The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
TR-707/TR-09 'Song Mode' a must for arranging tracks?
Old 19th May 2020
  #1
TR-707/TR-09 'Song Mode' a must for arranging tracks?

I have been meaning to ask this for awhile now, so decided to finally go ahead and do so, as it is killing me trying to find out what the best way would be to create whole tracks, using my TR-707 and TR-09.

What I am basically wondering is whether the 'song mode' of each unit is a must, in order to create a track using the various patterns programmed into each unit?

I find using the song mode is fantastic to keep the playback of your track tight, with timing and flow being where it should be, as each bar flows into the next, during playback.
I do find it a chore however, putting the track together this way, as you have to fumble around and remember which patterns are which, so you can assign them to the correct slot, in your arrangement.

What I thought I would do instead, was create a pattern on each unit, dump (record/render) this into my DAW (Cubase 10.5), create another pattern, dump this etc. This would be a very quick way to create new patterns efficiently, while using up much less pattern space on the units themselves, while also having better control in seeing what each pattern is, as I can clearly label each event in Cubase, for easy arrangement.
The problem with this is, when I record a 1 bar pattern in Cubase from the machines and then place these recorded patterns/bars next to each other in the project arrangement, they don't flow tight and nicely like they do in the unit, in song mode. You can hear a gap between each bar and it totally ruins everything.

Is using the 'song mode' of the Roland TR machines a must, for putting a song together, or is there a better way, or something I am missing? I would really appreciate any help, or insight into this. Right now, I am simply going back to my Jungle productions, as I find using breakbeats much easier, then these machines for putting tracks together, although I am really feeling I need to take a break from sampling and Jungle and create something more hands on, with the TR machines.

Thank you SO MUCH for anyone who can help.
Old 19th May 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 
rhythmtech's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantankerous View Post

Is using the 'song mode' of the Roland TR machines a must...
Everything I say is conjecture as I don't own the new machines.

But like the old ones, I assume you can make your own patterns within your daw and send the midi out to the TR, to trigger each part?

If you're exporting midi from the TR into your DAW, you may need to trim it if the tempo isn't sync'd. Or the TR may add a beat pre/post loop.
Old 19th May 2020
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmtech View Post
Everything I say is conjecture as I don't own the new machines.

But like the old ones, I assume you can make your own patterns within your daw and send the midi out to the TR, to trigger each part?

If you're exporting midi from the TR into your DAW, you may need to trim it if the tempo isn't sync'd. Or the TR may add a beat pre/post loop.
Hi there and thank you for the reply.

Yes, you can send midi to the units from the DAW, but this defeats the purpose of how the machines operate and how they deliver 'their sound', which is due to the way the internal sequencer works on each device. The internal sequencer is what gives the drum machines their definitive groove, feeling and overall sound. Programming the machines is a breeze, it is just trying to found out the best way to get all my patterns arranged in order, that is racking my brain. Song mode in the unit, which has its own set of problems, or recording each bar, one by one into Cubase, which has its own set of problems (unless I am missing something!)
Old 19th May 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
What I do with my TR-707 is program a bunch of different patterns. Then I record them into my DAW on a single audio track. I then chop them up in loops and move them around while I write and arrange a track. At the very end I program the entire drum track in the 707 in song mode and then record the drums on separate audio tracks. Yes, it's a bit of a faff but only takes 30 mins and you get that vibe.

I dont want to send the TR midi from my DAW as it just has a certain groove by itself (which may be imagined )

Best of both worlds.
Old 19th May 2020
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by omsk View Post
What I do with my TR-707 is program a bunch of different patterns. Then I record them into my DAW on a single audio track. I then chop them up in loops and move them around while I write and arrange a track. At the very end I program the entire drum track in the 707 in song mode and then record the drums on separate audio tracks. Yes, it's a bit of a faff but only takes 30 mins and you get that vibe.

I dont want to send the TR midi from my DAW as it just has a certain groove by itself (which may be imagined )

Best of both worlds.
THANK YOU! This is the kind of answer I am looking for!

So you are doing what I was thinking of doing, but I am wondering how it is working for you, as it doesn't so well, for me.

You said you program a bunch of patterns in the 707 and then record them into your DAW on an audio track, which you then chop up into loops (bars?) and move them around, to form an arrangement.

Do your loops line up cohesively when you do this? When I do this, the bars don't quite join together and upon playback, there is a small, but noticeable gap between each bar transition, that really kills the vibe.

I do see you mentioned that in the end, you end up using song mode anyways, so perhaps you do notice a playback issue and you are only arranging the recorded loops as a quick reference and template, which you then reprogram into the 707, for final playback?

No, you are not imaging things. The internal sequencer IS what gives these machines their soul and is exactly why I would like to stick with this workflow, much like you.

