“I bought my 909 in the ’90s when it was at the peak of its popularity in Techno, House and Rave music. This old faithful has been to many raves and house parties back in the day, yet, amazingly, still works and more importantly, grooves like a fox on rollerblades.”
The Roland TR-909 Rhythm Composer is a partially analog, partially sample-based, drum machine introduced by the Japanese Roland Corporation in 1983. The brainchild of Tadao Kikumoto, the engineer behind the Roland TB-303, it features a 16-step step sequencer and a drum kit that aimed for realism and cost-effectiveness. It is fully programmable, and like its predecessor, the TR-808, it can store entire songs with multiple sections, as opposed to simply storing patterns. It was the first MIDI-equipped drum machine. Around 10,000 units were produced.
The Roland JD-990 is a classic module featuring great waveforms in ROM, and deep editing capabilities (it was known as a “programmer’s dream” when it came out). These are a few examples of its classy, beautiful, lush sounds.
The JD-990 is an enhanced version of the JD-800 and was the top o’ the line JD-synth. Its rack-mount design and impressive power and functionality within the studio paved way for the hugely successful JV-series rack modules which lead, ultimately, to the XV-series monster-modules! The JD-990 is a digital synth with 6MB of ROM sounds with “analog-like” edit parameters and features. These include lowpass filtering, ring modulation, osc. sync, frequency cross-mod, etc. The JD-990 is also compatible with JV80 and JD800 expansion boards.
The JD-990 has a large LCD display which makes editing very easy and intuitive, you can actually see the envelopes and LFO rates. There’s an on-board multi-effects processor with Delay, Reverb, Phaser, Distortion, Chorus, and EQ. For the studio, the JD-990 has MIDI IN/OUT/THRU and eight outputs in four stereo pairs. The JD-990 can hold one internal expansion board and the best choice is to put the Vintage expansion in it because that gives you about 512 patches (Only 255 from JV-series!) of which 256 are specially programmed for the JD-990.
This is an analog synthesizer/sequencer. It sounds very much like the TB-303 and SH-101 bass synths. Sometimes considered the “poor man’s 303″. It has a very evolved form of TB-303 like programming (more like the MC-4) and SH-101 like controls of the VCO, VCF, VCA, LFO, Envelope and Mixer sections. The LCD display is a great feature too.
The MC-202 was sort of a next-generation TB-303. So the idea was to program sequence/patterns into it internally which would give you those 303 basslines that we’ve come to love. But programming the MC-202 is a bit too intense and over done for the simple monophonic bass line. However you can control it externally by hooking up a MID-CV/Gate converter. Then you basically have yourself an SH-101!
The sequencer is actually a 2-channel CV/gate sequencer, with both channels being capable of driving a separate external synth. It’s a very useful unit, also, for its DINsync capabilities; it can receive on one port, and send over two, and also can ‘split’ DINsync to branch a sync signal out to multiple devices.
Daft Punk/Da Funk Program by Roland TB-303
Roland keyboard specialist Scott Tibbs demonstrates the Roland INTEGRA-7 SuperNATURAL sound module (and A-49 MIDI controller) at Kraft Music.
Roland marcomm pitch:
With the development of SuperNATURAL sound and Behavior Modeling technology, Roland has blurred the boundary between acoustic and electronic instruments. Built upon these core technologies, the new INTEGRA-7 gives musicians a gold mine of the latest SuperNATURAL sounds in a fast-access, fully stocked 16-part module.
The powerhouse rack comprises a “greatest hits” collection of sounds from Roland’s flagship keyboards and V-Drums modules, plus a coveted lineup from the legacy SRX library. It also introduces a new technology called Motional Surround, a 17-part ambience engine that lets you graphically control the distance and position of each part within 360-degree sound field. With the immense power of the INTEGRA-7, you can create amazingly realistic and detailed orchestral arrangements, immersive, spatial sounds, and beyond.
A quick demo of programming the TB303, then some random tune tweaking.
The Roland TB303 is a monophonic analog bass synthesizer married to a pattern-based step sequencer released in 1982. It features a single analog oscillator with two waveforms (ramp or square) and has a simple but excellent VCF (filter) with resonance, cut-off, and envelope controls. There are also knobs to adjust tuning, envelope decay, tempo and accent amount.
