Behringer Wishes You A Merry Christmas – With A Pair Of Roland Drum Machine Clones

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Behringer founder Uli Behringer shared this holiday greeting – and teasers of a couple of Roland drum machine clones.

Dear all,

first of all I like to wish you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Sometime in July this year I announced we are looking into developing analog as well digital drum machines. I thought I would now share with you aspects of the development process.

At this stage our main focus is on sound creation and for this purpose we resurrected the highly regarded 808 and 909 analog drum machines from the ’80’s.

Attached are the pics of the first evaluation boards that allow us to study and compare the sound of analog drum instruments. However, our intention is not to clone these products but to evaluate analog sound generation and add a great user interface and sequencer.

I can tell you that the team is having lots of fun listening to these drum sounds that greatly contributed to amazing music in the past. It is actually not surprising that people gravitate to analog sounds as it is the imperfection that evokes emotions. Perhaps it is the fact that we humans are analog, too:-)

While we are far away from releasing a finished product, we thought we would get you involved in this enjoyable design process.

As always we love to hear your opinions.

Uli

Behringer’s message makes clear that – while his company has cloned Roland’s classic TR-808 and TR-909 – his goal is not to create a clone. Instead, they want to get a better understanding of what made the originals great, with the goal of creating a new drum machine that goes beyond the originals:

Based on what we’ve seen with the evolution of the Deepmind 12, it will probably be a year before Behringer previews a prototype of their planned drum machine. In the meantime, though, let us know what you think of Uli Behringer’s message – and what features you’d hope to see in a Behringer drum machine!

80 thoughts on “Behringer Wishes You A Merry Christmas – With A Pair Of Roland Drum Machine Clones

  1. Imagine if car manufacturers behaved like synth companies.

    “New from Behringer Motorwerk! The Kamry and Kelica. Faithful copies of your favorite 1984 models, except made in China to keep costs low and quality high.”

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      1. Oh, give it a break. The last thing we need are more variants of the 808/909 designs, and the company has an embarrassing history of copying Roland devices.

        It would be wonderful if they’d prove me wrong and come out with a design that steps beyond the familiar sounds and feel of those machines. The DeepThump, perhaps.

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        1. “It would be wonderful if they’d prove me wrong and come out with a design that steps beyond the familiar sounds and feel of those machines. The DeepThump, perhaps.”

          Isn’t that exactly what they did with the Deepmind 12?

          And exactly what they say they are doing with the new drum machine?

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          1. they said that precisely. reverse engineering/copying the original designs because they have appeal, then development to take it into the 21st century.

            “i’m sick of all these violins that copy the stradivarius! try something new!”

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            1. “Waiter: Would monsieur care for another bottle of Chateau Latour?
              Navin: Ah yes, but no more 1966. Lets splurge! Bring us some fresh wine! The freshest you’ve got – this year! No more of this old stuff.”

              –Steve Martin, The Jerk

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          2. Have you tried deep mind, not exactly a walk in the park to program. They have proved nothing until it goes on sale and users really can give a proper opinion

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        2. Really??? Have you ever checked how many companies have cloned the 808/909? Why can’t Behringer? Perhaps they actually listen to customers and deserve credit for doing exactly that. Sorry but I dislike these hypocritical comments. Get a life bro…

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    1. What they said is that they have done some reverse engineering on the 808 and the 909 just to understand what made those drum machines so great (which I think is a great thing to do since Behringer has never produced any drum machine and they need a bit of know-how).
      I would love to see something that is not mass produced in China since the market is over saturated of cheap shitty gear, but it’s Behringer and, beside how much I love their work, I think is impossible.
      But let’s see! the Deepmind 12 end up to be quite good! (except the name).

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        1. considering punctuation isnt involved in speaking – no, i dont think that its involved

          but wouldnt it be wonderful to be right all the time?

          alas, youd be out of a job

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          1. Punctuation is very helpful when it comes to reading and comprehending inflection. So how is it not important in helping a person learn to read and speak above the level of “elementary school children”? Does smugness lead to laziness?

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    1. Indeed. Not like Roland are ever going to do it. Boutique range my foot. What is it ? …a boutique range… for Ants?!

