Roland TR-909
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Roland TR-909

TR-909, Drum Machine from Roland in the TR series.

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redox75 09/15/2014

Roland TR-909 : redox75's user review

« The TR 909 IS THE TRUE BOSS!!! »
5

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Easy to program, midi, roland old-school sync, and the typical roland sequencer that earned the TR its reputation.

I now think the sequencer of the 808 is more "lively." It has a magical groove which isn't as present on the 909, except when play with the shuffle, which makes it more interesting.
I have noticed, for example, that putting the TR 808 in sync out mode to start the 909 in sync in mode, the latter adopts the magical groove of the 808.
I think it's due to the sync clock of the 808 being less stable, so the precision of the intervals, which ought to be a defect, turns out to be a good quality.
But if you do it the other way around it doesn't work!

USE

There's no need for a manual, except for step-by-step editing.
It has multiple separate outputs, three trig outs to trigger the sequencers and arpeggiators of your good old analog toys. Real-time processing of some instruments is great and it really alows you to "rebuild a song" with the same pattern by playing with the volumes, attacks, decay, tuning, etc...
The external card slot is a great plus to save your songs/patterns, just like the MIDI, for those who use it.

SOUND

I can't say that all sounds are great. The snares are all right, but the ones on the 808 are better, and the same goes for the ride/crash.

But it's THE KICK that can really make a difference in an electronic music production, even though the one of the 808 and 606 are pretty good, too. Some sounds of the 707 are similar to those of the 909, like the clap and hi--hat.

I have always loved the 909, but I have a weakness for the 808, which has that "special something" that can't be defined and a more vintage sound.

OVERALL OPINION

I just got it, after having exchanged it for one of the two TB 303s I had.
It was in a great condition (I checked the buttons, knobs, etc.).

I wanted one ever since I started my TR collection in 1995. It currently sells for about 1200/2200 euros and it's very rare to come by. Like other vintage gear, it's an "investment.".
Anyone who has one in a good condition in 15/20 years will make a fortune with it because it will be a 50-year old legend.
That's why it's worth buying spare parts right now, so you can service and repair it.

The current price is due to supply and demand, anything that's rare is expensive. And even if the TR 8 isn't bad at all, and even just as good for some sounds, it doesn't bear comparison with the 909. The latter has an incredible punch and everybody wants one.
The same applies to other analog drum machines and synths (just take a look at the Jupiter 8, whose price has sky-rocketed to over 6000 euros, the same it cost new back in 1981!).