It’s not a performance synthesizer because you have to program a pattern of notes and timing info into it (sort of like a drum machine). Patterns can then be linked into songs. It was originally made to accompany a drum machine, the TR-606 specifically, and provide bass-line accompaniment to guitarists, keyboard players, etc. It was not a successful product in its time. As a result, creative DJs and aspiring electronic musicians found them for next to no money and began using them for techno and acid music. Usually a single pattern is continuously played while the performer tweaks the knobs creating an exciting and expressive musical event.
The TB-303 has become one of the most sought after vintage synths ever! It has helped develop and stylize many forms of electronic music including House, Acid, Trance and Ambient. If ever there was a need for a repetitive bassline/groove or an extremely resonant and bubbly sound, the 303 is KING. Truly a unique machine with a very identifiable sound! It has spun off several imitators as well: Novation Bass Station, ReBirth, Doepfer MS-404, MAM MB-33, Syntecno TeeBee, and more (see Related & Alternative Gear sidebar).
A short sequence showing how a TR606 sounds when distorted.
Time to sum up this years Winter NAMM show with a gallery of the 10 things that made this year’s event so great. I guess there will be few surprises to those who regularly follow our web magazine or any other of our web mag colleagues in the msuic creation business either
Overall trends for this year include:
a. More vendors takes the route of Arturia’s MiniBrute – analog, low price point, performance sized
b. Modular synths are hotter than ever, as well as the DIY micro synths
c. The controller / control surface segment is getting over crowded – who needs them all
d. Software retro clones of vintage classics has come to its peek
e. All analog synths are alive and kicking
f. All you can eat tablet instruments – iOS is all fed up, now vendors are looking to Android and other platforms
g. More innovation is needed in the DJ space
Here is Steelberry Clones’ top 10 list!
1. Moog Sub Phatty
2. KORG MS-20 Mini
3. KORG KingKORG
4. Arturia SparkLE
5. Dave Smith Instruments – Prophet 12
6. Roland V-Combo VR-09
7. AKAI MAX49
8. NORD Electro 4
9. NUMARK Orbit
10. KOMA Elektronik
That’s it for this year’s NAMM show, next up is MusikMesse in Frankfurt.
Please leave your comments if you agree or disagree with the listing or if anything ought to be added. We know that we probably should have included some software products as well, but we might come back to that later in the week.
In this video, Sergio Terranova Junior, one of the Brazilian musicians, is speaking with his musician friend that is living in California, USA. Sergio’s friend asked him if he will go to the NAMM show in Anaheim during their conversation. Sergio said to his friend that he will not go there this time because there will be nothing interesting to him to visit. After that, his friend asked about his setup, and he showed his home studio with the JP-80, INTEGRA-7 and the Roland’s legend, SH-1000 ! And, He asked his friend why he needed a new keyboard. His friend said that he must come because Roland will launch new cool instruments. And, in the end, his friend told him that he must review his concepts…
Roland Reveals New Performance Keyboard V-Combo VR-09 features piano, organ, and synth engines
Travel-ready, affordable, and outfitted with top-level Roland sounds, the V-Combo VR-09 is the ideal all-in-one solution for performing keyboard players. Dedicated piano, organ, and synth sound engines—organized in three intuitive blocks on the front panel—provide all the essential tones you need, right under your fingertips. The powerful real-time controls give you maximum expression on stage, with nine sliders for tone shaping and a large array of knobs and buttons for tweaking the seven simultaneous effects and various parameters. Other great features include an onboard looper, a drum section stocked with a library of rhythms for practice and jamming, and more. With its versatile sound selection, inspiring operation, and smart user interface, the V-Combo VR-09 is a dream come true for gigging musicians.