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      1. You could use the R8 in a live situation without a doubt. There is the option of live step sequencing using the pads, if that is what you want. However, the R8 is not an analog drum machine (a great instrument, nonetheless)

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    2. wasn’t the r8 just PCM samples – reverse engineering the 808 and 909s is to get at the circuitry to reproduce the analog sound – if you want to replicate a PCM drum machine all you have to do is have a high quality sample set and a sampler or computer.

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  2. Go for it Behringer, would love an updated 909. Acidlabs upcoming offering is tempting but huge and ugly and I imagine there is heaps of room for development looking at how far they have taken the Deepmind

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    1. Korg’s been doing a great job at making interesting/usable analog gear. I came up a devoted Roland guy, (Had/have SH-3, SH-1000, SH-2000, Juno-106, Juno-6, Juno-60, a-Juno-1, TR-33, TR-707, and so on…) never looked at a Korg instrument until a few years ago when the Monotron hit the shelves. As an industrial designer I saw the Monotron for what it was, a market test for a new wave of affordable analogue gear. I told my buddy that in the very near future the oscillator and filter were probably going to appear in a more complex box and voila, the Monotribe and subsequently the Volcas appeared. Great bits of kit and far better than the (in my opinion, ugly) Roland Aira stuff.

      I’d love to see Behringer continue to wade into the analogue instrument pool with affordable, great sounding gear inspired by old classics. I’ve always coveted a 909 but $5000 (cost to get one to my location in Canada) is way out of my budget. I have to live with my 707 and DRX-1.

      Anyway, the Arturia Drum Brute has my attention right now. Let’s see what Behringer comes up with…

      – lo-fi ROBOT Boy

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  3. Make it interesting and have individual outs because if you don’t like the sound at least you can effect the hell out of it until it is interesting.

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    1. You can clearly see the individual outs on the board. And pretty sire they will include a nice FX processor onboard too

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    1. They were all digital. Mostly cheap 8 /12 bit samples of real drum sounds. These samples can be ripped from the original ROM chips and played back by any sampler. This has been done many times over. The real magic in these drum machines was the robust output section, which was entirely analogue. VCFs and VCAs made them sound good. Not sure about the Oberheim, but the Linn sequencer was rock solid too.

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      1. The Simmons SDS-V definitely wasn’t digital.

        The SDS-7 – introduced as the SDS-V’s successor three years later – was a hybrid.

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  4. drum machine sounds great, hope there willl be a new twist to it…the retro wave…is good to surf but in the end we want something new….
    …still waiting for the desktop version of the 12 voice… or is the project canceled????

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  5. It’s got to be able to sequence other gear via midi, usb midi, and cv gate.

    The performance features have to be intuitive and geared for seamless live performance.

    It should have live sampling/ looping.

    The sequencer resolution should be high in ppq.

    At least 2 insert effects per part

    External audio processing

    4 voice Polyphonic/4mono/2duo synth part

    Full automation on board and remotely

    Each part polyrhythmic

    Analog distortion, compression, and delay

    Some good digital drum synthesis

    Internal power supply

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      1. I wont mind, MC Deep o Three? Clone and advance a Korg classic with a Deep MX? And a Deep SX for sampling needs. Good 12Ax7’s check.

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    1. Elektron gear may suit you. The Octatrack is pretty close to what you’re asking for, although it will require you to change your concept of sampling a bit.

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  6. I wonder if Behringer have noticed the sheer amount of Roland’s boutique synths and drum machines appearing on eBay or via Facebook gear trading recently? The market is completely saturated with this stuff, and yes, they’re boring once you’ve got that ‘I now own an otherwise several thousand quid TR/B’ feeling off my chest. Behringer seemed to be going in the right direction recently by offering a polysynth, but to be honest, even that is a bit meh. The only true innovators today it seems are companies from Sweden such as Elektron (Octatrack etc) or Squarp with their Pyramid sequencer, or the self-build PreenFM2 etc. Can we not have more of that, or is the next decade going to be filled with nothing but TR clones? Of course though, it’s not just Behringer who are to blame. Roland themselves need to eat humble pie and have a little self reflection.

