Behold the mighty SpecDrum

Analog Industries is leading an exciting revival of the SpecDrum - a £29 hardware sampled drum machine that interfaced with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, and used 8 bit (or, according to some reports, 3 bit) samples. I had one at the time, and samefully, I only remember getting bored of it very quickly. Listening to it now, it sounds like a lofi Linn, with a reasonably workable programming system that looks a bit like Fairlight's Page R (complete with 'Peow' sound). Analog Industries have links to Spectrum Emulators, the original files, and various kits, loops and tracks made with the thing. Next up: The Currah µSpeech Spectrum Speech synthesizer, which is also available on emulators.
UPDATE: On a similar, but even cooler note, Matrix Synth has found a Moog Song Producer, which interfaces with a Commodore 64 (That's right, 'Moog' and 'Commodore 64' in the same sentence) on eBay. It's item #8713927196.


Comments:
Wow, that takes me back. When my Spectrum died and I got an Amstrad CPC 6128, one of the first add-ons I bought was the -- you guessed it -- AMDRUM! I seem to recall you could buy additional kit samples to use with it, and I had a few of those.

"Lo-fi Linn Drum" describes it well -- and the software interface was pretty good I thought. Cheetah went on to create a synth module which was actually half decent in terms of sounds (build quality less so).
 
I didn't have Specdrum, but I did have the Currah speech box. Had lots of fun with Microrhythm / Microrhythm+ on the Commodore 64 though.
 
I had the RAM Music Machine plugin pack for my spectrum.
It had midi i/o, real time effects, sample recording and pitched playback, and you could edit waveforms full screen.
Nothing else had this at the time below £10000!

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/hardware/feat17.html
 
The RAM Music Machine!! I remember lusting after one of those things! You could edit waveforms like that thur Fairlight thing! ;o)
 
Stuff was better in the olden days. And can anybody ever get tired of the peeeeeeeeeeeeeoooowww sound?
 
I snagged a Moog Song Producer off of ebay a while back... but never messed with it. Maybe I'll dig out the 128 one of these days...

- Adam V.
http://adamv.com/
 
Already made 2 songs with these samples :~)

Now all I have to do is record them and send them to that company who records stuff on tape and send it back.
 
Does anyone have a sample they can post of the "peow" sound?
 
These aren't actually rare at all. I've seen them on Ebay dozens of times. I think that I got mine for $30 a few years back. I haven't used it yet (know how that feels?), but it is an amazing package. The thing that wouod make it even more amazing is if Moog had ever come out with the device mentioned in the manual; an analog sound module. How hip would that be?
 
Whoops. I was referring to the C64 Moog producer in my above post. I'm such an abysmal typist...
 
Ortho, if you give me your e-mail I can send you the peow sound. You can't live without it.

Actually you can, but it's boring. It's not like air, it's more like caffeine.
 
oh man, there used to be a program just like this for my beloved oric-1, and i've been on the hunt for it for years .. if anyone comes across it, please let me know (jayv@synth.net) ..
 
Hey I had a Specdrum too, but I'd completely forgotten about it. I remember writing a program to decode the wav files. Then I could see that it was just a bunch of numbers between -128 and 128 (if memory serves correctly).
I went on to write programs to modify the numbers in order to give me different sound backs.
For example I make all the positive numbers negative and vice versa. This created a small variation of the original sound.
That was in the days when geeks really were geeks of course !
 
An emulator called "Speculator" emulates the Specdrum, and you can download the samples from WoS. The peow sound is very good, a Kraftwerk-esque blip/thwip noise. The rest of it could quite possibly have been sampled from a Linndrum. The cowbell in one of the extra kits is called a "handcow", which amused me.
 
Oh, ah. I should have followed the link, I've just spent twenty minutes sampling the output of Speculator with Cooledit. Specdrum gives you eight drum samples but divides them into three channels; you can play kick, tom and hi-hat at the same time but not kick and snare. With a high tempo and persistence it should be possible to create complex loops but unless you're playing a Spectrum orchestra live there's no point, you'd be better off with the samples.
 
hi there

i am a musician and love to use drum machines and plugin synths for sonar cubase whatever but .... when actually coming down to writing pattern based material i.e on the beat drum programming you could not beat(get it ) specdrum for this i wrote many a song with my good friend in the mid 80's to the 90's with that. Now i have been recently getting in to programming again and i have been working on a specdrum emulator for the pc (No this is not actually emulating the spectrum or its hardware) i am using actual code and samples in this program also just working on the kit editor ideally its great for creating patterns on the fly or if you are a guitarist or keyboard player who wants a quick beat to play too then i have a program that can do this. thanks for listening Lee
 
Going on what ashley was saying yes specdrum could only handle 3 lines at at time my drum program handles 5 so you can have bass drum and snare at the same timelike on the specdrum you cant have hihat and clap at the same time with mine you can and mine has 10 sounds and you can save songs with the kit thats loaded at the time of writing. and the code is only wait for it (73k) the actual drumkits and the song files take up a lot each song when saved uses 640k with all sample data and song data and pattern data etc.... also with mine you can do volume and stereo pan of each sound and you can have 500 patterns instead of 255 if you need to see a copy of this give me a shout at wadfm@sympatico.ca cheers lee b
 
I have just found a specdrum in my loft along with a 128kb spectrum and RAM music machine MIDI ? Sampler :-)
 
We are in the process of selling the last of our Moog Song Producer and Commodore 64 parts and equipment. We have several manuals and main replacement boards of the Song producer as well as C4 items. Please let us know if you are still interested in any of these items.
wdunker@gmail.com
 
Post a Comment

<< Home
Music Thing on Twitter
    follow MT on Twitter

    Music Thing Hits:
    Music Thing Heroes:
    Music Thing Friends:
    My music gear for sale
    DIY Modular Synth
    Matrix Synth
    Create Digital Music
    Analog Industries
    Boing Boing Gadgets
    London Video Production
    Oddstrument
    Wire to the Ear
    Palm Sounds
    Noise Addicts
    Retro Thing
    Analogue Haven
    Music Thing Massive
    About Music Thing:
    Send tips to Music Thing
    About this site
    Music Thing Massive
    RSS Feeds


    Problem with the ads?
    Please let me know