The Yamaha ED10 is a very affordable and accessible way to add some analog flavor to your recordings and live performances. The ED10 consists of a sizable, velocity sensitive rubber pad and a small built-in synthesizer.
It creates drum sounds using a real analog VCO (with a large pitch range), a noise source and a "sub-sonic" oscillator, which adds a ring mod-like effect to the sound. These three sound sources are then shaped with a pitch envelope, an amplitude envelope and a non-resonant low-pass filter. You have lots of control over all of these functions using the machine's ten knobs, which can also affect the filter-env modulation or add a "click" to your sound to make it more percussive. One important thing to mention is that the envelopes are velocity sensitive, giving you lots of expressive potential.
This drum pad came from a range that included different mixers and racks so you could build a complete electronic drum kit! Useful features like the "mix audio input" (which adds external signals to the drum's output) and the daisy chain-able power supply, seem to reflect this modular form factor.
Not much of a drummer? No worries! You can trigger the ED10 using audio! Simply send a rim shot from your DAW into the ED10's trigger input, and it will happily play along with your project! It will respond to velocity too (i.e.: quieter or louder impulses) and is almost as good as MIDI! It also triggers nicely from another drum machine.
The sounds on this unit are sheer analog bliss: Punchy synth-pop snares, cheesy disco tom toms, sharp analog hi-hats and many more classic sounds. By triggering the unit externally and messing with the knobs, you can even get some rather experimental crazy sci-fi sounds out of it!
They're pretty cheap on eBay, so why not pick up one or two?
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Images and Review by Alex Juno
Reviewed January 2012