The Rokton Drum Machine, AKA ‘The Soviet 808’

In his latest video, synthesist Hainbach takes a look at a rare Soviet drum machine, the Formanta UDM, aka the Rokton.

Hainbach tells a little history of this unusual device, explains why it’s built like a tank, shows how it’s still great for making electro beats and explains why it’s sometimes called ‘The Soviet 808’.

Video Summary:

“When I first saw the Formanta UDM, also know as Rokton, I was intrigued – a Simmons-like drum synthesizer with cheesy preset rhythms? Add to that the typical Soviet “they make tanks here too” look and I knew I had to explore it. I was surprised by how bleepy and klonky it sounded once I turned of the preset drums. It has the energy of early Warp and Rephlex records, with a dusty and dry tone that yet goes low. The integrated rhythms became suddenly amazing, as I programmed the sounds to be different. I never heard a tango like that from a preset.

Sadly, I could not learn much about the history of this machine. There are just a few pages on it out there, so I hope this video can be start for more information. For me, I set the goal to visit all the Soviet production sites, once the world is traversable again, and find out more. Drop any info you have below, I am very curious to learn more and apologize for any factual errors I might have made.”

4 thoughts on “The Rokton Drum Machine, AKA ‘The Soviet 808’

  1. Formanta still producing synths, like New version of polivox.
    Maybe they gonna make some mk2 version of this forgotten beast? ?

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