 630 MB Free Space


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