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  7. Full midi implementation please, and I don’t want to hear stepping :p !!! Let’s do it !! I’ll buy it for SURE. There are room for drum machine improvement. Not so much models on the market right now. Some lack the sound, some lack modern functions… I’m looking forward to see what you come up with 🙂 !

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  8. How about Behringer breaking the habit of a lifetime and not “cloning”, “basing on”, “copying”, “ripping off” ANYTHING??!!! There is no other company as blatant about this…. they really ARE the China of the music tech industry. Why can’t they just give their design team a brief that DOESN’T involve looking to the past (or the competition) and just, for once, look forward, be original… that’s O..R..I..G..I..N..A..L….. They have the ability, resources and funds to do something new and great but instead seem to be a company that is ALL about the profit margin rather than a genuine passion.

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  9. I think it’s a great idea to clone the 808 and 909, as I cannot afford either and would love to own both. Just make them exactly the same as the original and nobody should be able to criticize them as these are arguably the greatest drum sounds of all time. Please make sure that as far as circuitry is concerned that they are exactly the same. At the end of the day the sound is the most important thing and effects, etc can all be done using other equipment. As long as it sounds exactly the same I’m all in for both machines. Roland really missed out on this opportunity to remake this amazing analog equipment as other companies are doing now. Good luck Uli and don’t listen to all the negative comments. There is a reason these machines have been cloned so many times but that being said all the clones on the market still don’t recreate the sound exactly the same. That’s your job, to bring back the exact same sound and make an undisputed 808 and 909. After that I’d love to see you guys make a Linn drum, and a DMX. Good luck Uli

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  10. Ugh, I’d much rather have something like a Vermona DRM. An analog drum module with loads of character and maximum tweakability. 909’s and 808’s are overrated. They do what they do great, but can’t get close to other sonic territory

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  11. behringer:
    I would love a machine that can do both 808 and 909 analog sounds with…
    – a more live facing interface that lets you do step jumping, reversing, some sort of granular delay or freezing, step looping, etc
    – allows you to assign fm or ring mod drums against each other or against a input signal
    – automation memory
    – some built in drum geared effects like overdrive, bitcrushing, reverb
    – longer, longer, longer releases for all drums (the tr-8 I felt was disappointing here)
    – filter
    – also a much longer pattern length or an ability to chain

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  12. I find it increasingly funny how people seem to love bashing the little guy companies

    And the continued analog digital battles

    Just wait and see people

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  13. What Uli says they’re working on is what Arturia already did with their DrumBrute. I’m sure he’s smart enough to know this, and go even further in expanding on the original Roland boxes than Arturia did.

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  14. @Behringer
    I would love to see:
    – 808 and 909 sounds and beyond
    – More sound tweaking parameter for the bass drum, snare and clap
    – Seamless crossfading between sounds and drum sets with a single slider
    – Global filter
    – Parameter look (like the Elektron gear have) that can be adjusted while playing live
    – Probabiliy and pitch feature per step and sound in the pattern (Iike the Sonic Potions LXR has)
    – Advanced pattern chaining (Iike the Sonic Potions LXR has)

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  15. Would love to see Behringer push the boundaries of the musical possibilities.
    In that spirit here are some requests for the sequencer:

    A PATTERN has it’s own length (in beats or steps), tempo, and steps-per-beat rate.

    A PATTERN is made up of PARTS (one part per sound)

    Each PART can have a length (in steps) independent of the PATTERN’s length.

    Each NOTE can have velocity set (1-127) and some other per-note value
    (so velocity could control some parameter, and another per-note value
    could control a filter, for example, independent of velocity)

    Ideally, each BEAT of each part could have its own independent STEP:BEAT ratio

    The STEP:BEAT ratio could be 1-48 steps per 1-48 beats

    PATTERNS can be chained into SONGS
    and SONGS can be chained into SETS

    Tempo can be set to each PATTERN’s or overridden with the SONG tempo

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  16. Should make an 808 with mpc style pads and sequencer.

    And yeah i think pitch per step is a must to get those basslines everyone’s doing nowadays, right?

