Build Your Own Roland TR-909-Inspired Drum Machine

e-licktronic has introduced the Nava – a DIY kit to build a Roland TR-909-inspired drum machine.

According to the company – the analog circuitry of the Nava reproduces the design of the 909 and uses the original components. The sequencer, though, is redesigned ‘for a more intuitive approach to rhythmic composition’.

Here’s a sneak preview of the Nava in action:

The kit includes:

  • 2 x PCBs: the Mainboard and the IO Board
  • The µC, a Atmega1284P pre programmed with Firmware Nava v1.0
  • 3x program EPROM 27C256 with the sound of HitHat, Crash and Ride as those present in the original TR-909.
  • 36 x M5218L Mitsubishi. Those are the origianl TR-909 OPA
  • 2 x HD14006BP 18 Bit static shift register used to Noise generator
  • 1 x AN6912 Quad comparator. HandClap envelop generator identical to that of TR-808.
  • 1 x BA6110. This is the only component that we have replaced the original TR-909. The original HandClap VCA is a BA662 manufactured by Roland, but today very expensive and rare. After several sound comparisons and operating the BA6110 makes an excellent substitute for BA662.
  • 19 x 2SA1115-F PNP transistors
  • 56 x 2SC2603-F NPN transistors
  • 4 x 2SA798 PNP Monolithic Transistor Pair
  • 2 x 2SD1469 NPN Small signal transistor
  • 2 x 2SC2878 NPN Epitaxial transistor for muting application
  • 27 x Potentiomètres Potentiometers (all necessary controls for the construction of Nava v1.0)
  • 19 x Cherry switches with whites caps
  • 17 x illuminated square tact switches
  • All other components to complete your kit are available in this Mouser BOM: .The only component that you must get is a 15VAC supply 1000mA, the same used for the Yocto v1.0. A screen printed aluminum case will soon be available on the forum.

Characteristic of Nava v1.0:

  • 128 Rhythm patterns from 1 to 16 steps
  • 16 tracks of 999 measures
  • 1 external instrument track by pattern that can store 99 notes like SH101 sequencer style.
  • A Midi keyboard mode allow you to play external Midi device
  • Multi out for each instruments
  • Individual accent for BD, SD, LT, MT, HT, RS, HC and CH
  • A total accent track
  • Master out (L/R Mono) 6Vp-p 1Kohm
  • tempo 30 – 250 Bpm
  • 7 shuffle levels
  • 4 scales (1/8t, 1/16, 1/16t and 1/32)
  • 4 sequencer directions (forward, backward, ping-pong and random)
  • Easy copy and paste pattern function
  • Shift left or right the entire pattern or individual instrument
  • In/Out/Thru Midi
  • DinSync 24ppqn Out
  • Trig Out 2ms +5V

The Nava kit is expected to be available 4/25/2016 for 319,00 €. The Mouser parts BOM is priced at US $183.73. Case cost is TBD. 

22 thoughts on “Build Your Own Roland TR-909-Inspired Drum Machine

    1. On the previous project, the yocto (808 clone), there was groupbuy organised for making metal enclosure and I got one for around 100EUR, but the price depends of the number of people interested, so in the next groupbuy it was a bit cheaper, around 70EUR. E-licktronic was also providing files to make a plastic enclosure with Ponoko/Formulor for around 50EUR, but metal case are waaaaay nicer.
      Finally, for the Nava i read that the enclosure will be available directly through the shop, hope their will be enough made to have a good price!

  1. A quick Google search turns up a few clones of the BA662 chip, and the difference between the BA6110 and the 662 are noticeable. Any thoughts on that matter?

    Also, according to that Mouser link, one of your Film Capacitors is scheduled for discontinuing.

    1. I had read an AB comparison between 6110 and 662 in a x0xb0x and I didn`t saw a neat difference beetween the two, unless the 662 seems quieter of 3dB.
      (Here it is
      I never grabbed a 662 to test with my own hears, but i will try some day!

      In the x0xb0x its pretty easy to swap them cause there is an emplacement in the circuit for both of them.
      So for the Nava, it will depend of the circuit design, but afaik the Yocto only had footprint for the 6110, so you ll need to modify the circuit a bit to replace it with a 662 (they have different pinout, and the 6110 needs extra components i think).

    1. Why? Because some people like building recreations of 1980s drum machines. Since I don’t have that much patience, I’ll just have to talk someone I know into building one…

    2. I have a TR-8 and I will still order this. The TR-8 is fantastic, but it’s not analog. I heard the difference immediately even with youtube’s shitty compression. There are other features that this can do that the TR-8 can’t, like doubling and tripling up on those snares as you heard in the video. Plus, it’ll be a fun project to work on.

    3. because if you want the full 808 and 909 drum kit at the same time you’d need two TR-8s, and then you can just get this. and you still wouldn’t have individual outs for every instrument.
      also, no mods on the TR-8 possible, and no noise. that’s right, i like the classic noise floor and saturation of the 4580 op amps.
      also, TR-8 does not have trig out to trigger additional percussion modules.
      etc. etc. etc.

      so, why even compare the two, they don’t have much in common apart from the basic vanilla 808 sounds, which you can get for free in countless sample packs.

  2. Woooowww!!!. That’s amazing!!! 🙂

    It is a pity that I’m a disaster with craftwork……. 🙁 I’ll have to pay someone 🙂

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