MATRIXSYNTH: MPC ELECTRONICS MPC-1 MUSIC PERCUSSION COMPUTER

Dave Smith Instruments
EBAY: US | UK | AU

Sunday, April 23, 2017

MPC ELECTRONICS MPC-1 MUSIC PERCUSSION COMPUTER


via this auction

"Superb analogue drum machine dating from c1983. In excellent condition and working order following an extensive professional service.

These are uncommon in any condition, but this only the second example we've seen that works as it should. It's a ground-breaking historic analogue drum synth with onboard sequencer, designed to link up with either a Sinclair ZX81 (UK) or Timex 1000 (USA) personal computer to provide computer-programmed beats for the first time ever.

This example is in excellent condition - it has a few minor scuffs and dings as you would expect but it is looking great for its age.

Functionally it's in great working condition and it's wonderful to finally be able to program one of these machines - we've had several over the years, but most fail to retain programmed sequences for more than a bar or two before crashing. We must add the caveat that as this machine is based on ancient computer technology, we can only offer limited guarantees as to its future operating state: it works now, but we can't offer any extended warranty beyond a guarantee that it will arrive in working order: if there is any problem at all on delivery, please email us immediately.

Capable of a range of quality analogue drum synth sounds and, being one of the less-common and seldom-used drum synths, it immediately has an appeal if you're looking to stand out from the crowd.

This English drum synth/computer, designed in 1981 by Clive Button and launched to great acclaim a year or so later, was revolutionary but alas very short-lived; there are few surviving examples to be found in any state, let alone good working order. Originally used by Depeche Mode, the MPC-1 failed to replicate their successes and hit the big time and sank without trace, unlike its later namesake - Roger Linn's famed MPC series (no connection). It has an 8 bit processor and a massive 4kb of onboard memory to store programmed beats - these can be loaded/dumped via the tape in/out interface (not tested).

In the past, I've heard them likened to an 808 sonically and it certainly has some low end heft, but I think its appeal is that it isn't an 808 - it's a great-sounding analogue drum synth in its own right, and a less-used one at that. It has a unique physical presence and serious wow-factor. Individual outs also make it very tweakable mix-wise, as do the various onboard tweaks for individual sounds.

It comes in its original custom flightcase with leather handle which is in very good order, though the foam in the lid has degraded - it's been removed but there is residue still coming off in the case. The case has a stand mount in the base for mounting on a mic/drum stand (not included). The drum pads all work fine, and all rotary pots are functioning well: the mix out and individual outputs all pass signals as expected.

It's a 240v machine. It will require a step-up transformer for use on 110/120v supplies; we definitely recommend avoiding using a cheap, generic transformer with this - after the work it is taken to get it working we'd hate to hear of it getting fried.

From the original US ad:

'MPC Electronic Drums. the MPC (Music Percussion Computer) interfaces with a Timex-Sinclair 1000 computer and links up with any TV set to read out a graphic display of the rhythms programmed.

The MPC master module consists of eight touch-sensitive pads of ABS plastic, which you can play with your hands or with sticks. Each pad is spring-based to simulate real drum heads. the pad arrangement has two options - bass drum, snare, open hi-hat, closed hi-hat, and four descending toms, or bass drum, snare, open hi-hat, closed hi-hat, two toms, cymbals, and a handclap.

All the voicings have individual level and tone controls, with an over-all mute button for dynamics. there is a 16-key on-board computer processor to record, play back, control tempo, bar length, and time signatures, program sequences, and add accents where needed.

The performer may also play along with the sequence as it plays back. All programming is done in real time. Once link-up to the Timex Sinclair has been made, more complex programming and storage is available. While the on-board computer sustains four channels of 2-bar groups with up to 16 beats per bar, access to the T-1000 opens up 26 different bars of rhythm, each containing up to 20 beats.

Both systems can arrange their bars into sequences to play back songs with up to 199 variations and infinite repeat capability. A tape sync input/output allows for loading and dumping of programming and synchronization with pre-recorded tracks.

Measurements are 25-1/4"x7"x13-1/4", and weight is approximately 20 lbs. Price is $1,299.00. The software interface is $129.00'"

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