Date = 1967 & 1970

Country = Japan

Type = Analogue

Drum Voices = 10

Rhythms = 16 (Preset)

Rhythm Combining = Yes







FR-1 (1967)

The Ace Tone Rhythm Ace FR-1 has a secured place in drum machine history as the first transistorised machine to appear on the market in 1967. It managed to pip the Korg Mini Pops 7 at the post by a matter of months). The Rhythm Ace was the brainchild of Ikutaro Kakehashi, (founder of Ace Tone and later, Roland in 1972). With this in mind, it is fairly safe to draw the conclusion that the FR-1 was effectively the first of the Roland TR (Transistorised Rhythm) series of drum machines.







The FR-1 effectively revolutionised the industry because prior to this, what few drum machines there were, ran on valves and before that, via a mechanical disc system. Transistors must have been the "new thing" back then because the components are even listed in the specifications... Transistors x 38 and diodes x 107!!!

Here's a short extract from the owners manual: "Hitherto, percussive sounds were produced mechanically through usage of rotary disc, etc. and since the operation was dependent almost entirely on its mechanical make-up, defects caused by mechanical malfunction was by far the biggest drawback. To overcome such drawbacks, our revolutionary "RHYTHM ACE" Full Auto has been developed on new principles... a non-mechanical solid state electronic brain incorporating modern precision manufactured transistors"...







So why are there two models on this page? Well the FR-2L is basically the same machine, released 3 years later in a slim-line organ-top enclosure. The only difference is that the FR-1 has voice cancelling buttons for Cymbal, Clave, Cowbell and Bass Drum, whereas the FR-2L can only mute the Cymbal, Clave and Snare. All other controls and the rhythms are identical except that they appear in reverse order on the 2L.













So what about the sound? As it would appear, the first Rhythm Aces were about as good as it was going to get. The tones are gorgeous and full sounding and are as good as any other analogue CR/TR to be honest (if not fatter than some). The Dubsounds machine, (FR-2L) has one of the cleanest signal paths of any machine of this age and is relatively free from background noise and distortion. The rhythms on this machine are somewhat unique. Even old favourites like Cha-Cha and Rhumba appear here with strange twists. The Foxtrot here actually swings and isn't many miles off "Tainted Love". With the voice cancelling controls, the patterns can be extended and combined in many interesting ways (as they encourage in the manual).







It would appear that the FR-1 was the first drum machine to be used on a pop record. How's that for trivia? The Ace Tone's "Slow Rock" rhythm provides the backing for Robin Gibb's "Saved By The Bell" from the summer of 1969. It would be another two years before Sly Stone's Maestro Rhythm King changed public perception of drum machines forever, (particularly in the disco). In retrospect, Robin Gibb's song might be a bit of a ropey old ballad but it will remain significant as far as technological claims to fame go!







Sample Pack Info:











Recycle RX2 Loops:

Single drum hits (WAV):

This sample set contains 67 four bar loops of all the preset rhythms, plus breakdown mixes using the voice cancelling controls. 20 of the loops are made from combinations of patterns running together.

There are no individual drum hits included in this sample pack at the moment but individual sounds can easily be extracted from the RX2 loops.







What's so special about these sample packs? Quite simply, there isn't anywhere on the internet or in any commercial sample library where you can get this stuff. We made these samples because nobody else has.







All Dubsounds sample packs are sampled directly from our own drum machines. They are definitely NOT ripped from sample CD's, unlike many you see on Ebay at the moment, (which is a bit sad). All the rhythms are recorded directly into Pro-Tools from the machine's audio output and are not equalised, compressed or effected in any way. We want you to have the closest thing to the real machine as possible but with the added benefits of seamless integration into your VST host. The only thing we have done is to CAREFULLY remove any unwanted electrical noise and hum present in the signal, (if required) and taking extreme care to avoid damaging the delicate percussive transients. These samples were made for our own use first and foremost!







FR-1 / FR-2L - Rhythm Ace - 67 Loops - (28Mb download)








Please note:

Before buying; please make sure that you have read the information on the drum sounds intro page