MFB reboots the 301, a German analogue drum computer from 1979

  • Share
  • The MFB-301-Pro is a modern remake of the primitive German machine.
  • MFB reboots the 301, a German analogue drum computer from 1979 image
  • Berlin-based instrument manufacturer MFB is making a modern version of the MFB-301. Originally released in 1979, the MFB-301 was a preset drum computer whose low cost made it a popular choice for DIY musicians in designer Manfred Fricke's home country of Germany. Like Roland's CR-78 released a year prior, the MFB-301 came with pre-programmed rhythms based on specific genres, such as disco, reggae and bossa nova, which could be chosen by a set of five switches. It offered no means to synchronise with other gear and, like the early Serge modular synthesisers, the kit version had a paper faceplate, which helped keep costs low (around 175 Deutsche Marks according to Amazona). To celebrate its 40th anniversary MFB is offering a limited run of a modern version of the 301, which it has dubbed the MFB-301-Pro. The new model has eight analogue drum and percussion sounds generated by refined versions of the original circuits and a 16-step sequencer for programming your own rhythms. Each instrument has three parameters, such as decay, level and tune, that can be programmed per-step or controlled in real-time with MIDI messages. 108 patterns and 36 songs can be saved, plus there's swing, a stereo output and power via USB. It will be available soon directly from MFB for €149. Watch a brief demo of the MFB-301-Pro.