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Musikmesse 2014 video: Akai unveils Rhythm Wolf drum machine and bass synth

MUSIKMESSE 2014: Following in the wake of the Korg Volcas and Roland's Aira range, Akai is the latest brand to get in on the vintage-inspired groovebox action with the announcement of the Rhythm Wolf - an analogue unit combining a five-voice drum machine and single-oscillator bass synth.

The drum machine section of the Rhythm Wolf comprises kick, snare, metallic percussion, and open and closed hi-hat sounds, all of which are tuneable. The bass synth, meanwhile, can be switched between saw and square waveshapes, and features a filter with resonance control and a basic envelope shaper. Akai describes Rhythm Wolf as having an "authentic analog design that references classic rhythm machines and synthesizers" - no prizes for guessing which instruments the company is alluding to.

The whole unit is built around a 32-step sequencer, and also features six MPC pads for live performance. There's also a 'Howl' distortion circuit for adding a bit of dirt to the sounds. Additionally, the Rhythm Wolf features a USB MIDI connection and has both MIDI and gate in and out ports, so can be triggered via a DAW or external hardware. It packs a swing control on its front panel, and the unit also appears to have a built-in preset bank.

Arguably the most interesting aspect of the Rhythm Wolf, however, is its price. At an estimated street price of $199, the unit comes in at slightly cheaper than the combined price of the Volca Beats and Bass, and cheaper than either the Roland TR-8 or TB-3.

The Rhythm Wolf is due to arrive summer 2014. Visit Akai Professional for more details.

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Rhythm Wolf highlights (from the official press release)

  • 5-voice analog drum machine and synth—authentic analog design that references classic rhythm machines and synthesizers
  • Legendary analog drum sounds—kick, snare, open & closed hi-hat, and metallic percussion
  • Synth-bass module—selectable square or sawtooth wave with classic filter design for warm, deep basses and squelchy leads.
  • Onboard 32-step sequencer—classic drum machine workflow for quickly laying down grooves and melodies
  • Six genuine MPC pads—responsive controls for sequencing and finger drumming
  • Howl knob—custom distortion circuit for additional sound design
  • USB-MIDI and MIDI In/Out—flexible MIDI connectivity for easy integration into modern studios
  • Gate Trigger—triggering via modular synths, vintage sequencers, or external sound sources
  • Independent audio outputs—dedicated outputs for the drum machine and synth-bass module for precise mixing

I'm Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. I've been messing around with music tech in various forms for over two decades. I've also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. Find me in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past my bedtime.