Roland TR808 vrs Roland TR909

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supermel74
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Post by supermel74 » Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:43 am

I prefer the sound of the 808, mostly due to the kick. Can you get those long decays on the 909?

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Post by ThinkTanx » Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:59 am

space6oy wrote:
ThinkTanx wrote:As far as tempo goes on the non-MIDIfied 808's, do you have to just kind of do your best with the dial and the tap tempo or is there some way to input a precise BPM that I'm not seeing?
might if you have it chained as master to another piece of gear w/ a display...if the other display would show the change in the master's tempo and not just hold whatever its tempo was set to originally before it was set to external...
Yeah, but I guess that would require a MIDI-to-DIN convertor. Actually, I don't even know if an 808 responds to tempo control through the DIN Sync. :?:

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Post by MrFrodo » Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:24 am

Just as a matter of opinion, the TR-808 doesn't call out to me. Something about the 909 seems more desirable to the kind(s) of music I'm trying to produce. I like the 808's sounds, but the 909 stuff I've heard so far seems to say "real" to me more easily. (Especially when you line up the Phil Collins songs "Sussudio" and "Take Me Home" back to back. Such a drag that machine was only in production for one year.

I'd be happy with a real TR-909 and a computer sequencer w/ 808 samples.
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Post by ramos » Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:40 am

ThinkTanx wrote:
space6oy wrote:
ThinkTanx wrote:As far as tempo goes on the non-MIDIfied 808's, do you have to just kind of do your best with the dial and the tap tempo or is there some way to input a precise BPM that I'm not seeing?
might if you have it chained as master to another piece of gear w/ a display...if the other display would show the change in the master's tempo and not just hold whatever its tempo was set to originally before it was set to external...
Yeah, but I guess that would require a MIDI-to-DIN convertor. Actually, I don't even know if an 808 responds to tempo control through the DIN Sync. :?:
I think it does... I've tried it with my 707, but that was a while ago, and I was pretty drunk.
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Post by justinvm » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:15 am

The analog sounds of the 909 are much more dynamic. That was the first thing i noticed when i bought mine. Each voice sounded richer and fuller than any other roland or drum machine i had heard before.

This is especially evident when you compare the circuits of the 808 with that of 909. The 909 voicing circuits are more intricuit and complex. The kick drum of the 909 for example is a large piece of work, featuring multiple oscillators and envelopes. Essentially the 909 voices feature many more 'stages' of synthesis than the voices of the 808.

The engineers really did an amazing job with the 909.

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Post by TrondC » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:17 am

ok I'm gonna spoil the praising here and say that I always thought the 606 was the best sounding (and by far the best looking) of the xox-drum machines? Now I've never owned a TR-machine, but from the youtube vidoes I've seen, it's the 606 I'd want in my setup. to me, a 606 with the boom bassdrum from the 808 would pretty much be a dream drum machine...
yeah?

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Post by nathanscribe » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:31 am

wiss wrote:
space6oy wrote:my 909's clap is huge in comparison...brighter & more full. might just be my 808's being a little worn out though.
the big difference to my ears, the 808 is a little "warmer and softer" and longer..

I think I would perfer the 909 if it was a longer sample
The clap in the 909 is not a sample, it's generated using similar ciruitry to the 808. The basic layout of the clap generator is the same: noise is fed into a kind of trigger relay, to generate a short series of very quick bursts, with a longer tail at the end to give it 'space'.

There's a trimmer in both machines to adjust the VCA level of the clap. Set it high, you get a very bright, punchy crack of a sound. Set it lower, and you get the smooth, reverb-y version.

One difference in the way they generate the sound is the kind of noise that feeds into the circuit. The 808 uses a transistor-based analogue white noise generator, which gives a rapidly varying voltage that looks like a seismometer readout. The 909 uses a digital shift register clocked fast, to give a pseudo-random pulse train with varying pulse width and frequency. It sounds like noise, but different to the purely analogue circuit.



I agree the 606 is a great little machine. I like the gentler tone. The 909's OK, but a bit much for me and does'nt see much use. An 808 (or DIY clone) is next on my list...

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Post by steveman » Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:25 am

ThinkTanx wrote:
space6oy wrote:
ThinkTanx wrote:As far as tempo goes on the non-MIDIfied 808's, do you have to just kind of do your best with the dial and the tap tempo or is there some way to input a precise BPM that I'm not seeing?
might if you have it chained as master to another piece of gear w/ a display...if the other display would show the change in the master's tempo and not just hold whatever its tempo was set to originally before it was set to external...
Yeah, but I guess that would require a MIDI-to-DIN convertor. Actually, I don't even know if an 808 responds to tempo control through the DIN Sync. :?:
DIN Sync is a clock, it if changes, the tempo changes :). If it stops the drum machine stops.

