Movement MCS Drum Computer

Movement MCS Drum Computer Image

The Drum Computer (or Percussion Computer) from Movement Computer Systems is a very rare British made drum machine circa 1981. It is estimated that only 30 or so units were produced. It combines analog synthesized drum sounds (Simmons style) and digital 8-bit sampled drum sounds (LinnDrum style). There are seven voice cards, each with two drum voices, for a total of 14 drum voices. Each drum voice can be switched between either the analog (syn) or digital (real) mode and has its own Volume and Pitch-Sustain control knobs.

Its most obvious and unique feature is the computer-like interface. It is used to facilitate graphic editing of the sequencing of drum patterns, with data displayed on a monochrome CRT display (video can be output to an external monitor via connections on the rear). Sequenced patterns can be chained together into Songs. It does not offer graphic drum sample editing or synthesis. New drum sounds can not be sampled in to it either as it does not appear to have audio inputs. It does, however, have extensive outputs including stereo out, individual outputs for each voice, individual Trigger inputs and outputs for each voice, Drum sync in and out, clock output, and cassette in and out for saving data to tape.

Two models are known to exist: the MK1 which may have been a two-piece unit in which the monitor was separate from the rest of the machine, and the MK2 (released in 1983) which integrated the CRT monitor and had an orange (or black) case. In 1984, the MIDI specification was added to the MK2, along with an additional 8-track sequencer, battery backed memory and a floppy disk drive.

Its most prominent user was David Stewart of the Eurythmics on tracks such as "Sweet Dreams". However, it never sounded as good as the competition surrounding it from Linn, Simmons and Oberheim and the product never really took off. It has been owned/used by The Eurythmics, Phil Collins, The Thompson Twins, Human League, Thomas Dolby, Kajagoogoo, Japan, Willian Orbit, Chemical Brothers and Vince Clarke. Supposedly, some of these artists used the same machine as it passed from one group to the next.

Lookup Movement MCS Drum Computer Prices

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10 Visitor comments
Gerry
June 4, 2013 @ 1:20 am
You can see some extensive footage of a Movement MCS Drum Computer in the link below. (Genesis - Making the Mama Album)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr2wm5Kf4HA&feature=B%C2%ADFa&lis t=PL4672E8BD36299C39
elgauchoandres
March 30, 2013 @ 6:49 pm
@big chris Actually MCS also had a (very primitive) sampler called MIMIC, probably 5 (or less I think) were built around 1983, the only one seen recently on the web was the prototype and was not working.
visceralvoids
February 19, 2013 @ 4:53 pm
Nice to see this gem up on the site. This was the drum machine used by Mick Karn on the "Titles" album.
dgl
February 6, 2013 @ 2:19 pm
Dave stewarts machine was purchased by and now resides in vince clarkes' studio
big chris
February 5, 2013 @ 10:25 am
@matt - Dave Stewart sold his MCS via a small ad back in the 1990s. The one in the picture on this page was up for auction on eBay a couple of months ago, with a Buy It Now price of 2500 GBP. It didn't sell, but I was sorely tempted to buy it despite the monitor not working (the seller had a picture of it working via an external screen connected to the TV out socket).
 
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 14 voices
  • Oscillators - One per voice
  • Samples - 8-bit digital samples
  • Envelope - Sustain
  • Effects - Accent
  • Sequencer - Yes
  • Keyboard - 14 Trigger Keys, QWERTY Keyboard
  • Memory - Yes
  • Control - Drum Sync and Tigger inputs and outputs, MIDI In/Out/Thru (later models)
  • Date Produced - 1981 (MK1), 1983 (MK2)

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