The MR10 is an unassuming powerhouse of a rhythm machine. It's simple, funky, and has lots of lovely pulsing noise due to its small power supply. Sounding something like a more tune-able 808 crossed with a CR-78, it feels like a missing link in the canon of analog drum machines. Familiar, yet still in a class of its own and almost totally untapped by producers. This pack contains every possible one-shot as well as our favorite loops at a couple different tunings - so now you can use this weirdo machine in your music!
Released by Yamaha in 1982 as part of a line of budget producer gear, it's the only analog drum machine they've ever manufactured, and it truly seems to have been released and then forgotten, perhaps due to its limited functionality. To be frank, it sounds incredible, but this little box is a (fun) pain to use. We wanted to give these awesome drums their time to shine and make them accessible and usable in a way that the original machine never was.
Recording one-shots was an interesting challenge, as the MR10 has only 5 one-shot pads: Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Hi Tom, Low Tom and Cymbal. However, within the loops are various other sounds - closed hats, open hats, various percs and snare combos. To get these, we recorded the loops at the slowest possible tempo and used the volume controls to get every possible one-shot out of the MR10.
We recorded each hit at 6 different exact pitches (except for the bass drum which isn't tune-able), and captured the clean and color versions with the same recording chain as the loops, so they will all integrate perfectly when combined.
For loops, we knew we had to narrow down the tunings and tempos if we were ever going to get a usable pack, so we settled on 100bpm for the tempo of all the loops. We then found the most usable tunings for each pattern, including some higher and lower tunings. We got the direct clean loops, recorded using a Radial J-DI into our API1608 into the Apogee Symphony MKII.
We then did a color variation of the loops using the Summit TPA-200B tube pre-amp, the Overstayer NT-02A, API 2500 Compressor, and DBX 165A, finally printing them to tape using our Otari MTR12 1/4" 2 track tape machine to bring out some of the modern bite that is possible with these sounds.
For both of these, we made sure to print some "stripped" versions - loops with no kick drum - to use in layering. We also captured 4 MIDI grooves from these loops, so you can apply the feel of the MR10 to whatever you're sequencing.
Our goal with this pack was to transform the very cool sounding but limited MR10 into a secret weapon for modern producers. After unlocking the "hidden" one-shots available through recording loops, and having access to all the loops and different pitches in one place, we found this pack to be incredibly fun and easy to create with. The color hits lend themselves very nicely to hard techno and more aggressive styles, while you can just as easily use the loops in a pop or indie production. We wound up being surprised by the many possibilities of this tiny old rhythm box.