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  17. Please have a go at faithfully reproducing the Yamaha CS80…. that is the one I would want to replace my real one…

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  18. Someone posted that the market is saturated with roland gear!??? The TR8 has on a few outputs .
    Most people making drum machines (apart from Artruria) have forgotten that there thousands of producers using analogue desks and multi outs on drum boxes and samplers are vital . In the studio we can eq mix etc at very fast speeds .We work on mixes using 16 /24 /32 audio signals. The boxes coming out with just stereo pairs are like toys to us. Good on Behring er and all manufacturers considering separate audio outs on equipment. I know a lot of younger producers moving to hardware and some of us have always worked with hardware and just midi for sequencing.

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  19. Deep mind 12 went from a 106 clone to an innovative beast. I can’t wait to see what they do with this because I’m wondering if they’ll include sampling. I think a decent number of people will be exited or bitter if they challenged the analog Rytm..

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  20. who is this mary girl I keep hearing about?

    any connection with the ringing sound in my ears when I go shopping?

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  21. im not complaining, we’re literally in an age when we can sit back and choose from an incredible range of digital and analog instruments, re-made re-imagined and brand new. from a Volca to a Tanzbar to an Octatrack. lucky us.

    all the best to Behringer on this!

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  22. Is the Deepmind delivered already?
    What about the desktop version?
    Will the price of these drum machines be 30% above the promised price again?
    Will they deliver anything that the dozend clones already don’t?
    So many questions…….

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  23. I love you! 🙂 merry Christmas,, I just want to say that a clever song mode is critical and should not be limited to sixteen steps like on the drum brute,, thank you kindly,, the fills are great too.

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  24. Just don’t make it irrational, such as the Korg Volca which has no rimtap or cowbell but does have plenty of room for the dreaded claves and agogo! Or like Arturia, forget to add a cowbell which is a fatal flaw in my mind.

    808 and 909 are so loved because they are like a fine violin or other instrument where they just got it right. There is nothing wrong with admitting that!

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  25. I would highly welcome these. Individual outs are a must. If these had the UI of the drumbrute with better sound, I’d be highly interested.

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  26. I can’t believe its not a Boss pedal clone.
    Hot on the heels of the ahem “Juno” inspired DM12 come more “Roland Inspired” shenanigans.
    Personally I still am hugely conflicted over a company with a well documented ethical track record entering the synth market on a mass production level like this.
    I’d have less of a problem if said tools were 100% engineered original designs from the ground up.
    Really, I don’t like sounding like a curmudgeonly old cynic but I am waiting to be proven wrong.

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  27. Ethical track record? Can’t hear this nonsense anymore. How many 808 clones are out there? How many guitars, phones, cars look alike? If the patents have expired everyone can use the stuff, so why not Behringer? Sorry but this stuff is getting old ! I hate companies like Roland who rip me off and sell me plastic garbage. More power to Behringer

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    1. So you can purchase “behringerized” versions of the same stuff ?
      They got called out for loads of infringements, direct 1:1 copies of Boss pedals, ditto Mackie VLZ mixers, ditto certain algo’s in a now discontinued and arguably their best ever effects unit the V-Verb Pro.
      The V-Amp was largely a copy of a rather well known existing version, their first monitors looks remarkably like a certain other brand I won’t name and they’ve been taken to court on these issues more than once.
      In what way do Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Nord or any other company ‘rip you off’ ?
      You are simply not forced to purchase anything you don’t like for what ever reasons you choose.
      Just for the record the SH101, MC202, TB303, TR606, TR909, Volca’s, Bass Station II, Microbrute, and various Acrylic Eurorack Module, the Ambika, and more than a few others beside are all made of or have plastic in their construction.
      Are they all by default plastic garbage too.
      Some of us have been around the block and seen Behringer do what they do for a rather long time.
      Newer acquisitions with Midas and TC-Electronic have most definitely helped in a re-branding campaign to change their image and reputation. However don’t for a minute think the company has never been found guilty of patent infringement and 1:1 cloning practices in the past on goods with active patents.
      Going back to similar too reissues doesn’t help their old rep either.
      They have the tech, the r&d team, the resources, the means of production and the know how to do better.
      Saying they have an ethical track record isn’t nonsense its for the record fact.
      Pander to perception biases all you want. I am at least open minded enough to give the DM12 a go even if I feel somewhat conflicted and even if Behringer have pushed out some unforgivable crap in the past.
      I won’t however accuse them of ripping me off or selling me plastic garbage.
      Those purchasing choices are things I have to own for myself.

