The Rhythm 12, EH's Rebranded Drum Machine

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The Rhythm 12, EH's Rebranded Drum Machine

In The Different Drummer, Part 1 we briefly looked at EH's first drum machine offering, the Rhythm 12.  Here's a more in-depth look at this odd little drum machine.

 

The Rhythm 12 was actually made by Soundtech, a company in England, and relabeled for EH. They were available in the late 70's. At around the same time EH had released the DRM series of drum machines so the question is: why did they need to rebrand another company's unit when they had their own?  With a list price of $189 for the DRM-15 and $269 for the DRM-32, it may have been a cheaper alternative that was offered or was available only for the short period until the DRM series was released.  This is possible since I've been unable to locate a price sheet or catalog that lists both the DRMs and the Rhythm 12.

I've picked up another Rhythm 12 and was surprised to find that it was slightly different from the other one in my collection. In the full pics, you can see that they're basically the same.

 

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The upper left panels show the most obvious differences. The first unit has the "Electro-Harmonix Made In England" sticker and DISCO for the 3rd setting. On the 2nd unit, Electro-Harmonix is screen-printed on the unit and the 3rd setting is WALTZ 2 while WALTZ becomes WALTZ 1. The screen printing is also a little sloppier on the relabeled unit than the EH unit.  There are also units that have the "Electro-Harmonix" screenprint but still have the DISCO setting.

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On the circuit boards, another oddity is found. The first unit actually says "EH" on the board while the 2nd unit says "S Tech". Which was first? I'd be more inclined to say that the EH sticker unit was first simply because of the sticker. It's also possible that the Soundtech company was distributing the box under their own name in England at the same time and, in order to get a shipment out to EH, slapped a new sticker on the front of some of their units. It doesn't explain the circuit boards, though or the change in setting 3. I doubt we'll ever know for sure. Maybe someone in England can help shed some light on this mystery?

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