- Professional keyboard with instant-access operation for performing musicians
- Light and mobile; battery or AC power
- Pro-quality acoustic and electric pianos, including grand piano with 88-note stereo multi-sampling
- SuperNATURAL-powered Virtual Tone Wheel organ with nine harmonic bars, plus newly developed transistor-type ‘60s organ tone
- Wide range of synth tones, from vintage classics to modern essentials
- Seven simultaneous effects with dedicated real-time controls
- Looper and built-in rhythm patterns; WAV/MP3/SMF song playback via optional USB memory
- Free VR-09 Editor app available for iPad
Travel-ready, affordable, and outfitted with top-level Roland sounds, the V-Combo VR-09 is the ideal all-in-one solution for performing keyboard players. Dedicated piano, organ, and synth sound engines—organized in three intuitive blocks on the front panel—provide all the essential tones you need, right under your fingertips. The powerful real-time controls give you maximum expression on stage, with nine sliders for tone shaping and a large array of knobs and buttons for tweaking the seven simultaneous effects and various parameters. Other great features include an onboard looper, a drum section stocked with a library of rhythms for practice and jamming, and more. With its versatile sound selection, inspiring operation, and smart user interface, the V-Combo VR-09 is a dream come true for gigging musicians
Professional keyboard with instant-access operation for performing musicians
Light and mobile; battery or AC power
Pro-quality acoustic and electric pianos, including grand piano with 88-note stereo multi-sampling
SuperNATURAL-powered Virtual Tone Wheel organ with nine harmonic bars, plus newly developed transistor-type ‘60s organ tone
Wide range of synth tones, from vintage classics to modern essentials
Seven simultaneous effects with dedicated real-time controls
Looper and built-in rhythm patterns; WAV/MP3/SMF song playback via optional USB memory
Free VR-09 Editor app available for iPad
Intuitive Operation for Expressive Stage Performance
The V-Combo VR-09 was designed from the ground up with the needs of live players in mind. An intuitive front-panel layout and clear LCD screen offers quick access to Roland’s top piano, organ, and synth sound engines, along with plenty of real-time controls for expressive tone manipulation. Seven simultaneous effects include rotary, delay, reverb, tone, overdrive, compressor, and customizable MFX, with dedicated knobs that tweak multiple parameters with a single twist for powerful sound shaping with minimal effort. The smart interface makes it simple to set up splits and layers on the fly, and to save all your keyboard settings in user memory locations for instant recall on stage.
Pro Acoustic and Electric Pianos
Piano is a cornerstone sound for live playing, and the V-Combo VR-09 is filled with a wide selection for covering all musical styles. The gorgeous acoustic grand piano features 88-note stereo multi-sampling, delivering pro-level tone that rivals Roland’s dedicated stage pianos. Many popular vintage E. Piano sounds are onboard as well, along with complimentary effects such as vintage phaser and tremolo. The compressor—accessible via a dedicated, easy-to-reach knob—transparently boosts the level of the piano sounds, ensuring that your playing always cuts through when performing in loud bands.
Roland’s renowned SuperNATURAL technology powers the V-Combo VR-09’s classic tonewheel organs, while nine harmonic bars provide authentic real-time performance control. A newly developed transistor-type organ is also included, offering the unique sound of combo instruments from the 1960s. The 61-note keyboard has an extremely fast response, perfect for essential organ techniques such as trill, sputter, glissando, and percussive hits. Rotary speaker and amp simulators reproduce the characteristics of vintage organ speaker cabinets and overdriven tube circuits with astounding realism, while a new “Twin Rotary” option delivers a deep, aggressive effect never before heard.
Vintage and Modern Synth Tones
The V-Combo VR-09 is packed with a ton of ready-to-play synthesizer sounds, from vintage analog classics like JUNO strings and ‘80s synth brass to textured, modern-era digital tones and beyond. Front-panel controllers allow you to tweak the synth tones intuitively in real time, including convenient ADR and cutoff/resonance adjustment with the harmonic bars in the ORGAN block. Onboard effects like “Bit Crash” provide the ability to create modern synth voices for current dance music, including dubstep
VR-09 Editor for iPad
The free VR-09 Editor app for iPad gives you powerful, intuitive control of the organ and synth sound engines via your tablet’s full-color touchscreen interface. Quickly edit organ sounds and customize vintage tonewheel characteristics such as leakage, click noise, and rotary speed, and easily access synth sounds to build custom tones and layers. After tweaking sounds at home, you can take your iPad to the gig and use the app for extra real-time control on stage. Convenient, cable-free communication between the V-Combo VR-09 and iPad is simple to set up with Roland Wireless Connect. Alternately, you can link up with a USB cable via Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit.
01. (00:00 – ) Overview
02. (01:33 – ) Piano Ballad
03. (02:09 – ) E.Piano with 80s Pop Music
04. (03:30 – ) Piano and Pad Split (Dual), Write Registration
05. (04:40 – ) Funky Groove with Clav
06. (05:48 – ) Dance Music with Tweaks
07. (07:02 – ) Dance Track by Looper
08. (08:53 – ) Rock Organ and Progressive Rock Organ
09. (10:47 – ) Jazz Organ
10. (11:48 – ) Transistor Organ with 60sPop Music
11. (12:28 – ) VR-09 Editor (Organ mode)
12. (13:14 – ) VR-09 Editor (Synth mode)
Performed by Keiki Uto, Japan