I Found a rather in depth German article about the Dynacord ADD One drum synth / sampler.  I figured I would pop it up here in English.  These look really nice and well thought out and supposedly sound great too ( analog VCF and VCA per voie )!
Dynacord ADD one & ADD-drive

Dynacord ADD one & ADD-drive

The Dynacord ADD-one and his little helpers ADD-drive are certainly one of the few vintage equipment, which are a real find today. Both take geemeinsam Rack 5 height units to complete, and finally eight (8!) To be able to fire off samples. The complete package of two costs $ 1987 9.300 DM A steep price, the only professionals could afford at that time. There are around 1,200 euros, which you pay today for the set, almost be described as cheap.But what is the appeal of this rack monster? The answer lies hidden inside the device and reads as so often: “The complete and extensive analog synthesis, with the samples – more than in any comparable drum samplers that time – can be bent beyond recognition.

The following article was originally written by the former AMAZONA.de author January Wollnik and now due to our new series “DOC ANALOG” (see link attached) completely revised and expanded by Peter Grandl. But be careful in reading the “want to have absolutely factor” is not to be underestimated!

The main unit with analog sound generation ADD-One


The ADD-one was from June 1985 to February 1986 from a collaboration of Straubinger company Dynacord with the American designer team Fast Forward design. The designer wrought in Los Angeles was founded by Marcus Ryle, Michael Doidic (both previously with Oberheim and today Line6) and Carol Nakahara. From this come from products such as the Alesis ADAT and QuadraSynth, Digidesign Sample Cell, Dynacord ADS and ADS-K and other more. Ryle is particularly known for his work for Oberheim. He wrote, for example, the Marix-12 and Xpander. Even legends like Jean-Michel Jarre use the ADD-one.

Dynacord ADD-drive

In 1987 he moved ADD-drive, which was delivered with a RAM board. Thus, the ADD-one has an external analog-to-digital input jack or XLR in and a 3.5 “floppy drive to the external sample storage. Without this RAM board the ADD-one can be upgraded with up to three sample ROM boards.

From today’s perspective is certainly the one with the ADD ADD Drive recommendable as an ADD One with additional boards. If you’re lucky and the drive still gets a Library, which is fortunate, because at that time the drum community was already well organized and engaged in a lively exchange of sounds. Important: ADD a One retrofit with an ADD Drive is not readily possible, plus there always has need of internal memory blocks for the ADD One.


Striking about the ADD-one are the eight knobs below the 80-character LCD display (see Figure Front). It seems likely that this is the input tools after analogous manner. And you guessed it: Click this can all editable parameters of a sample clearly on four screens (see Figure Edit Pages) are processed


Optionally, can be one and the same parameters for all eight channels (Show align to eg the volume or panorama of all the drum sounds) or you can edit only one of the eight channels, but then for example, all filters or LFO parameters on a display page at the same time in access.

Live editing is possible at any time, as long as you do not overload the internal processor.Here and there, but bend the filter and bring the response to whistle, but made dar. in the test no problem

The trigger buttons in addition to the sensitivity control for the carrier inputs

Thanks to this 8 small buttons to edit the device is almost a no-brainer. Did you get used to at times the menu items, you get pretty fast on all parameters.

In addition, the trigger sensitivity controllers were housed. This set the threshold for triggering a sound in the ADD-one. The eight trigger inputs on the back of the ADD-one make this it the perfect 80s Syn Drum Machine.

On the right side of the display the buttons for all the menu functions are placed. Here you can edit the pages through stitch (see fig Edit Pages).

The buttons for the main menu

This naturally includes the main edit pages, such as sample selection and the three levels of edit sounds. As next you will find there the button for save, copy, MIDI settings and now less meaningful actions such as “chain” (important for live, similar to the program change today). The largest pot is intended for select programs.

Even a help function provides the ADD-one – conceptually ahead of its time. White not you, you press the HELP button and we explained the selected feature one (in English) in plain text. Practically.

Back of the ADD-one

The latter can be played back via toggle switch to the sum or used as direct outs. Of course, finds himself back the MIDI connectors Trio, and I go out of it, after many trials, that the ADD-one no SysEx message is understood. A pity really. Furthermore you can find on the rear panel connections for the ADD-drive as well as the trigger inputs for external pads.A connection for a cassette interface (what’s this?) Exists, but one that it can do without if you own the ADD-Drive.



The ADD-one samples used as starting material for its sounds. Among the samples fixed but are next to bass drums, snare drums, congas, hi-hats, etc. also waveforms such as sine, triangle, pulse, various noise, and more. Thus own sound creations such as the Waldorf Attack are possible.


The samples have a resolution of 12 bits and a sample rate of either 25 or 50 kHz. My preferred setting is 25 kHz, because the ADD-one then only sounds really nice full. Since you can hear the real difference to a tool such as Native Instruments Battery, whose concept seems to be borrowed in many respects to the ADD-one. Unfortunately, a voice of the ADD-one each to be fed only through a sample.

Even if the ADD-one also stand alone with the factory sounds can be used, so the full power of this power package is only completed by the optional ADD-drive.

Dynacord ADD-drive

With a (not commercial) cables, the devices are connected to each other. After switching on the ADD-one automatically recognizes immediately the ADD-drive and provides complementary menus. At ADD-drive you can about the DISK button now on ADD-one call the floppy functions (save, load, etc. – entire banks or individual sounds) or via the button REC, the sampling functions. On the front is for this purpose a microphone (XLR) as well as a line input next to a potentiometer to the input gain.

Using the ADD-drives are now also sample settings such as start and end points, loop start and end points and naming possible (see Fig Disk and Sampling Operations) – by the way, on already existing factory sounds.

