November 14, 2006

909 + 303 = 1212. I guess.

by Chris Randall

I've been keeping an eye on this new company D16 Audio Group for a bit now, both from a professional standpoint (in my role as VP of Audio Damage) and as an interested bystander.

They released a 303 emulator called Phoscyon a couple months back, and someone tipped me to it via the AI tip line (I forget who, so sorry for not giving you props). The thing that caught my eye was the UI, obviously done in 3DS Max (which is my own chosen medium of UI design; I can see it a mile away.) In any case, we were like "well, they're certainly on the right track."

Today, they announced Drumazon (glamor shot pictured above), which is a 909 emulator. The one thing I'll say about these guys is that they don't do anything by half measures. Both of these plugs seem to be incredibly thorough representations of their respective inspirations. I haven't nutted up and bought either of them, nor downloaded the demos (available for the 303), but I've listened to the audio demos, and they seem to have gotten quite close to the mark with both.

Anyways, if you make the crazy electronic dance music all the kids love today, you probably want to take a gander at these two. $117 for the 303 and $163 for the 909. VSTi only, but both Win and UB OSX.



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Nov.15.2006 @ 12:03 PM
Bjorn Vayner
On a related note, Audiorealism started the betacycle for ABL 2.

New features include:

- Pattern analyzer with Audio detection
- Improved filter emulation
- Accent ducking
- Pattern library
- MIDI Learn function now displays all mapped CCs
- Load multiple patterns at once
- Preferences dialog for easier setup
- Pattern section buttons are now MIDI assignable
- ABL2 imports the following file formats: RBS, PH and PAT
- PNG support for easier user skinning
- All ABL1 features remain

Obsessed with 20 year old machines or not...
We still gotta tweak them with ancient MIDI.

2 steps forward, one step back ;-)


Nov.15.2006 @ 12:07 PM
this is probably a little off-topic given the direction of the thread, but I did download the demo of the Phoscyon (not exactly catchy) 303 emulator.

while the above perspective shot of the 909 monstrosity is gorgeous, I've got to say that the GUI of the 303 is not. some of the text is hard to make out, which makes it a bit challenging to get into since they've added a number of functions to the basic 303 layout.

it sounds great - reminds me a bit of the first time I fired up ReBirth many, many, many years ago. but the interface kills it for me, and were I to need a 303 emulator with sequencer built-in, I'd go for Audio Realism's Bass Line: link []">link []

for those 909 fans out there, the GUI for the Drumazon looks much improved.


Nov.15.2006 @ 12:09 PM
I call almost all electronic music techno even though it's totally different because many people put Brazillian tropicalia, African drumming, and Indian ragas in the blanket "World Music" category.

IMHO you can instantly tell a person's willingness to do so by if they call both a samba and a bossa "Latin music". Most people who are familiar with the genres will rarely misuse the term.


Nov.15.2006 @ 12:31 PM
Adam Schabtach
My reaction when Chris pointed this new 909 emulator out to me was "it's the rebirth of ReBirth!" I also wonder how many 909 emulations the world needs.

On the other hand, I realized at some point that certain electronic sounds--such as the 909 and the 303--are so firmly associated with certain kinds of music that in a sense you can't make those kinds of music without them. This is not a new phenomenon; e.g. you need a tuba for certain kinds of polka and a banjo for certain kinds of bluegrass.

Personally I'd rather buy another ER-1 than pay for that 909 emulator, but I'm a sucker for blinky lights. Out of all of the drum machines I've owned over the years, the 808 and the ER-1 are the only ones I regret selling. However, GURU, by our pals at fxpansion, pretty much covers my beatbox needs (aside from the blinky lights).

I still kick myself for not buying the 909 I saw for $179 years ago.

I'm over 40 and I'm basically clueless about the names of different sub-genres of dance music, but I'm not so clueless that I bandy the term "techno" about.



Nov.15.2006 @ 12:50 PM
neilium, inasilentway - excellent points. I didn't mean to come off sounding arrogant with my last post; I was just waiting for someone to followup with message somehow including the term "full of techno" ;-)

BTW I'm over 30 myself.


Nov.15.2006 @ 1:36 PM
This is a cool product. I've been selling off gear as virtual replacement really are good enough... I got rid of my 909 when I got Battery 2... I just stopped using the 909 to the point it gathered dust. Ill grab this VST for sure!

Where's an awesome 808 emulator now??


Nov.15.2006 @ 2:57 PM
i like having the actual hardware in front of me. taking it to a friends house or sitting on the couch w/headphones.. no computer in site.. and just jamming. it's nice to get away from the damn LCD once in a while.

the other day some friends and i rocked out w/hardware in the basement for 3 hours. it seemed like 10 minutes. a couple of drummachines and an evolver go a long long way and it's way different than 3 people jamming w/laptops (something else i enjoy doing). next time we'll multitrack it all and edit out the bad parts. viola! instant EP.

that's my pro-hardware rant. but we all know.. nothing travels like a laptop (not to mention helps me keep my sanity while visiting the parental unit over the holidays!)

oh, synth sleezey.. there's a pretty good 808 emulator in the reaktor library.


Nov.15.2006 @ 3:38 PM
I've had better luck getting good sounds with hardware synths, digital and analog, rather than soft synths. I'm always trying soft synths just because there's so many of them and I want very much to make the most of my computer. The idea of an everything box has a very deep appeal to me. But come mix time, the sounds that came out of the "real" world seem to sit better and need less massaging than the virtual synth sounds.

Let it be known that I have a decidedly amateur and crappy USB audio in, so I'm at a loss as to why things work this way.


Nov.15.2006 @ 3:47 PM

ER-1s go for next to nothing on ebay... The 808 might be harder to come by, but you can "live the dream" of an ER-1 pretty easily. I admit that I really liked the ER-1 when it came out, but didn't buy one just because they were so common at the time that the sounds were getting so played out. If I had my choice of a 303 and 909, or an EA-1 and ER-1, I would go for the latter: A very similiar combo to be sure, but just a little bit different than your typical 303 and 909.


Nov.15.2006 @ 5:23 PM
"It's not that I'm not aware of all the various dance music subgenres around now; I'm just bored and disgusted with the balkanization of music."

What a great quote. 100% with you on that, in a personal way as well... people often ask "What kind of music do you play?" After many unrewarding attempts at describing the catalog of influences, styles and genres that led me here - and meeting with confused looks or blank stares - I've just started answering "American Music." Which still gets confused looks and blank stares, but amuses me.

Some seem vaguely offended that I haven't picked a musical tribe that I definitely, 1000% percent belong to. I guess if I absosmurfly had to, I'd end up saying something like "American music descriptive and derivative of influences generated from the early to late twentieth and early twenty-first century A.D., featuring acoustic, electrically amplified and electronically generated instruments."

Ick. Blank stares guar-un-teeed.

Hey, can someone come up with a stylistic label for what I just described? I need to get a group conscience going so I can sneer at people who aren't pure like me.


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