System 80 have been teasing their Eurorack take on the TR-808 Rhythm Composer for some time. The 880 Drum Machine is almost ready and System80 have just opened up preorders.
880 Drum Machine
It certainly looks the part. Somehow they’ve managed to squeeze it down into the sort of format that would make Behringer very proud. Behringer though has opted for a full-sized replica of the classic drum machine. So it’s been left to System80 to demonstrate how well this machine can fit into the 3U Eurorack format. They’ve gone for the 60HP wide format of the Moog Mother-32 and it neatly fits into a Moog 60HP case. It is only available as a module though so you will have to drop it into your existing case or get a case and power supply to suit.
The 880 aims to be a recreation of the classic original coupling 16 analog drum voices to an enhanced “TR-style” step sequencer. Exactly how it differs in functionality is difficult to say at the moment as the website doesn’t go into that much detail. Here’s the feature list.
- 16 analog drum voices (6 single voices, 5 switchable dual voices) with global accent
- Pattern sequencer with 1-32 steps
- 12 banks of 16 patterns
- 16 rhythm tracks
- Shuffle and roll modes
- External MIDI triggering of drum voices
- 11 individual drum voice outputs + master output with volume control
- 2 assignable trigger outputs
- External sync via MIDI clock, DIN Sync or clock pulse.
System80 say that the 880 has a non-commercial open source license and that the files and firmware will be available on Github. They also mention a trigger expander is currently in development which will presumably let you trigger other drum modules.
I imagine there was a collective sigh of relief when Behringer revealed their full-sized RD-808. Maybe it was the wrongly assumed inevitability of a Eurorack Behringer 808 clone that has dragged their feet a little. There’s no way that a small modular company like System80 can compete with the manufacturing might of MusicTribe/Behringer and so you are not going to find this rivalling the RD-808 on price. System80 is asking for $975 which seems about right in a non-Behringer world. Going on the quality of their other modules then this is going to be a first-class piece of kit. Large for a Eurorack module but about the size it needs to be to get sensible use out of it. They are expecting to ship the first batch by the end of the year.
One other thing. In one of the demo videos (below) they mention an “810” which is not currently on their website. The video description says it handles the lead and glimpses of the front panel suggest it’s some kind of complete synth voice. That’s very exciting. I have their JOVE filter and it’s one of the best things in my rack.