If you have any other insight, or details into how you are working in this manner, I would love to hear more from you. Your answer is exactly what I was looking for and I really appreciate it.

I may try what you are doing and use both recorded loops and song mode, in order to obtain my final track. Since the TR-09 and TR-707 work identically, I would like to adapt whatever method works best, for both machines.

Do you have any final tracks I could hear of you using your 707, in the above mentioned manner? I would really love to hear it!

Thanks so much again and I hope to hear more from you (or anyone else that can help out!)
Old 19th May 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
Yeah - when I slice up the initial 707 recording into e.g. four bar loops I get clicks - e.g. when using the crash and ride which are longer sounds. I could apply little fades but these kill the vibe for me.

Here you go - here's one with the 707



Here's one with a 909 and 707

Old 19th May 2020
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by omsk View Post
Yeah - when I slice up the initial 707 recording into e.g. four bar loops I get clicks - e.g. when using the crash and ride which are longer sounds. I could apply little fades but these kill the vibe for me.

Here you go - here's one with the 707



Here's one with a 909 and 707

HELL YA! WHAT A WICKED TUNE! This is EXACTLY what I am wanting to do! I am an oldskool junglist and this is all I have done for many years now, but have always had a real appreciation for early 90's Chicago House and Detroit Techno and have always wanted to have a try at this, as much of the sounds and arrangement are the same as in Jungle, with the chord stabs, etc. It never came out right using samples and so grabbed a TR-09 and a TR-707 and instantly found the workflow, vibe and groove I was after, but found it cumbersome to put tracks together, so always went back to doing Jungle, hating myself for not sticking through with things.

You have been a tremendous help, thank you so much, especially from someone seasoned, like you are. I am really glad to hear the confirmation that your audio recordings are only meant for a quick arrangement and that you too, experience a bad flow on bar transitions during playback, this way. I do like your idea to get things going however, without having to worry about shuffling patterns around blind in the 707, until the very end. I will try and work the same way, by creating a bunch of patterns, dumping them to audio for reference, making sure to very clearly label what pattern they are in the 707 and then arrange it all in song mode, at the end, when I have everything sitting the way I would like.

On average, how many 'different' patterns do you find you use in a track? I always wonder how I can keep things simple, without worrying about too many edits, like I do when working with breakbeat loops. Making a single edit on the 09 and 707, eats up an entire pattern, which make sit hard to juggle and put together, when I have so many random ones all over the place.
Old 19th May 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
"On average, how many 'different' patterns do you find you use in a track?"

Varies - I would say about 10 on average. The first track is only about 5 though I think.

I also only use 2 synths - alpha juno and juno 60 plus the occasional vocal stab in logic's sampler.

Like to keep it really simple.
Old 19th May 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by omsk View Post
"On average, how many 'different' patterns do you find you use in a track?"

Varies - I would say about 10 on average. The first track is only about 5 though I think.

I also only use 2 synths - alpha juno and juno 60 plus the occasional vocal stab in logic's sampler.

Like to keep it really simple.
Awesome! Wow, so 5-10 is all you do? I am definitely over doing it then. I tend to make pattern, after pattern, after pattern with simple little edits throughout and have dozens of them in the end, scattered all over the place, making it really hard to keep track of what is what. Ugh.

I have the TR-09 and TR-707, but also have an EM-U Orbit, Quasimidi Technox, Roland JV-1080 and an SH-01A that I hope to transition over from Jungle, to House/Techno. I too have a very large sampler library in HALion, that I tend to use in Cubase with vocal stabs etc. I have an Alesis Midiverb II and a Yamaha SPX990 for effects.

Thank you so much! You have been a great help. I checked your tracks and they are all such an inspiration for me. They sound so full and warm and that is the sound I am going to strive to achieve.

All the best with your music and maybe one day I will have something for you to check out, putting all your help to hard work!

Old 20th May 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
Good luck!

Nice chatting with you.
Old 20th May 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 
jbuonacc's Avatar
i don’t understand how you can be used to working with chopping and sequencing breakbeat loops for jungle, but not apply the same mindset/workflow to recorded drum machine loops.

just by sampling a few different drum machine patterns you can come up with tons of variations by chopping and arranging them.
Old 20th May 2020
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuonacc View Post
i don’t understand how you can be used to working with chopping and sequencing breakbeat loops for jungle, but not apply the same mindset/workflow to recorded drum machine loops.

