Synth Site: Roland: TR-909: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Ashley Pomeroy a hobbyist user from United Kingdom writes:
Early-80's Roland drum machine and sequel to the TR808. Sonically it's more suited to housey / straight four-to-the-floor dance music (the 808 is hip-hoppy), with a famous, punchy kick drum and some verging-on-cheesy open hi-hats. To use, it's simplicity itself - a row of buttons and some knobs, and, uniquely of the decent x0x machines it has MIDI too.

Oddly for a machine made in the early-to-mid-80's it's mostly associated with the early-90's commercial house movement, and was used extensively on Stock, Aitken and Waterman's productions of Kylie Minogue et al.

Without effects the sounds are dated - the kick drum is timeless (it's a bassy pulse), but the snares and claps are very 1991. On the other hand, judiciously-applied effects can transform the beast into a hardcore monster, although the same could be said of many other drum machines.

In terms of pose value it's second only to a TB303, and partially as a reaction to this, and the vastly inflated prices, it tends to inspire a mixture of love and hate. Some love it as a musical tool and status symbol, at which it excels (and, in my opinion, there isn't anything wrong with status symbols), whilst on the other hand it doesn't have much musical range (house/techno, basically), and in common with most retro gear it's not much use on its own.

Furthermore at 1,000 pounds it's beyond the reach of most musicians, and looked at objectively a second-hand Roland R8 (or, for that matter, a sampler) is a much better buy. And, in terms of style, the TR606 looks nicer and is roughly one-ninth the price, although it's extremely limited.

All in all, it's a useful mid-80's MIDIfied drum machine with a hard, analogue sound and a hands-on programming approach.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Mar-10-2000 at 08:33
Roque a professional user from CA USA writes:
The TR-909 with its round kick and crisp claps,no other machine can boast the numbers of imitators inspired by the paper snares and fluid ride cymbal.Thus with a foundation laid for a decade or two to come.They are infact priceless,money comes and goes get one if you want one because they will not be around forever I have an extra one for 1400. mint with manual

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-26-1999 at 22:04
TheValiant a hobbyist user from Dork PA writes:
You know there's just something about the combination of those hats and that bass drum that just doesn't seem to stay old. It does get old from time to time, but after a while I just gotta have it! Then throw in the snare, the claps, toms, whatever... And the x0x sequencing at it's greatest! I can't spend $1000 for one of these so I'm waiting to see how those Korg Electribe boxes stand up to emulating this box. I know, heresy, but for half the price...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Mar-02-1999 at 00:46
Ben from USA writes:
The hype is true....cost me $1000 to find that one, and I'm elated! There's nothing quite like this. Now perhaps the most inspiring piece of gear in my arsenal (hardly, really!). All hail the legend.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Nov-02-1998 at 16:43
Mote a hobbyist user from Miami, Fl. USA writes:
The TR-909 has an indistinguishable almost demonic-groove to it that manages to make even the most rhythmless person stand up and dance. This box does only one thing and does it damn well......It simply makes people dance.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:10
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