The software vs hardware debate has raged for years in dance music, and will probably go on forever. For every person who swears that the only way to make music is to get a Roland Juno-106, a couple of other synths and a Roland TR-909 drum machine, you’ll have another who confidently believes digital offerings are infinitely superior to anything from the past.

A lot of us already know about the earliest drum machines, for example. The Linn LM-1 Drum Computer, as it was called, was the first drum machine to experience a level of commercial success. It was used in numerous 1980s records, not least by artists including the Human League and Michael Jackson. But when did the first digital drum machines come out?

These days, we’re absolutely spoilt for choice in this area. Drum machine kits, new and old, are all available at reasonable prices online – and often for nothing. And if you don’t like what’s on offer, you can grab a sampler, load a bunch of your own sounds in and you’ve basically got your own personalised drum machine.

But if you go back 20 years ago, your digital options were much, much more limited. Such as this machine available on British telecoms company BT’s website, of all places…

The photo you see here is an advert taken from the April 2000 issue of Muzik Magazine. The advertisement suggests you cut that page out of the magazine, as the ad effectively doubles up as an instruction manual.

Handy way of keeping it in people’s minds, isn’t it? The advertising agency earned their enormous fee that week…

By The Editor

Editor-in-chief at Amateur’s House.