just by sampling a few different drum machine patterns you can come up with tons of variations by chopping and arranging them.
Ah, the difference is all in the visuals. When working with breakbeat loops as long as I have, using software such as Recycle and quantized midi notes to represent each drum 'slice', it gives me a constant visual, hands on approach, that is very easy to manipulate. When dealing with drum machines however, there is no visual and it is all in the unit. You aren't understanding. The entire point of my question was to NOT rely on recording the drum machines for sequencing, but instead, relying on the internal sequencer of the drum machine to put patterns together, to form complete songs, which means no visual whatsoever. I did not want to dump audio, chop those up and rearrange each hit, as in doing that, it loses the entire feel and groove that the internal sequencer offers of the drum machine. If that were the case, I might as well just use samples. I was simply inquiring about workarounds, in order to keep better organized in how I can put patterns together in the drum machines and omsk gave me an idea to have the best of both worlds. Yes, he dumps patterns to audio, but not without shortcomings. This is simply a means to put together a 'rough arrangement', to get things in the order you want, but all these patterns then get properly arranged in the internal sequencer of the drum machine, for the final mixdown. Takes more time, but I get to work more organized this way and it is much easier to simply plug in patterns in the order I want at the end, after I have seen it all in audio form, then dealing with chaining patterns together in the drum machine that I can't see at all. Gets a bit hairy in a 5-6 minute song with dozens and dozens of patterns all being mixed about. I am not one for repetition and copy and pasting, so I tend to get carried away in having variety in my tunes, which leads to a lot of extra time and work that I need to get a proper hold of.
Old 22nd May 2020
  #13
Lives for gear
 
NawSon's Avatar
 

To me most of the fun of using the 707 and the TR is programming everything on the fly. I’ve done live shows on a TR-909 and TR-8 where it’s just running the entire time and I’m making new patterns on various drums and then slamming them into the mix. Once you become good at this you can even do cool little edits and things pretty easily if you so choose.

Especially if you have everything else sequenced just start practicing doing it live alongside that **** while working to hit your transitions on time. Maybe you won’t like that. But for me that’s how you get energy into the track.

Definitely don’t do the chopping things up like it’s a jungle track suggestion. If you like the sound of old Chicago and Detroit records, they were most likely doing one of two things: playing the drums live like I said, or using an MPC with samples. Look at old Cajmere, his **** is MPC60 almost entirely.
Old 22nd May 2020
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by NawSon View Post
To me most of the fun of using the 707 and the TR is programming everything on the fly. I’ve done live shows on a TR-909 and TR-8 where it’s just running the entire time and I’m making new patterns on various drums and then slamming them into the mix. Once you become good at this you can even do cool little edits and things pretty easily if you so choose.

Especially if you have everything else sequenced just start practicing doing it live alongside that **** while working to hit your transitions on time. Maybe you won’t like that. But for me that’s how you get energy into the track.

Definitely don’t do the chopping things up like it’s a jungle track suggestion. If you like the sound of old Chicago and Detroit records, they were most likely doing one of two things: playing the drums live like I said, or using an MPC with samples. Look at old Cajmere, his **** is MPC60 almost entirely.
Thanks so much for sharing, I really do appreciate your insight.

Programming everything on the fly, was kind of what I was getting at. The problem is, I am not nearly good, or fast enough, to be able to make unnoticed edits, before the bar pattern is done being played. It would be a disaster. It is why I thought of doing everything on the fly for the 1 bar pattern, then dumping this to a 1 bar audio track, then creating another pattern, dumping this etc. In trying this however, was when I noticed the bars don't join together and flow as expected, which left me really gutted. If one wants the true feel and groove, it must all be played in order, from the internal sequencer of the unit itself. This got me realizing how cumbersome it is to have to remember what pattern is what, so you can properly join them in order, in the song mode of the drum machine. My question was asking how others are dealing with this and the above mentioned he does it both ways. He dumps to audio for a quick arrangement, warts and all, but then after he likes what he hears, he chains it all together in the unit and then does the final mixdown that way, which I liked. Since no one has been able to come up with any better methods, I guess this is best way to go, even if it does take a little more time in the long run, to accomplish.
Old 22nd May 2020
  #15
Lives for gear
 
NoVi's Avatar
Back in the day when I used the TR-707 that was my only (known) way of working, combining patterns into songs. And to even make it more complicated on top of it I sequenced tracks (bass etc) for which I used a QX-7.
The introduction of the DAW changed all that.

Decades later I purchased the TR-8 hoping to work again with song mode, only to find out it was not there anymore. Nevertheless TR-8 had good integration with DAW that made it easy to create/ adjust new patterns based on the basic one, so the effect of a song mode was pretty much the same.

I see the TR-707 has a Sync In, so maybe you can sync it to a DAW through an Arturia Keystep or something similar.
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 670 views: 76974
Avatar for YashN
YashN 4 weeks ago
replies: 53 views: 13220
Avatar for Paradigm X
Paradigm X 13th August 2015
replies: 4204 views: 382485
Avatar for Darxxxell
Darxxxell 16th September 2017
replies: 108 views: 9264
Avatar for earwolf
earwolf 5th June 2019
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump