29 March 2011

Not your average TR808

The Roland TR808 has to be my favourite drum machine ever, it's got such a classic sound I'll never tire of. However lots of you out there may be bored of it already which is why I've got something different for you today.

If you examine the right side of my TR808 here you'll notice three inputs and a little switch. "Hmmm..." you are wondering, "what are these for?" Well I'm glad you asked! First of all the little switch there disables (and then re-enables) the built in reverb on the clap. You'll always hear a bit of reverb on a regular 808's clap, however when turned off with a modification like this it can sound quite interesting, mainly because we're so used to the reverb on it probably.

The three inputs are audio inputs which, when connected to an audio source, uses that audio instead of the 808s regular internal audio for different parts of the drum sounds. Confused? I was at first too! Let me explain: Routing audio into input one will replace the noise source used for the snare, toms and the clap signal. So instead of the 808 noise circuit, you'll hear whatever sound you put in when the drum hit sounds.

Routing audio to input two will replace the noise source used in the cymbals, and hi hat, while routing audio to input three will replace the reverb of the clap with the audio.

But enough boring words, I recorded a sample of it using an RSF Kobol (more on this another time) as the audio in. Remember this is all just the TR808 main output, no reverb or other effects were used except for a tiny bit of compression (the kind that wouldn't make Bob Katz cry hopefully):

Modified TR808 by splitradix

Edit: Rick just commented below to let me know he's the one who modified this very 808! His website can be found here: www.electricmusicbox.com

18 March 2011

Musical Synthi

So I thought I'd start off with probably my favourite synth, the EMS Synthi A. This monophonic instrument was built all the way back in 1972 and is the oldest synth I own! I think the Synthi has earned a bit of a reputation for being mostly a source for crazy special effects, but you can also make it sound very musical depending on how you patch it. The Synthi has two CV ins so in this example I had oscillator one and oscillator two being modulated separately, there's only one gate in though so they're both being triggered at the same time. The Synthi was recorded with no additional effects, the small amount of reverb is from its own internal spring reverb (although there's a bit of additional reverb on the 808 that comes in about half way through).

The video quality is a bit grainy, but the audio is taken directly from Logic (except for a tiny bit at the start).

17 March 2011


In an effort to combat writers block I've decided to start a blog about electronic music equipment, mostly dealing with the gear I own but maybe sometimes talking about other interesting things. I'm a big fan of analogue synthesisers but I have a lot of time for strange sounding digital things also.

I'll be posting pictures, videos and sound samples of various things, hopefully somebody out there will find it interesting!