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New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

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New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:15 am
by desmond
It seems many of the original "Mid-O" team at Roland, responsible for the 606/202/303/808/909/707 etc have teamed up to develop a new 808-inspired software drum synthesizer.

On their web site, they also have great information about developing the original instruments - worth a read if you're interested in this type of thing.

https://vector808.jimdofree.com/home/about-us/
https://vector808.jimdofree.com/home/episodes-of-the-mid-o-series/

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:25 am
by Hugh Robjohns
Interesting read. Thanks.

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:26 am
by BillB
Nice:

“like paintings are with photography, synthesizers are with samplers”

That expressed something I have long felt, but could not define.

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:50 am
by BillB
Compared to our current position of taking technical knowledge and resources for granted, it is fascinating to see how the development team was at the then cutting edge of analogue and digital electronics, and how they were shaped by economic and commercial pressures. Also, how generously they credit the transition, from commercial failures to revered musical instruments, to the musicians themselves.

Great read, thanks Desmond.

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:42 pm
by The Elf
Great to see the faces and the thought processes behind those iconic machines.

Wouldn't it be great to know what other ideas such a team could come up with?...

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:13 pm
by Adam Inglis
"But the initial reputation of the 808 was nothing but crippled as it was compared with the Linn products. Furthermore, the sound had insufficient impact or punch at the beginning, which resulted to have pronounced fundamental frequency 60 Hz. But then again, it was this prominent fundamental which attracted the attention of later time hip-hop and EDM artists, and they gave a name to it as “Deep Decay”. This led to the rediscovery of Mid-O Series. The long decay sound was made possible by decay parameter that I added to show at least as a sign or as an evidence of the 808 being a synthesizer. Even inside the company this was regarded as going too far, but later it became one of vital identities of the 808. Nowadays you can hear pretty much of its sound even with small monitors or even with headphones, but back in the R&D day of the 808, we had only cheap playback devices in our labs in Roland, and none of us were able to hear nor realize the heavy low bass frequency bands of this killer tone. "

Priceless!
Thanks Desmond

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:29 pm
by Martin Walker
I found the Cymbal, Hi-Hats, Cowbell section the most interesting, in its discussions of how to combine "six pulse wave generators" to achieve "silky metallic noise unique to the 808" 8-)


Martin

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:10 am
by Adam Inglis
Martin Walker wrote:I found the Cymbal, Hi-Hats, Cowbell section the most interesting, in its discussions of how to combine "six pulse wave generators" to achieve "silky metallic noise unique to the 808"

That Roland trick uses a hex schmidt trigger chip to make 6 square wave oscillators all at differing frequencies, that are then band filtered. You'll see it in the schematics of the 808, 606 and the CR5000 and 8000, implemented slightly differently in each case. In the CR machines, two of the same oscillators are used to make the rim shot sound, another classic case of clever Roland economy!

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:29 am
by BillB
Adam Inglis wrote:
Martin Walker wrote:That Roland trick uses a hex schmidt trigger chip to make 6 square wave oscillators all at differing frequencies, that are then band filtered. You'll see it in the schematics of the 808, 606 and the CR5000 and 8000, implemented slightly differently in each case. In the CR machines, two of the same oscillators are used to make the rim shot sound, another classic case of clever Roland economy!

Thought that ‘rang a bell’ :D
http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/synbal/5903
Perhaps the E&MM Synbal was inspired by the Roland design?

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:51 am
by Zukan
Great read. Thanks.

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:47 am
by Adam Inglis
BillB wrote:Thought that ‘rang a bell’ :D
http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/synbal/5903
Perhaps the E&MM Synbal was inspired by the Roland design?

Wow! Look at that! Well spotted Bill. I wasn't aware of this thing but the circuitry does look awfully similar. Six square waves into a quick n dirty 'ring mod' then on to the filters. Dated 1983, at least 3 years (prob more) since it appeared in Roland products? But still, maybe it was not "original" to Roland...

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:42 pm
by BillB
There are a couple of schematics online which suggest the same, or a similar, approach was used in the CR-78 of 1978(?). This fits in with the article’s statment: “These metallic sounds owe largely to experiences and efforts of H. Nakamura who was involved in developing the CR-68 / 78 sound engines.“

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:56 pm
by N i g e l
Very interesting !
thanks for posting

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:41 pm
by Martin Walker
BillB wrote:
Adam Inglis wrote:
Martin Walker wrote:That Roland trick uses a hex schmidt trigger chip to make 6 square wave oscillators all at differing frequencies, that are then band filtered. You'll see it in the schematics of the 808, 606 and the CR5000 and 8000, implemented slightly differently in each case. In the CR machines, two of the same oscillators are used to make the rim shot sound, another classic case of clever Roland economy!

Thought that ‘rang a bell’ :D
http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/synbal/5903
Perhaps the E&MM Synbal was inspired by the Roland design?

Wow - thanks for that Synbal circuit diagram BillB - I can see some applications for that metallic approach in a device that I've been building.


Martin

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:50 pm
by Folderol
Interesting read :thumbup:

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:21 pm
by BillB
Martin Walker wrote:Wow - thanks for that Synbal circuit diagram BillB - I can see some applications for that metallic approach in a device that I've been building.
Martin

Don’t thank me, thank Desmond (again) :clap:
Great to see the old projects that I drooled over (and even built a couple) back in the day.
I am hoping Desmond will start a new line in producing the PCBs for those old projects :bouncy: to compliment the magazine republishing. I’m sure he hasn’t got much else to occupy him...

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:02 am
by desmond
BillB wrote:I am hoping Desmond will start a new line in producing the PCBs for those old projects :bouncy: to compliment the magazine republishing. I’m sure he hasn’t got much else to occupy him...

I'm adding that request straight to the top of the "To Don't" list... :headbang:

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:11 am
by BillB
desmond wrote:
BillB wrote:I am hoping Desmond will start a new line in producing the PCBs for those old projects :bouncy: to compliment the magazine republishing. I’m sure he hasn’t got much else to occupy him...

I'm adding that request straight to the top of the "To Don't" list... :headbang:

:lol:

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:38 am
by Folderol
I think I need to start one of those lists too :?

Re: New 808 emulation from original 808 designers

PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:02 pm
by nathanscribe
BillB wrote:There are a couple of schematics online which suggest the same, or a similar, approach was used in the CR-78 of 1978(?). This fits in with the article’s statment: “These metallic sounds owe largely to experiences and efforts of H. Nakamura who was involved in developing the CR-68 / 78 sound engines.“

The CR-78 uses mixed square waves for its 'metallic beat', but the rest of it is analogue noise. The 68 is all analogue on that side.

One thing I think they got wrong with the TR8s is that the noise frequencies of the hats/cymbals on the 808/606 emulations can't be changed, you can only sweep the filtering of them. Compared to my old 606, the hats are too high, though I can't speak for the 808 emulation. It'd be a better function, I think, to be able to pitch those oscillators, instead of just sweep the bandpass they go through.