It is next to one-shot samples for the drumming even create multi-samples! A normalize function does not have the ADD-one, but a gate and compressor, which can be looped during sampling. So something brutal you no longer get to the ears! With this feature, ADD-one drum sounds are never too quiet 😉

Toll is also the precise balancing of the sampling by the bar graph on the display. Thus, the threshold is awesome easy to set and – snap! On the sample-level parameters can be around to edit the pitching: frequency, pitch bending modulated by envelope, LFO or external controller. It already following the digital-to-analog converter.


If the data of sampling unit already a guarantee for a great sound, as in the EMU SP-12 or the Studio 440 Sequential, the pure analog part of the ADD-one shoots now finally the bird from – and also provides the aforementioned cult machines loose in the shade.


Each of the eight votes passes through the voltage-controlled, pure analog based modules: filter (with resonance!), Amplifiers and Panner (see Fig parameter controls). The filter appears to be a 24 dB filter whose response is sufficient to self-oscillation. Modulating the filter as well as the parametric resonance, last but from the filter independently, first by the envelope. In addition, the filter may be modulated by the second envelope, the resonance and the LFO.


It connects to the amplifier, which can be modulated by the second external controller. The samples are variable over velocity of the MIDI keyboard in the volume. A special feature is the “Duration” parameter dar. So can later samples are played shortened without the need to be cut for it. This parameter is modulated by external dynamic trigger. Finally follows the voltage-controlled panner which can give the monophonic samples some stereo effect.

In addition to the panoramic position the sample on the second envelope or LFO can be modulated. Some peculiarities show the envelopes: the first envelope is always controlled by the velocity and can only be changed using the parameter decay. In contrast, the second envelope is constructed classic and not dependent on the velocity. When using the envelope you have to be intentions clear in advance about their own editing. The LFO has no major features: The waveform is a right vibration or a random vibration, the speed can be adjusted in the usual tracks.


Dynacord ADD-one and ADD-drive TODAY

Anyone buying today a stand-alone sampler? In Live mode, the certainly makes any sense, but otherwise? Who expires today is not the delusion to use 24-bit with a resolution of 96 kHz? What is yet an old box as the ADD-one?

Firstly: In fun because! The touch of knobs is pure fun. It’s intuitive and you hearimmediately what sounds you make. In screen-based samplers looks you just yet, which sounds you created, although music is to be actually done for the ears. This one comes to results that are unusual and individual and can on top of that work really fast. Since it is also immaterial whether the sample ROM is fully developed or whether one has the ADD drive with sample RAM.

ADD ONE DRIVE connections

Second: the sound’s sake! If you want to make samples in the computer louder and masses are mobilized to plug-in the same. All this saves you the ADD-one. The crate sounds generally just awesome and super loud. The converter of this time certainly not correspond to today’s standards, provide for the ADD-one drums a very unique coloring. This does not mean that the samples sound bad, in fact now: The AB comparison between original and copy, especially for drum and percussion sounds, even always speaks FOR the copy, so the sound that at the end of the ADD -One comes.

Not without reason are machines like the SP-12 legendary! The diverse modulations miss the samples beyond an unexpected liveliness.


 ANALOG or at least BATTERY?

Here again, a clear statement. It is not only the operation that makes the ADD-One so unique, but also the great-sounding filters, envelopes, LFOs, and just the whole analog circus, which can be brutal wonders of the samples.

Of course, the old question of plug-in or hardware turns anyway. Also, a plug-in like Battery sounds today “damn good”, gladly dirty and has pressure. Nevertheless, the sound of a ADD-one creation is different, but also the path that leads to it, is for my taste distinctly musical, intuitive and inspiring than when using a plug-in.


My conclusion from this: For drum sounds from the genres House and Techno, Hip Hop, R & B or even for the LoFi Group there is no better tool. Just a pity that the ADD-one has no sequencer. But he has just been conceived as a pure high-end studio and live tool.

The 12-bit sounds in conjunction with the extensive analog post-processing are unique.Also a SP12 or SP1200 may have a similar post, but compared to the ADD-one they can only offer a fraction of the parameters of the ADD-One in its analog section has available. It is hard to believe, but neither the nor the SP1200 Studio 440 have the option to change the resonance or even drive it to self-oscillation – the ADD-One already!

The sound as “Old School,” operated the samples with which each ADD-one is delivered.However, the sounds are adapted to the character of the 80s Chicago House Loops. The same loop, but with self-made drum sounds from the internal waveforms sine, square, triangle, and white or dark noise, shows the versatility of the ADD-one (“Older School”). If you turn slightly to the sounds, the samples sound absolutely up to date. As another example, the sound loop “Processed” shows how brutal the internal gates and compressors of the ADD-drives work: Here is otherwise unchanged sounds of the Roland TR-707!

Considering the age of the device, we may venture no comparison with today’s samplers.128 voices and a memory of 1/2 GB RAM at that time were simply not imaginable. But this is even necessary? To supplement an analog Groovebox the ADD-one is the perfect solution and receives in this context, three stars from me.


  • intuitive operation by knobs
  • simple menu structure
  • brilliant sound of the converter
  • both drum and multisampling possible
  • analog VCAs, VCFs (with resonance) and VCPs for each voice
  • very good drum synthesizer
  • professional hardware equipment (outputs, trigger ins, etc.)


  • processed no SysEx data
  • RAM and ROM is not miscible
  • RAM expansion today difficult
  • only eight votes
  • no stereo sampling


  • According Syntacheles April 2014:
  • ADD-one 800, – €
  • ADD Drive about 500, – Euro