Menu Close

Yamaha RX8

Yamaha rx8


Year released: 1989

Information and Specifications

Voices: 43 voices, PCM sampled, 16-bit resolution.Get Samples

Tuning: +1 octave in 10-cent steps.

Display: 2 x 16 backlit LCD.

Pattern Memory: 100 patterns.

Song Memory: 20 names songs (up to 999 parts/songs).

Syncronization: Tape (FSK), MIDI, internal.

Internal Storage: Lithium battery-backed RAM.

External Storage: Tape, Yamaha memory card, MIDI bulk dump.

Outputs: L, R stereo mix + 2 individual outs, Phones, Cassette.

MIDI: IN, OUT (with internal MIDI echo).

Power consumption: 5w.

Dimensions: 351 x 207 x 59(mm) 13.8 x 8.1 x 2.3 (inches).

Weight: 1.2 kg (2.6lb).


The Yamaha RX8 drum machine came out in 1989. It has 43 voices of varying quality. The kicks sound like wet farts for example. There are 100 patterns available to use and a maximum of 20 songs. Shaped like a plastic doorstop and mid way between the size of a RX7 and a RX17.  The 12 pads are non-velocity-sensitive, which is a shame.  On the plus side the sounds are tunable, can be reversed and panned individually.  Pattern and song data can be stored on the optional data card MCD32.

Not one of the best drum machines at the time and was probably a backwards step for Yamaha as they had already released the RX5 and RX7 (though they were 12 bit and had only 24 samples). It was by no means as uninspiring as the RX17 and RX21, though those two plus the latin version the RX21L still had their charms. Marketed as a budget drum machine, the RX8 boasted 16 bit samples and it would have gone head to head with the Alesis HR16, which had better samples but was another drum machine with a weird design.

For the modern musician the sounds are crisper than the earlier RX5 and RX7 (and has more samples), but missing key features like individual outs like on the RX5.  Although sound wise the Alesis HR16 is the better option but second prices are higher than the RX8. For the RX8 expect to pay as little as $20 to $120 for a good condition unit and that again for the data card.