Casio's RZ-1 came out in 1986 and in its time, it was pretty good. It has 12 PCM sampled drum sounds - basic sounds, and nothing to get excited about either. They included 3 toms, kick, snare, rim, open/closed hh, ride, crash, cowbell and clap. They don't sound like real drums, but they do sound electronic and maybe a little different than more common Roland and Linn drum machines. They have been used in lots of Hip Hop and House tracks.
A real special feature (for its time) was on-board sampling designed to let you create up to four of your own percussion sounds. Now, the sampling specs are pretty bad with just a 20kHz sample rate and only 0.2 seconds of sample time per each of the four sample pads (or one 0.8 second sample). Its a very lo-fi sound, which may be a good thing. The only editing you can do with your samples is a simple low-pass tone adjust.
The built-in sequencer is fairly easy to work with. Just create some patterns (up to 100) and chain these patterns into songs (up to 20 songs). There are ten individual outputs and volume sliders for every sound. Well, some sounds have to share outputs and sliders as there are 16 sounds: Rim+Snare, Sample1+Sample2, Sample3+Sample4, Cowbell+Crash, Clap+Ride and Open+Closed HH. Kind of cool and a little different but certainly nothing to fall in love with here. It's been used by Prince Paul, Autechre, Steve Poindexter, DJ Mike Smooth, Raw Dope Posse, Christian Vogel and lots more.
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Images from MIMOID MUSIC STUDIO
Reviewed November 2007.