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      1. I am with Ron here. Can’t hear these nonsensical and fabricated stories anymore. What I know is Behriger lost one case 20 years ago and since then hasn’t lost anything anymore. Just because someone sues you doesn’t mean you’re guilty. They surely won all Mackie cases and I am not sure you are the authority to judge all the facts behind these cases. IP lawsuits are very common in any industry- just look at Apple and Samsung etc.
        The DM12 is a great example how they have taken a classic design and improved on it with tons of innovation. I hope they will do the same with drums. I am done with Roland and Yamaha and rather support guys like Behringer, Smith or Arturia. My 0.02

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  28. No more 808 / 909 sounds.

    Maybe a DRM mk3 or waldorf rack attack with xox style sequencing and panel.

    There are just too many options for 808 / 909 sounds.

    Oh, Behringer, an FM feature… not DX style FM either.. more like the one on rack-attack.

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  29. I love that they are studying these iconic machines. They are great machines….But………(to the people on the forum)………
    PLEASE NO MORE 808 or 909!! Tell me exactly why you need more of that sound? I really want to know why you want another clone, were some of the other ones not “close” enough to the exact sound or interface? This new one will be right on the dot I’m sure. Yes these sounds are iconic but you can literally get them ANYWHERE, let me repeat ANYWHERE. I really want to know the reasoning for wanting another 808 or 909. Is it for the nostalgic love of having a clone that is not even the same? Is it because these are the best sounds like eva? We have thousands of sample packs, vsts, and hardware clones. Wait I think I understand now, it must be a conspiracy of some kind.

    Really though I am glad they are studying these machines for inspiration. I think that is a good idea but when I see people on the forums asking for a clone thinking that is what they want, I think they need to reexamine the world around them. There is plenty of 808 out there people. I’m ready for something new. I know it probably won’t happen because I am a bit of a minority apparently.
    Next machines they should look into is their competition (i hope) Elektron, Tempest, modular synths, software drum synths, Sherman filterbank, Arturia Drumbrute, iPad stuff, please

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        1. Emulators do not come close to solid analogue knob twisting and chaos. With the 808/909 … musicians know exactly the sound they are getting (kinda like the difference between the Gibson rhythm vs. Strat lead sound). I really have a hard time even thinking about 808’s now without the mod to drop the bass tone and rumble the speakers … I hope they take the time to get the mods right!!!

          Don’t get me wrong, there have been some fine non-Roland analogue gear out there … my favorite is the Asteroid for a hundred bucks! (Eurorack!). The Elektron as noted is also a fine machine.

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  30. I think people are obsessed with the old Roland sounds because sure, they do sound good, but mostly due to years of hype (so many articles and documentaries about the 808 and 909). Most people who lust for these old machines wouldn’t know the sound of an original from a sample or some other drum machine entirely (myself included). They want these sounds because they know exactly what they’re getting, and because they’ve been told over and over by a nystalgic generation of producers that these are the best sounds ever (or at least they were in the 80s). People find security in repetition. It’s understandable that people follow, but it’s also very boring.

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    1. … while others have wasted countless nights with samples and 303 emulators and just give in to eBay prices for the real deal when they fail.

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  31. Dear Uli Behringer,

    If you read this, then please see the messages above this one. We can both conclude that peoples taste are different depending on music environment.

    My wish/idea:
    1. Custom sample space, so you assign/transfer your own samples to the device.
    2. Tubes on the output with the option to turn them on/off. Also the possibility to easy changing the tubes <This will give option to choose what color the output should give.

    Kind regards
    Ali Carpet

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  32. Hi everyone,

    we hear you!

    Thanks for all the valuable comments. I mostly communicate on GS and hence feel free to post or drop me a note there.

    Uli

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