Category: Products / drum / old analog drums
Added: 14-Dec-98 | Author: admin
New price: discontinued | S/H price: Up to 1000 UK or US
Roland TR-909Oh God !!... Well, we had to add it didn't we, as there's no escaping the master from which the clones were born....... Now there's quite a few 909 clones around, outside of sample set's, but despite all that, some swear by the original, and I have to say... Roland TR style step programming for me is the ultimate, with the 16 steps easily visible..... it's such a doddle to quickly slip in a few extra snare notes as the light flashes past for the next pass... kinda like using Cubase 'drum-map', but on a machine... anyhow..... I have only used the 909 when working with friends who own/ed them, so this is a spec page, with as much extra info as I could remember/find.... here we go....
The TR (Transistor Rhythm) 909 was the last of the TR series that used any analog sounds..... the following TR 707 was samples only.... You get a 70/30 palette of analog and samples on the 909.... The hatz, crash and ride are samples... the rest analog.... The timing of this units release (1983) was it's downfall really, as within a year or around the same time, machines like the horrible Linn-Drum and early Yamaha RX machines etc started to appear.... with sampled & realistic (!!...well, at the time !!) kik, and snare drums available, the 909 was doomed as folks rushed to get a machine that 'sounded' like real drums.
However... interestingly, due also to it's release time, the 909 did include midi spec's, it'll output clock data (not note data)... so you can use it as a sequencer... (for internal or external sounds)... a clock device... (to run your other sequencer in sync with)... or as a straight drum unit sync'd to external midi clock... best of both worlds really huh ??.... anyway..... enuff poetry has been written about this beasty... so, on with the info & spec's.
Ok... we can split the unit into two half's.... the sequencer... and sound bitz..... the sequencer is the usual TR thing.... 16 steps running across from left to right.... each step has an led light... in step time, you select a drum sound, then every button from 1 - 16 that you depress, is a drum hit for the choosen sound.... With the 909, pressing once gives a lower volume.... again produces higher volume and 3rd time turns the note off.. so you select a sound... input some notes, select a new sound... input notes etc etc.
Each 16 step sequence is a Pattern....you create patterns, and chain the patterns together into songs... The 909 allows 2 banks of 48 patterns to be bunged into 2 banks of 4 total songs... There was even a data cartridge as far as I know to save the whole memory onto... There is also Tap record... like, metronome plays.....choose sound... tap along etc... but the classic TR programming method is in Step-time.
Now... There are 16 steps/buttons to a pattern.....but what happens if you work outside of 4/4 patterns??.... actually, the 909 has 4 preset time-sig' buttons... Check out the black strip above, (devided into 4 by horizontal white lines, above the 16 buttons)... It's devided into 4 ready to go templates to assist visually with the programming once you've entered these modes.... check it out..... easy huh?
If you want to get real weird with Time-signatures, you can do-it-yourself too. You can create any step/length of pattern, by just holding down the usual TR 'Last-Step' button, and which-ever of the 16 buttons you hit will literaly become the last step of the sequence/pattern.
The 909 can also sequence an external sound source, with it's 'External-Instrument' setting, which accesses a new pattern mode, where you can programme a pattern to go with every internal drum pattern.... this accompanying pattern will only trigger an external device.... and is limited to 16 notes, but you can have an 'External' pattern play with every internal drum pattern..... and of course, you can hear the external synth being sounded, and the internal 909 drums at the same time to work with if you're making a bassline or whatever..... You just have to set the unit into 'External Instrument' when you access 'Pattern-Write' mode.
Further to the 2 set volumes for inputting notes, there is the 'Accent' feature, which is just the same as programming an actual sound for inputting data..... but each step of the sequence that has an Accent placed there, will accent any sound on that step of the sequence..... volume of instruments is then further set/adjusted using the actual instrument volume controls, either pre-set to the volume you like, or adjusted live... (crescendo building snare rolls etc)
There is also a 'Shuffle facility, but I never really had much to do with it the times I played with a 909, so I'm vague for that one......anyhow..... If you wanna know how to programme Roland TR style stepmode, grab the Rebirth demo s/w (s/ware or synth section here), and check out the 808 section, which pretty much covers it.... they're all basically the same, whether it's the 606,808 or 909.. or even the 707 kept the same interface.... they are great !
Ok.... Sounds, well, we all know them, (unless you were brought up by some wierd religious cult, who kept you locked in a coal-celler all your life !!).... kik, snare... 3 toms... clapz, open + closed hatz, ride, crash, sidestick.
If you look at the image above, you'll see the sounds are seperated into their own sections... (the black control-knobs)..... The kik has 4 controls... Tune, Level (volume), Attack, and Decay....... The Snare also has 4....has Tune, Level, Tone, and Snappy (how much white noise is added)..... The other sounds have more basic controls.
Ok.... I gotta chip now, I'll add more tomorrow,(24/2/98) but outputs are stereo out, plus 10 individual outs.... you got DIN sync to wire it to a 303 or MC 202.... and there's midi IN and OUT/THRU... as well as FSK tape sync (er.... if you can be bothered).... as well as a 14V trigger out from the rimshot.
A crash course in programming a Roland TR-909 drum machine. Quite a catchy dance beat being produced...
Built in the 80s this machine later became the foundation of dance music...
just listen to what I've done this evening. Knob Twiddling is soooo nice!...
don't know what to say.. Just a little twiddling on these old ladies :-)...
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