What Is This Thing? The ACKS Firstman Newport FR-25 Auto-Rhythm Edition


Reader Craig Padilla knows his synths inside and out. He’s got twenty+ years experience creating electronic soundtracks and soundscapes, and an extensive discography of ambient albums.

But when it comes to his ACKS Newport Firstman Auto-Rhythm FR-25 drum machine, all he know is that it has “a HUGE BEEFY bass drum sound” and that its’ “analog all the way’.

What is this thing?

He looked online, and came up empty handed. But he thought maybe one of the readers of Synthtopia might know something about the ACKS Newport Firstman Auto-Rhythm FR-25 drum machine.

Like why this thing has such a long name. Or what ACKS stands for. Or why it’s got that ‘huge beefy bass drum sound’ and yet nobody’s sampled it.

Or, most importantly, why it has a ‘Limshot’ control:


If you know anything about the ACKS Newport Firstman Auto-Rhythm FR-25 drum machine, or the story behind the ‘Limshot’ control, leave a comment!


9 thoughts on “What Is This Thing? The ACKS Firstman Newport FR-25 Auto-Rhythm Edition

  1. I’m far from an expert, but it seriously looks one of the really old rythymace units that people used for organs. Maybe a regional rebranding

  2. If I had to guess it is a Japanese or Chinese clone of the Hammond Auto-Rhythm. Not uncommon during the heyday of home organs. When I was living in Fukuoka there was a shop that sold tons of old units like these. Saw Optigan and Orchestron clones there but I can’t remember their exact names.

  3. Yeah, someone in Japan or China asked the smartypants American how to spell rimshot, and he replied. I saw a Piano manual with a diagram showing how to screw in the legs. Yep! It said the F word. I am told two manuals made it to the U.S. before it was pulled. Still makes me happy just thinking about it.

  4. I do own one of these, and it have “limshot” too – I suspect Alien André got it right : japanese knockoff of something – produced by “Fuji Electronic Sound Mfg Co Ltd”.
    Got mine from an old couple in Quebec City who sold me a Hammond S-100 chord organ (such a cool sounding thing!)
    My sustain knob seems to have no effect though…and the output is rather low, even on low impedance output.
    Might be willing to sell it, btw

  5. That is awesome, it looks like an AceTone RhythmAce FR-2L and the Hammond FR-2D but this is flipped around for the sound cancel buttons to be on the left, as if they just flipped the circuit boards inside upside down so it wouldn’t be too obvious a ripoff.

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