Zoë Blade's notebook

Music Machine

Music Machine tech specs

  • Released: 1986
  • Company: RAM
  • Types: MIDI sequencer; sampler
  • Platforms: Amstrad CPC; ZX Spectrum
  • Sample resolution: 8-bit
  • Control: MIDI

Music Machine was a hardware plus software add-on for the ZX Spectrum by a company called RAM. It was (barely) a MIDI sequencer / sampler combination.

Given the Spectrum's limited processing power and memory capacity, it was a far cry from a Studio 440 or an MPC60... or even Scream Tracker 3.

Out of the two reviews I could find, the more charitable one reluctantly admitted it fell short of even the prosumer market. The other called it educational in the sense that it demonstrated why trying to cram a sampler into a Spectrum was a hopeless idea, and refused to describe it in any significant detail on the grounds that to do so would be tantamount to aiding and abetting.

Nevertheless, a teenaged Aphex Twin got some limited use out of it, and I have to wonder whether its opportunity to play various different drum samples one at a time on all the sixteenths was perhaps a lasting influence on his style.


I did use a RAM Music Machine for the Spectrum before the FZ, which is just totally dope. I've bought a load of them recently and started using them again. Love the sound quality — it's 9 kHz sampling rate, 8-bit, and you could get just over a second in memory, so I used to speed sounds up on tape then sample them into that and slow them down, so they're even more gritty!

— Richard D. James (Aphex Twin), 2014[1]

Notable users


  1. "Aphex Twin SYROBONKERS! Interview Part 1" Dave Noyze, 2014


Software MIDI sequencers: Creator | Cubase | M | Music Machine | Pro-16 | Pro-24 | Realtime | Sweet Sixteen | Tiger Cub

Software samplers: Music Machine

ZX Spectrum: Music Machine