Synth Site: Kawai: R50: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.5 out of 5
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Poor John a part-timer user from USA writes:
Rest assured, the R-50e is not the greatest drum machine.

On its own, it just doesn't cut it.

-the sounds are noisy and dull for the most part. -the pads are not touch sensitive. -switching between record and play requires stopping the machine. -initial programming is confusing and frustrating. -only 50 user patterns. -limited memory-- even with the "e" memory expansion, there ain't much.

BUT!!!

I've developed a system which allows this machine to sound somewhat decent.

Necessity is the mother etc. It's my only drum machine for now.

Setup:

1. Set the manual pan ON. All Kick drums & Toms to the left. All Snares and misc. on the right. Assign the Closed hihat to the indiv. channel. Run the three outs to separate mixer channels (I've got a little 8 channel mixer without any pans, sends, or eqs-- just a volume knob for each track and it works fine). Run each channel through an effect pedal. My setup is: Kick goes through RAT distortion, Snare/etc. goes through Zoom 505 with lots of creative programming, Closed hh through Morley wah. 2. Set MIDI SYNC to EXT if you want to slave the drum machine to another sequencer. Set up MIDI CH. to correspond to a track on your sequencer. 3. Set up a keyboard map in the MIDI IN "window". Use the USER PADs to design interesting sounds. Be sure to have a pad corresponding to each key, to ease in editing (otherwise you'll have to spend a lot of time hunting down the sound you want to erase, later on). There are a lot of possibities with the USER PADS. One example is: assign the same sound to the bottom four pads, first pad low volume, second pad a couple steps up, third a few more up, fourth at max. Viola! Instant dynamics! Use it for that 32nd note snare swell! One more thing: you **can** get a lot of different sounds out of this thing. Try different tunings, the "flange" and "delay" settings, etc. and you might surprise yourself! 4. Program the patterns around the notion of a 5x10 matrix, 00 the bottom left corner, 49 the top right. Adjacent to any given pattern, add 10 for up 1, subtract 10 for down 1, add 1 for right one, subtract 1 for left 1 (say that again? ;>) This will allow you to switch patterns in PATTERN PLAY mode and have up to 4 patterns immediately adjacent at any given point by using the arrow buttons! Very nice for live improv.

So what's the point of all this? Well, it might seem like a lot of work to use a mediocre drum machine... but it's worth it, I tell you! Build single or two bar patterns. Experiment with the various effects. Fade in and out the separate channels. Bring the tempo way up or way down, and try various new combinations. You'd be surprised what you can do with one pattern alone.

For a rating, I'd say the R-50e is a 2 at best without some special preps. With my system, I'd give it a 4.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Nov-17-1998 at 13:56
James a 0 user from US writes:
I got one of these and i like it. Its got some good sounds and it sounds like most other drum machines. Its fairly easy to use once you get used to the buttons. I got mine for about $80 used. Im glad I bought it though. Im not a professional or anything I just mess with it in my spare time so I dont really know how it compares to other drum machines. Except for the few I have used. The pads are easy to assign the drums to. It has 24 drum sounds. As far as I know its got a good size of memory to store drum patterns with. There are 100 patterns that can be stored. the first 50(00-49) are for the user. The last 50 are pre-set. There are 8 different user settings for the drum pads. There are 12 in all. 4 are pre-set. No. 1 is the best pre-set.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:41
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