Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Korg DDM-110 (Digital Drum Machine)

This is a vintage 8-Bit Digital Drum Machine from 1985.
It was one of the early drums to use PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) samples. 
(It's brother & compliment drum was the Korg DDM 220 - this was a more Latin/organic sounding machine with sounds such as Conga, Timbale, Wood Block, & Agogo).
 
(The Linn LM-1 Drum Computer released in 1980 was the first drum machine to use digital samples. Only about 500 were ever made and they retailed for $5k).

Today we tend to look down on these kinds of sampled sounds. The current "fashion" is all analog. But back in 1985 PCM was really cutting edge and the 110 was relatively cheap. Today PCM is the standard form of digital audio in computers, Compact Discs & digital telephones.

 4 bit PCM - sampling & quantization (wikipedia).

In the above diagram a sine wave is sampled and quantized at regular intervals. The wave is reduced to a set of numbers. In this case : 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 15, 15, 14, 13, 12, etc etc.
The process of Pulse Code Modulation is usually carried out by a ADC (Analog to Digital Converter).

So the Korg DD110 is one of the worlds early & affordable Programmable Digital Drum Machines (also called the Korg Super Drums). For this reason I think it's very special.

The 10 buttons are from left to right: Accent, Bass (kick),  Snare, Rimshot, High Tom, L Tom, Closed High Hat, Open HH, Cymbals, Claps (Trig).

There is no midi. - only Korg DinSync. Though both Korg & Roland Din Sync look the same they aren't. Roland uses 24 PPQN (Pulses Per Quarter Note). Korg uses 48 PPQN.
If you are hooking it up with other Korg gear (like a DDM-220 or KPR-77) syncronization is a breeze.

But if this was hooked  up with for example a Roland TB 303, with the drum being the master, the 303 will run at twice the speed.

Anyway,the sounds are rather cheezy & Lo-Fi but I like them and because this drum uses samples of real drums rather than trying to synthesize them with analog circuitry they kinda sound realistic.
The tempo control is pretty basic. It would be nice if there was a proper BPM counter but you can't have everything.



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For more info on the history of Korg Drum Machines Click Here

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