Thursday Gear Review: Univox SR-95

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According to a tech forum online, the service manual lists the Univox SR-95’s manufacture date as 1973.  Visually, its vintageness is indicated by its sweet wood siding and super simple layout, not to mention the rubbed-off labels on the surface of the machine.

The SR-95 is analog beat box making at its purest and simplest – press a few buttons, move a few faders, and presto… your own beat, mixed and ready to go!  Such a relief, compared to the option paralysis we now face with our mega deluxe amount of choices in this highly complicated technological age.

Although it was originally designed for using one rhythm function at a time, musicians quickly realized that by engaging multiple buttons simultaneously, they could build unique, customized beats!  Both, mega stars and DIYers used, and continue to use, this machine.  As for mega production uses, composers like Jean-Michel Jarre used the Univox in his Yanni-style new agey symphonies like Oxygen 2.  DIYers gone bigtimers like R.E.M. also partook in the delights of the Univox; if you listen closely on Everybody Hurts, you’ll hear the Quijada fills!  As for way cool No Wavers of the 70’s, Martin Rev used this simple beauty in his rig, to complete the influential electronic duo Suicide.

So the Univox SR-95 is a simply designed vintage drum machine that has made its mark in our musical consciousness.  Scouring Ebay and other online vintage gear resources, I found that the SR-95 can still make quite a dent in your pocketbook; so, it’s still a device in high demand that continues to rear its beautiful head in our musical culture.

 

Aimee Norwich is a musician, composer and producer.  For more info, please visit www.aimeenorwich.com

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