Time machine: MXR 185 Vintage Drum Machine 1983
The MXR 185 is a great American drum machine from 1983. It has individual outputs for drumsounds. The crispy 8-bit samples sound great. The built in sequencer has a “tight” groove, it grooves like hell!
Know more about the MXR 185 Drum synth:
MXR were major innovators during the ’70s with their ground breaking effects pedals such as the Phase 100 phase shifter that defined the beautiful, swirling guitar and electric piano sounds of the decade.
They also produced distortion pedals, sustain pedals and more…. products that set the standard for stomp boxes even today.
They also introduced us to the idea of a pitch shifters and harmonisers (not be confused with today’s pitch correction devices).
Their products weren’t cheap but they exuded quality and had a great sound and an MXR Phase 100 pedal is probably now worth more than it originally sold for!
However, as technology progressed, MXR’s fortunes began to dwindle. Looking for ideas to generate revenue, MXR couldn’t resist the lure of the growing (and lucrative) drum machine market. Linn and Emu had been seen to be very successful with their products and, technically, the concept wasn’t exactly rocket science at the time…. a programmable sequencer that issued triggers to fire off crude 8-bit drum samples stored in ROM chips! Nowadays, this might be a course project for a college engineering student! And so in the mid 80s, they released their MXR 185 Drum Computer.
On the surface, it looked great. Twelve ‘real’ drum sounds each with their own pad at an affordable price. None of the pads were velocity sensitive – you needed to use the ACCENT button for dynamics (but this was typical for the time). However, each sound also had its own individual output and level slider. Whereas the Emu Drumulator compromised in these areas, the MXR was more like a Linn in terms of dedicated pads and controls.
The MXR 185 also had some interesting innovations in the user interface.