To celebrate 909 day, a day that celebrates the iconic Roland TR-909, Extralife Instruments has created an online emulation of the Roland TR-909, named the ER-99, offering all of the classic features of the original rhythm iconic drum machine in your browser.
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Extralife Instruments may have created a freeware version of the TR-909, but that doesn’t mean that they have not skipped on any of the detail, with drum sounds being synthesized using WebAudio API, whereas cymbals and hi-hats are sample-based. If you want to go one step further and switch up the samples, that’s possible too because the ER-99 is open source, with the source code available to edit on GitHub.
Included in the TR-99 are all the drums you’d expect: the bass drum, snare drum, low, mid and hi toms, rim shot and hand clap, a closed hi hat and open hi hat and two cymbals.
Sounds on the ER-99 are triggered through the keyboard’s keys from 1-9 and 0, appropriately, however, you can also plug in a MIDI keyboard if you would prefer, but be warned – doing so may cause latency issues. You can also sequence out your drums simply by clicking on the buttons of the 16-step sequencer in the same way you would with a real 909 drum machine.
The drums themselves have a number of separate controls to create your desired sound. The bass drum has both attack and decay, as well as drive, tuning and a handy envelope over the pitch, while the snare has a ring control.
The ER-99 lets you edit the sequences of different bars, from one to four, with the option to edit the length of each bar. There is a built-in compressor to add depth to your pattern, an adjustable swing knob to create a human feel and an option to adjust the impact of accented notes. If all the features and options are too overwhelming, though, you can also just smash the Jumble button which randomizes your selected instrument’s sequence, to provide extra inspiration.
There is also the option to save patterns, alongside the presets that have been set up by Extralife to get you started.
Play ER-99 at extralifeinstruments.com.
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