We know what you are thinking. “Oh, no! Not another 808/909 emulation!” Despite the overwhelming amount of toys and plugins aping Roland‘s ancient circuits, the world clearly hasn’t gotten enough of the ol’ “boom-tss-clap-tss” just yet. The instruments are as relevant as they have ever been, so let’s welcome Synsonic’s enthusiastic and expanded recreations of their bass drum sounds. Especially since they are given out for free, and available on both Windows and Mac, 32-bit and 64-bit!
Both underlying signal processing for the BD-808 and BD-909 are based on detailed analyses of the machines’ original bass drum circuits, so there’s plenty of boom and punch to be squeezed out of them. However, the developers say they took advantage of digital technology’s possibilities to add additional bells and whistles. So you aren’t limited to just the original sounds, whose familiarity is, let’s face it, borderline annoying.
The BD-808 Bass Drum has the original soundshaping parameters – Accent, Level, Decay, and Tone – along with some new additions:
Tune: Tuning in halftones
Fine: Tuning in cents
LongDecay: Extends decay range
MidiSync–Tune: Tune depends on played Midi-Note
MidiSync–Accent: Accent depends on Velocity of played Midi-Note
Moreover, the BD-808’s pitch can be controlled via MIDI, which means exactly what you think it means – it can be played as an actual bass synthesizer. Rad! Speaking of which, you can map all the controls to your MIDI keyboard as well, for wicked automation and expressiveness.
The BD-909 has been upgraded in similar fashion. The expanded soundshaping possibilities include distortion, noise decay, tune depth, hold and pitch. With all the original parameters plus the new tweaks, you can craft your own individual, less generic bass drum sounds. They will be reminiscent of classic Roland drum machine noises, but with extra flavour added. Alas, the BD-909 doesn’t have the extended MIDI capabilities of the BD-808.
Grab the free BD-808 and BD-909 plug-ins from Synsonic here!