The legendary cult drum machine considered maybe as sought-after as the elder brother Tr808.
The 909 was a commercial failure and Roland retired the machine from the market after a few months.
LAPTOP (weight: 4.5 kg) white cream color made out of plastic.
Main panel features a basic display with red segments, 31 knobs + 23 buttons + 16 pads with no velocity)
Back panel terminal connectors: Midi and tape interface, a Sync 5-DIN IN, main out + 10 individual outs, trigger out (controlled by rimshot), a pedalswitch input for start/stop and finally a memory cartridge slot.
Power supply is internal.
SOUND based on a CPU NEC UPD7811G manages up to 10 voices each with individual mix levels. The 909 sound generation is split into 2 main groups:
ANALOG family is generated like by several mini-synthesizers with individual circuits with onboard VCO oscillators, noise generators, envelope VCA stages and filtered by lowpass filters.
There are 4 analog percussions:
-1. Bass Drum (parameters: tune/ decay/ attack)
The BD can be pitched or adjusted in the decay time (the length) while attack is not like a traditional synthesizer EG ADSR, instead it adds a variable click at the beginning.
-2. Snare Drum (parameters: tune/ tone/ snappy).
The tone emphasizes the VCF filter and the total Decay, while snappy makes the sound snappier adding more white noise.
- 3. Tom (parameters: tune/ decay)
There are 3 toms (HI - LOW- MID) with same characteristics but different pitch range. The Decay length can individually set for the 3 percussions.
- 4. Rim Shot: no control
- 5. handclap: no control
Very similar to Tr808 circuit with this inimitable Roland faked-reverb in the background.
DIGITAL section offers 3 PCM samples coded at 6 bits resolution and 18 kHz frequency, the rest of the audio signal path is pure analog including EG, VCF and VCA.
PCM shots are
stored in a 32 Kb ROM HITACHI HN61256P.
- 1. Close-Open Hi-Hat (parameters: tune/decay)
The decay makes a long open sound. Open and closed HH share same circuit so they cannot be played at the same time.
- 2. Crash (parameter: tune)
Just sample tuning
- 3. Ride (parameter: tune)
Just sample tuning
SEQUENCER is quite simple and ready to produce some grooves in a snap, based on award-winning 16 step step entries or tapping method.
There are 3 main sequencer functions that enhance the pattern groove: - 1. ACCENT: makes a specific step louder (for a single instruments or all). - 2. SHUFFLE: swings the beat for a more human rhythms. - 3. FLAME: adds a syncope on a step (does not apply to rimshot, claps, hihats, crash and ride).
SYNC internal tempo range from 37 to 290 BPM or external clock synch is possible in 3 ways: - 1.
5 DIN SYNC signal at 24 PPQ frequency. - 2. Midi clock
- 3. Tape sync
MIDI it is possible to trigger the sound percussions directly by Midi (channel can be selected).
Implementation is rather basic and offers only plain notes ON/OFF messages.
MEMORY the internal RAM holds up to 4 songs (tracks) 48 patterns (max 896 measures) in 3 banks A-B-C.Patterns and songs are saved into the TR if batteries (2X 1.5V) are fitted, then these can be saved to tape dump or in a M-64C RAM cartridge.
TR 909 RELATED FAMILY
Roland tr8 - digital tr808 and 909 emulation from 2014.