A pricey jacket may have overshadowed the rest of the news, but yes, Roland does have some 909 swag and sounds for those of us on a budget, too.
Roland continues to expand its “Roland Lifestyle” brand:
I see plenty of folks scoffing at this, but it’s fair to say Roland has done a great job of preserving its classic brands, as have their Japanese neighbors at KORG (and KORG with the ARP brand, as well). And there’s nothing quite as recognizable to the general public as the 303, 808, and 909, either – their reach across genres is something most other synth makers can’t match. (This should also raise the question of why Yamaha and Casio do so little – particularly Casio with its neglected CZ legacy.)
Anyway, I’m going to guess that anyone reading this site will spend any spare $500 on gear, not a bomber jacket. But I’m keeping an eye on what they’re doing, as they did put out a very cool snapback hat and a couple of tees with DJ-focused platform BPM Supreme.
BPM Supreme also have a very nice-sounding free 909 sound pack, routed through vintage samplers (think E-MU SP). Some grungry sampled 909 will always immediately hit some nice notes. Even if you’re not a subscriber, you can go grab that for an intro subscription of about a dollar and then cancel if you don’t want it. It’s a bit confusing, but you want the BPM Supreme Create side for the samples.
- TR-909 – Neve 1073 pre – E-MU SP-1200
- TR-909 – Neve 1073 pre – Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1UW MKII
- TR-909 – Neve 1073 pre – API 2500 stereo buss compressor
Okay, yes, there is something slightly odd about pairing a Neve and and E-MU, like pairing a fine steak tartare with some Chicken McNuggets, but the result sounds great (even if it I think just sounds like the SP-1200).
BPM Supreme is also generally an interesting platform play, with the notion of sending exclusive remixes and edits to DJs and providing stuff like a handy DJ news app (missing this site, but you already have this site as your homepage, I hope). I did just sign up, and it seems someone believes I’m a pro DJ as I claim – so thanks for that.
The really important news for 909 Day to me, though, is this. If you want a great-sounding emulation, you can get it via Roland Cloud. And now, even though it’s not July, you can also get the awesome 707/727 with the equivalent of all the top mods, as I covered recently. That’s not even me shilling for their products; it’s just an admission that this stuff is too convenient to pass up. Bonus: they’re now Apple Silicon native, too.
It’s not your only choice, though. Polish boutique dev D16 has an absolutely exception emulation of the original and a really nice sequencer that I prefer to Roland’s creation in the Drumagog, and it’s on sale for 29EUR right now. That’s cheap enough to be worth considering even if you do have a Roland Cloud subscription, and I think it’s the best buy on the market if you don’t (especially since you’ll rack that up in just over one month on the subscription side).
And if you want an exact replica, the RE-909 is still stunning. I noticed a couple of people just had theirs arrive in the mail, and I wish them some very, very happy 909 times. The RE-808 is even more impressive from an engineering standpoint, of course.
Plus the old news stillholds: you can absolutely turn Roland’s TR-8S into a 909 (and 808 and 707 and 727 and FM synth and loaded up with your own one-shots), you have faders, you can easily connect to computer, and if you’re me, you literally select suitcases with a mind to sticking one in them any time you’re traveling.