“Like the TR-808 before it, nobody could have predicted the reverence in which the TR-909 would eventually come to be held.”
—Sound on Sound
Analog/Digital Hybrid, Before It Was Even a Thing
In 1983, Roland followed the massively influential TR-808 with the TR-909. Around this time, digital samples of acoustic drums had become fashionable, but the sounds in the available devices weren’t very adjustable. And let’s be honest—they still didn’t really sound like real drums. For the 909, Roland engineers took a hybrid approach that used tweakable analog circuitry for the kick, snare, clap, and toms, while reserving digital sampling for the cymbals.
Only around 10,000 TR-909s were made, but the machine’s lasting impact is apparent on dance floors to this day. Much like the TR-808’s dominance in rap and hip-hop, the TR-909 left an indelible mark on electronic music styles like techno, house, acid, and industrial. It’s the sound you hear in your head when you think of floor-shaking dance music.
Plug In Your Own TR-909
In addition to faithfully modeling the TR-909’s analog circuitry, our software version uses the original sample ROM and models the early digital technology present in the vintage hardware. This attention to detail results in a fully authentic TR-909, with all the sonic characteristics that make it a perennial favorite of electronic and dance producers the world over. And the plug-in version also includes some groundbreaking new features for modern production:
- Overdrive the internal circuitry of the 909 for different flavors and styles
- The classic 909 step sequencer expands to show lanes for each drum instrument, so you can program faster and more fluidly
- Each pattern has eight variations for evolving sequences that keep things interesting
- Drag and drop audio or MIDI patterns directly from the 909 into a project
- Adjustable flams, sub-steps, and soft hits create detailed fills and ratcheted sequences
- Each instrument has its own “last step” and shuffle settings, so you can play with timing, experiment with complex meters, and dial in just the right groove
The TR-909 software instrument integrates seamlessly with our TR-8S Rhythm Performer and TR-09 Roland Boutique hardware. Transfer TR-8S patterns directly into the TR-909 plug-in, create beats on the go and send them back to the hardware, or use the TR-8S or TR-09 for direct hands-on control of the plug-in.
Join Roland Cloud today to access the hypnotic groove of the TR-909 as well as other iconic Roland instruments. Curious to hear what came before the 909? Check out its influential sibling, the iconic TR-808.