Akai Rhythm Wolf Mods / Hacks / Circuit Bending

Never being 100% content with a piece of gear , I modded my Rhythm Wolf. I poked around on this sucker for quite a while and have a few good notes, plus a burned out synth filter chip because I got overzealous.

My originally proposed hacks:

  • Add separate open hi-hat decay knob
  • Add separate bass release knob
  • Extend drum tuning ranges
  • Add high-pass filter to hats in range from 1K-3K
  • Add high-pass filter to perc in range from 300Hz-1K
  • Add high-pass filter to snare in range from 100-400Hz
  • Add a synth insert – post VCO/ pre-VCF so I can insert other sounds through the filter and sequence the filter
  • Separate outputs
  • Add noise to bass part with separate mix pot

After messing around, I found a quite a few spots that could be modded. Once I added separate outputs though, some of the mods seemed unnecessary. Sure, I could have put a passive capacitor tone adjustment on the snare and percussion, but it is so easy to do with a plugin, or a mixer. Since I typically use a hardware/DAW setup, the best compromise for me was to use plugins. (There is so much processing that can be done in-the-box that you can practically re-synthesize anything. I’ll post some tips later.)

Tuning the drums by adjusting the resistors in the bridged-t networks would be nice for flexibility, but my surface mount soldering skills were not up to snuff, so I chose pitch shifting plugins rather than a broken machine.

Here is a picture or the circuit:


A hi-res PDF of the same: rhythm-wolf-mods

And a cheat sheet of mods I tested, but did not do: rhythm-wolf-bends


I hope this helps some of the more adventurous of you to do some tweaks. I was content getting an separate open hat and closed hat decay and individual outputs. I use an Ableton rack to do some processing along with Max4Live modulation on effects in order to get pitch bends on the drums, split processing and other cool stuff. I’ll put up a tutorial about that later, so check back.






2 thoughts on “Akai Rhythm Wolf Mods / Hacks / Circuit Bending

  1. Hi,

    I know its been a little over 12 mths since you documented this, but could you tell me what value C221 is? My friend bought a used “modded” one off ebay and it was DOA. It would have cost more than half of what he paid for it to ship it back to the States, so he has gave it to me to have a poke around. The cap has been tacked back on the board, but poorly (like the rest of the work on it). I suspect its failed and if I can get a value, I can try replacing it with a through hole one. On this board it is directly left of C162, but other boards I have seen pictures of it is not there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • I wish I could help. Mine is all sealed back up and posted for sale, so I don’t want to risk re-opening it. It’s odd that it is doa. From my tinkering, it seems like all the sounds are separate. Does it not power up? eBay should get involved and get a refund. Sorry. Good luck.

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