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Post by ThinkTanx » Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:48 pm

steveman wrote:
ThinkTanx wrote:
space6oy wrote: might if you have it chained as master to another piece of gear w/ a display...if the other display would show the change in the master's tempo and not just hold whatever its tempo was set to originally before it was set to external...
Yeah, but I guess that would require a MIDI-to-DIN convertor. Actually, I don't even know if an 808 responds to tempo control through the DIN Sync. :?:
DIN Sync is a clock, it if changes, the tempo changes :). If it stops the drum machine stops.
Good point. :lol:

I don't know, it's these old Japanese machines. After using the Elektron gear for so long, I'm just now getting into them, and in comparison they seem a bit counterintuitive at times. Or maybe I should just say: 'less advanced', as they aren't particularly cumbersome (it's more that the Elektron gear is so fabulous with it's UI, etc.). :oops:

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Post by voltageHead » Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:41 am

I was wondering what the diabolical devices TR 606 mod are like.
the mods decay and pitch for the kick look wicked.I have also read some stuff about some 909 mods.I don't rember much about about the 909 mods other then the kick drum decay gets incresed and it has a switch to put it back to normal range.

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Post by Low_Fi » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:36 am

The 909 mods I'm aware of are those at the URL below:

http://www.colinfraser.com/tr909/909mods/909mods.htm

There's 5 mods for the bass drum and 1 mod for the hi-hats. I've done all 5 for the bass kick on mine but didn't do the hi-hats one.

Honestly, before I did the mods the 909 was getting a bit boring for me. After the bd mods, wow. It turned the polite 909 into a monster. I've owned the jomox xbase09 and mbase01 and I much prefer the modded bass kick from the 909 to them both.

I don't think the sound itself is superior, necessarily. It's probably just that I've had the 909 kick beat into my brain from so many parties I went to in the early 90's that its just an essential part of electronic dance music to me. I still prefer the real 909 kick to the sampled bd kicks you hear now-a-days on all the trance tunes. The modern sound of techno is too clean and pristine for me. I prefer the tracks that sound less 'perfect' from the early and mid 90's. They have more character, IMO. I'm just trying to point out that its all a matter of personal taste.

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Post by Low_Fi » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:47 am

On the subject of the 909 versus the 808, the modded 909's kick just can't be beat for that throbbing dance music beat, IMO. The 808 on the other hand is much more versatile, IMO, *if modded*. Plasitkman's classic track, Spastik, is filled with nothing but his modded 808 that's continually tweaked throughout the entire track. These mods Richie Hawtin had on his 808 are the ones Robin Whittle of Devilfish fame used to do (not sure if he still offers them). I'm contemplating modding my mint-condition 808 with these mods myself, but a part of me considers it a crime against humanity to drill holes in an 808 that's soooo clean. I even have the box for it. I'm in a dilemma about this but there are worse problems to have I suppose. :)

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Post by Darteis » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:12 am

Personally i havent owned any of them only have sample packs and viritual clones. I really do love the OH sound that the tr-909 gives.

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Post by ThinkTanx » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:53 am

Low_Fi wrote:On the subject of the 909 versus the 808, the modded 909's kick just can't be beat for that throbbing dance music beat, IMO. The 808 on the other hand is much more versatile, IMO, *if modded*. Plasitkman's classic track, Spastik, is filled with nothing but his modded 808 that's continually tweaked throughout the entire track. These mods Richie Hawtin had on his 808 are the ones Robin Whittle of Devilfish fame used to do (not sure if he still offers them). I'm contemplating modding my mint-condition 808 with these mods myself, but a part of me considers it a crime against humanity to drill holes in an 808 that's soooo clean. I even have the box for it. I'm in a dilemma about this but there are worse problems to have I suppose. :)
I look at it like this: I'm not into this s**t for collector's sake. They are strictly tools for making music. So, if it's the mods she wants, it's the mods she gets. :D

All that being said, my 909 is essentially mint as well and I understand your hesistancy to drill it. It's not so much the fact that it won't be all original anymore, it's just that it is so beautiful as it is. I would be hesistant if the mods were gonna be an eyesore. I'm a bit petty that way. I can't get with ugly gear. :oops:

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Post by Low_Fi » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:47 am

Yeah, I agree with you, its absolutely all about the music.

But there's just something in the back of my head that cries out when I think about drilling into it. I never liked the thought of having an external box connected to the underbelly of the 808 via a ribbon cable but that may be the route I go with for these mods. I really want the added flexibility but don't want to detract from the 808's minty freshness. ;)

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