Hello! I'm Ben Terry.
Welcome to the Rehearsal Space!

This is the Rehearsal Space. It's where I will talk about playing and making music, music gear, and all of that fun stuff. I'll start in with going over some of the gear I've accumulated over the years.

Akai MPC 2000

Calling itself a "MIDI Production Center", the MPC 2000 can act as a sequencer, recording all of your keyboards and playing them back, but it also is a sampler. You can load in or record sounds that you can then play back on the 16 pads. The Akai MPCs are known for being hip hop machines. I think this originally came with 2MB of RAM, which I updated back in the day to 32MB using old school SIMMs. While the original also came with a 3.5" floppy drive, I've swapped that out for a virtual floppy drive that takes formatted USB sticks. Like most of my gear, I have used this shamefully little, but I do have it hooked up and primarily fiddle around with using it for recording the MIDI of my other gear more than using it for the sampling hip-hop style workflow it is more commonly associated with these days.

Akai XR20

This is just a rather basic drum machine that is a bit like the Alesis SR-18, but with a focus on hip-hop sounds. In addition to the drums, it also has a bass part I'm not super fond of. The drum sounds are good though.

Alesis HR-16

This is what I'd consider a pretty classic drum machine. It was used by a variety of artists, from early Godflesh to Smashing Pumpkins' "1979", and I like its whole vibe.

Alesis SR-18

This is a pretty boring drum machine that also has a bass track. It is a follow-up to the SR-16. While many consider the SR-16 pretty boring, it was used on a number of tracks. Not so sure about this machine though...

Behringer RD-6

The Behringer RD-6 is a faithful clone of the Roland TR-606 drum machine. The TR-606 was used by a number of groups, including Big Black.

Boss DR-5

This thing is great. It has a drum track and 3 other tracks that can be programed with chords, bass or whatever using the mediocre on-board sounds. It's best feature is ease of use, I think. The MIDI out can be used to trigger other instruments if you want to supplement the weak on-board instrument sounds. The drums are straight up ace though. You can also create custom kits.

Boss DR-202

A great, gritty, low-fi drum machine that also has a bass part and can record another MIDI track to trigger external gear. It was released with the Boss SP-202 sampler, and so presumably it was assumed the extra track would be used to trigger it. Has sounds good for hip-hop, trip-hop and jungle, among other sounds. Also, each of the instruments can be filtered and muted on the fly if desired, giving it a certain usable flexibility.

Boss DR-550 mkII

Towards the end of High School I had the original version of this thing as my original drum machine, and the mkII is the exact same, aside from adding more sounds. I'd consider it maybe akin to a Boss version of the Alesis SR-16 maybe? Not exactly... Anyways, it is clean and simple and does the job. I made 1 track with this thing back in the day, and it was fun.

Korg EMX1

It's a groove box. In addition to the drums (which are great), it has 5 monophonic synth parts that can be programmed. It really leans "electronic music" with the synth. I love the drums, as it has a nice variety of them, including a pretty complete set of Linn Drum sounds, among the regular set of sounds you usually get. Also, the muting and unmuting stuff makes this thing pretty usable in a live way.

Roland MC-303

The original device to be given the "Groovebox" name, it's... OK. For some reason I find it difficult to just hop in and use this compared to other machines.

Roland MC-505

The follow-up to the MC-303, the MC-505 was used by a couple known folks, such as M.I.A. and Peaches.

Roland SP-404 mkII

It is the most recent revision/improvement of the SP-404. The original gained some fame for its use by... low-fi hip-hop guys? There is a certain kind of sloppy low-fi style that I associate with a certain era of "Adult Swim", J Dilla, MF Doom, Madlib and so on. Oh, it's a sampler you can make beats on.

Roland SP-555

This thing was a step up from the SP-404 sampler. It has more pads than the SP-404, a variety of other improvements. The SP-404 mkII exceeds this device nowadays, however. Animal Collective used one, and it has shown up here and there.

Roland TR-707

One of the classics, the TR-707 doesn't get the love of other Roland drum machines, such as the 808, 909, or even 606, probably because it is entirely sample based rather than being analog. Regardless, I love the sound of the thing. Very '80s in a good way. Also, the individual outs, the way is can sync to pulse, etc. It is a flexible workhorse that is easy to use. A couple classic songs it is used in include INXS's "Need You Tonight" and Michael McDonald's "Sweet Freedom".


Gear stuff.