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Making Drums from Scratch - Questions about 909 Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 16th April 2018
  #1
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Thread Starter
Making Drums from Scratch - Questions about 909

I use synths almost entirely for my music, and I'm starting to build my own drum kits with sounds from my various synths (hardware / Software). I wanted to ask, I have the bass and hats and snares all working well with noise and envelopes, but the clap ... I understand the 909 is a fully analog drum machine, what oscillators are being used to generate a 909 clap? It's not a sample chip is it? How can I emulate a clap sound from the synthesis level?

Thank you!

- G.
Old 16th April 2018
  #2
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monomer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gilesdickerson View Post
I use synths almost entirely for my music, and I'm starting to build my own drum kits with sounds from my various synths (hardware / Software). I wanted to ask, I have the bass and hats and snares all working well with noise and envelopes, but the clap ... I understand the 909 is a fully analog drum machine, what oscillators are being used to generate a 909 clap? It's not a sample chip is it? How can I emulate a clap sound from the synthesis level?

Thank you!

- G.
The 909 is actually an analog/digital hybrid with special circuits generating the sounds.
You should read some internet because all this stuff is extensively documented.
Old 16th April 2018
  #3
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usedtohaveajuno's Avatar
The hi-hats, ride and cymbal are samples, the clap is analogue.

It's noise and snap - I can kinda do one on my 101 but it's not got complex enough controls to pull off a decent clap!!
Old 16th April 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gilesdickerson View Post
How can I emulate a clap sound from the synthesis level?

Thank you!

- G.

White noise into bandpass filter.Then mess with filter envelope amount & decay time & add some resonance.Layer 3 synths & offset the time by a few milliseconds on the 2nd & 3rd at track level
Old 16th April 2018
  #5
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monomer's Avatar
 

Guys, you can't make a 909 clap with a typical synth.
At least you will need like a 7 stage envelope or something else to generaqte the repeating pulse of semi-noise. You can fake some stuff with lfo's but it won't sound like a 909 easily.
If you want to synthesize that stuff i'd say start with getting a modular.
You're gonna need specialized envelopes, specialized noise sources, lots of stuff not easily available on most synths.
Old 1st May 2018
  #6
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Thread Starter
I'll bet Zebra 2 has envelopes that are flexible enough for this kind of thing, that might be a fun experiment.
Old 1st May 2018
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Old 1st May 2018
  #8
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Cool! What's this a diagram of?
Old 1st May 2018
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BTByrd's Avatar
The 909's clap. It's from the circuit diagram in the service manual. You can see the basic architecture for each voice.
Old 1st May 2018
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Perfect! TY.
Old 1st May 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtohaveajuno View Post
The hi-hats, ride and cymbal are samples, the clap is analogue.

It's noise and snap - I can kinda do one on my 101 but it's not got complex enough controls to pull off a decent clap!!
The noise source for the clap,etc is digital and not completely random..

Last edited by Acid Mitch; 1st May 2018 at 05:36 PM..
Old 1st May 2018
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Old 1st May 2018
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BTByrd's Avatar
The best resource for how to synthesize TR- (or other) drum sounds is Gordon Reid's series on drum synthesis for Sound on Sound. It's part of the "Synth Secrets" series. Their website is kind of strangely organized, but I think this link will work for now. He doesn't go over the clap, but he goes over an awful lot. Some fascinating reading. Learning the architecture of the 808 kick was a revelation. The same for many of the other classic drum voices. I learned that while these machines may be analog, they're often using techniques and circuitry (and ICs) that aren't commonly found on your garden variety subtractive analog monosynth. Which is why it can be so difficult to roll your own.
It's also nice that there are have started to be super-deluxe versions of classic TR circuits, like the Hexinverter Mutant series and the TipTop drum modules (along with many of others, I'm sure).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Mitch View Post
The noise source is digital and not completely random..
Speaking of digital noise, having colors of noise and pitched noise available can be of great help when trying to fine-tune your drum sounds. Bandpass filters can help you narrow in on things too, but it's nice to be able to manipulate the spectrum itself (i.e., "play the noise") as well as filter it out. So I always like to suggest that people have some colorful noise on hand. And not just white / pink / red / whatever. My two main spectrum blasters are: the Modcan VCDO (aka FMDO) that has a pitched noise waveform that you can also FM; also the Malekko Noisering, which as a white noise output and will scream bloody murder from the 1 and 2's if you drive it at audio rates. There are lots of other noise sources out there that are fun, and many fun ways to process white noise to give it new character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gilesdickerson View Post
Here's a link to the 909 service manual, this is actually an incredible read http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb447909/di...als/TR-909.pdf
I linked to the manual when I mentioned it above. Incredible read indeed.
Old 1st May 2018
  #14
edit. I uploaded an example


you can make a clap sound from an analogue synth without multi stage envelopes if your synth has a PWM wave that you can also modulate with noise.

the basic method is you make a snare like sound using noise to modulate a square wave. then modulate the PW of that square with an envelope so that the width becomes so narrow during the attack phase that it breaks up the signal.

It's very effective, not quite a 909.

download the synth drums taster pack for a couple of examples. all the claps in the synth drums library are made with this method. (click on free sounds) Synth Drums | Drum Sounds

an alternate method is to synthesize a snare in what ever way you like and then sample it and edit the sample to create the difficult to synthesize front transients.
use a 909 sample as a comparison - visual aid. It's very easy to do with this as a reference.

as to hats and cymbals. although these are samples in the 909 you CAN actually synthesise something very very close to a 909 cymbal without samples using hybrid analogue and digital synthesis techniques.

Last edited by golden beers; 1st May 2018 at 06:31 PM..
Old 1st May 2018
  #15
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Zaphod Betamax's Avatar
Ironic though, that this is the internet as well!


Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
The 909 is actually an analog/digital hybrid with special circuits generating the sounds.
You should read some internet because all this stuff is extensively documented.
Old 1st May 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod Betamax View Post
Ironic though, that this is the internet as well!
Yes, and now it becomes part of the ever growing repeat of the same information.
I bet this topic has been covered many times on GS alone.
And i was reacting to the OP stating that the 909 was an all analog box. Now i don't even want to count how often that has been mentioned here and elsewhere.
Old 2nd May 2018
  #17
The envelope is the hardest part. There are usually 2 quick “slaps” and one slap followed by the decay. You can approximate the separate attacks using a mono synth voice with very short release, 0 sustain and decay to your taste. Then, the secret is using midi programming. 2 short midi notes followed by a long note (held until the decay rings out) will give you the “ta-ta-taaa” envelope. You can space the first two midi notes as you like.

This obviously only works for programming rather than live finger drumming, but I find it effective. Also, you can then sample this clap and you’re good.

I like to treat midi programming as part of the synthesis process, and I find some interesting sounds doing things with this “ratchet” midi effect on many different sources.
Old 2nd May 2018
  #18
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BTByrd's Avatar
The most tricked-out clap on the block. Not to be confused with the most clapped-out trick on the block.



It's based on the 909 circuit, but it's so much more. There's a nice sweep of the digital noise at 4:45. That's the sort of "colored noise" that I was talking about being so useful for percussion synthesis.
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