The Wersi Drum Composer CX5 is an early digital drum machine with a punchy, aggressive sound that was clearly intended to poach on Simmons’s territory. Physically, it’s a monolithic slab of grey metal and plastic livened up by dozens of LEDs and a cool, Ensoniq-style vacuum fluorescent display; sonically, its low-bit-depth samples make for gritty, compressed loops that can add a really hefty foundation to a track. (It’s no relation to the Yamaha CX5 music computer, by the way; that’s a totally different monolithic slab of grey mid-80s metal and plastic!) Released back in 1985 and intended for use either as a standalone drum machine or as a “brain” for a set of Wersi drum pads – they really were hoping to cannibalise some SDS sales! – the CX5 is surprisingly sophisticated in terms of programming and pattern creation and has a very useful spread of samples: both classic kit pieces and a couple of notable surprises, in the form of the ‘Hey!’ and ‘Aha’ hits (take a listen to the demo…). The early digital sound lends a lot of weight to the kick and tom pieces, while hi hats and cymbals have a nice fizz and crackle to them. There are snare rolls, some pretty awesome claps, and a handful of neat percussion pieces thrown in too, which are great for adding a Latin element to your loops.
Our version maps out all those lovely samples but adds Velocity Retrofit so that getting a groove going under your fingertips is a lot easier; plus we’ve added both the usual complement of Effects (Compressor, Bitcrusher, Tube saturation and Drive) and a Tilt EQ which can be great for a bit of instant adjustment to the CX5’s tone. Perfect for hip-hop influenced breakbeats or crusty EDM with a vintage flavour!