Last weekend I picked up a really nice used drum machine called the Kawai R50 III. There is a standard R50 version and then another “e” version which had electronic drum sounds similar to Simmons drums. I had never seen an R50 version III ( Version 3 ) before but likely it means that the sample sound chip inside has just been replaced with either a newer or different one. I heard the “e” version was simply a swap in sound chips. The sound of the Kawai R50 III is actually very good, especially if you are going for that 80’s or early 90’s New Jack Swing sound. The samples are a bit Lo-Fi which I like very much and the R50 is pretty easy to program.
There is not a whole lot of info around the internet about the Kawai R50 although I do know that circuit benders like the drum machine for some reason or another. I bought it in excellent condition for $10 and thought for the price it was a fantastic little machine. It’s kind of cool pairing it up with my Kawai K4.
If I find any further information about what the version 3 means I’ll post it here in a follow-up. Perhaps it was only released in Japan. Stay tuned!
Here is a Youtube video of the presets found on the standard Kawai R50.