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Out of the eighties comes this hugely underrated drum machine-in 1986, the RX5 was Yamaha’s flagship drum machine. Although its vintage appeal may be diminished by the Roland R-8 (as well as the resurgence of the TR-808 and TR-909 machines), if you’re on a budget, this one could be for you.

The RX5 has many features that other drum machines simply do not have. Aside from all of the basics, such as pitch adjustment, level control, etc., this machine also features “Attack” and “Decay” envelope controls and two levels of “Accent” for each sound, allowing you to really change the character of any of its 24 built-in sounds. The sounds range from surprisingly real and punchy kicks and snares, to gunshots, door slams, even guitar and bass samples.

The RX5 features a RAM/ROM cartridge slot for storing custom edited sounds and loading in new sounds as well (adding an additional 28 sounds to the 24 built-in). Any sound can be assigned along the top row of pads (the bottom row are preset to the usual suspects-kick, snare, toms, hats, etc.), allowing you to customize your drum kit. Make an orchestra of handclaps, bass drums, or guitars! You can create and store up to three custom drum kits.

Another interesting feature of the RX5 is its pitch envelope. There are two simple parameters: “Bend Amount” and “Bend Rate”. With this feature, you can make any sound pitch-bend downwards or upwards, across several octaves. This effect can be stored as part of your custom edited sound at the touch of a few buttons.

Also overlooked but extremely useful are the “Reverse” and “Damp” functions. You can record a reverse crash cymbal at one point in a drum pattern, and switch back to a regular crash cymbal elsewhere in the same pattern. The “Damp” function emulates the dampening of a drum head or a cymbal choke. Many drum machines overlook these useful functions, which can really help add a touch more authenticity and nuance to your drum patterns.Polyphony – 16 voices, Waveforms – 24 internal 12-bit PCM samples (Bass, Snare, Rimshot, Tom Toms, Electric Toms, Hi Hats, Ride Cymbal, Crash Cymbal, Chinese Cymbal, Claps, Tambourine, Cowbell, Shaker). Additional 28 voices from ROM and 12 voices from RAM.
LFO – Basic pitch modulation, Filter – None, Envelope – Attack / Decay
Effects – Reverse, Damp, Pitch Bend, Accent, Sequencer – Real Time and Step Time Drum Sequencer.
Patterns – 100 Patterns (99 measures), Songs – 20 Songs (999 patterns), Keyboard – 24 Pads (no velocity)
Memory – 100 Patterns, 20 Songs, 3 Chains. Accepts RAM4 to store sequence & voice data, Control – MIDI In/Out/Thru; Clock In/Out