The Akai XR10 is packed into a rather hefty 1. The LCD is capable of displaying 16 characters across two lines, but unfortunately it is not back-lit. The bottom half of the XR10 is dedicated to a number of rubber pads that can be used for switching modes, accessing the editing features and triggering sounds. Unfortunately, none of the pads are dynamic, but you can easily cycle through the Pad Banks with the dedicated button.
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Previous article in this issue: MIDI sound kits can be triggered using Midi interface, however implementation is rather basic and offers only a control on velocity sytem. There are significant advantages to creating rhythm parts in a MIDI sequencer as opposed to a drum machine, and significant advantages to being able to draw on your own library of sampled drum sounds as opposed to a akkai of sounds provided for you by a manufacturer.
The variations, which are the main rhythms, are each two bars long, but you can get the XR10 to play either the first or the second bar by holding down the Timing Correct maanual and tapping the relevant Variation pad first bar or Fill-in pad second bar.
It turns out that the XR10 counts up the notes as it plays through a pattern, including any notes which are being recorded at the time, and when it reaches the mark not only does it refuse to play any more notes but it also wipes out any notes which exist from that point on in the pattern. Experimentation is the name of the game — not to mention fun.
The intro, break, fill-in and end rhythms are each one bar long. Whereas the variations always start playing from the beginning of a bar, you can drop in a fill-in or break rhythm from any crotchet in the bar. Now, what if I said to you that you could run out of memory while recording a pattern even if you had plenty of memory left?
Each User pattern can be assigned its own tempo bpm. When the pattern is Stopped you can use the Erase pad to erase the entire pattern, but not, unlike on some drum machines, an individual instrument part. Sound parameters are associated with the Sound rather than the pad, so editing a Sound will affect all the patterns in which it occurs, both Preset and User. Not that Akai have ignored the drum machine.
Akai XR10 Operator's Manual
AKAI XR10 MANUAL PDF
Akai XR10 Manuals