Over the weekend Uli Behringer was back engaging with the community updating us on the status of the long-awaited RD-9 and asking exactly how authentic we wanted a Roland CR78 clone.
Apparently Behringer has received a lot of requests for a clone of the classic Roland CR78 drum machine. Well, it’s less of a drum machine and more of a rhythm box that came loaded with preset patterns and variations covering such classic floor fillers as Rock, Disco, Waltz, Shuffle, Slow Rock, Swing, Fox Trot, Tango and of course Rhumba. These rhythms were selectable on the deliciously colourful front panel with classic 70s Sci-Fi buttons.
Uli has been asking whether we really need all those rhythms instantly selectable and could they hide them away in a sequencer and save a load of money by removing the buttons. He goes as far to say that perhaps they could build the sound engine into the same case as the recently announced RD-6 clone of the Roland TR-606. He then opens it up for anyone to design the best solution and the chosen designer will win an RD-6 – nice!
Here’s an example from someone called George P who has rearranged it into a Eurorack friendly format:
This raises the question of how authentic do we want our authentic clones of vintage gear? It’s a question that keeps emerging when we look at the replication of old synths with features that are not necessarily helpful in modern workflows. Things like the Hz/V control voltage of the K-2 or the S-Trig in the System 55 Moog modular clones. In order to be authentic then these machines need to have all the facets of the original, warts and all, or are we happy to have the more difficult features irradicated and accept a less authentic experience? Adding a sequencer at all to the CR78 is already a departure from the original as to program your own patterns you had to get the additional TS-1 or WS-1 box. So maybe some change is inevitable.
There are over 400 responses on Facebook which cover all eventualities from people wanting absolute authenticity to people wanting a single box with all the drum machine sounds from everything inside it.
For me, I appreciate a machine for its physicality. The attraction of hardware is in the object itself more than its contents of a certain bunch of sounds.
But if you want to join in the discussion head over to the Behringer Facebook page.
Meanwhile, many people were disappointed not to see the RD-9 in the NAMM videos. Uli has issued an update just to keep everyone in the loop. The deal is that they’ve been putting a lot of energy into tweaking the RD-8 firmware and responding to users requests in order to get it as right as they can. This has prevented them from working on the RD-9 but now they can give it their full attention. They mention how it will share much of the same firmware and so all the RD-8 development will also make the RD-9 a better product. They’ve also been reworking the hardware so other than the wait it’s all good. No news on a shipping date yet.