Behringer RD-909 Drum Machine First Look (Roland TR-909 Clone)

At Knobcon 2018, we talked with Behringer about their upcoming RD-909 drum machine, an updated clone of the classic Roland TR-909.

Behringer was showing their initial 3D-printed model for the RD-909, which is used in the process of validating their design choices and for testing out the ‘feel’ of the box. It has circuit boards in it – but they were not demoing it because the circuity and firmware are are still early in development.

Behringer was showing the RD-909 to get feedback on their initial design.

RHYTHM DESIGNER RD-909 Features (preliminary):

  • Recreation of one of the most sought after and influential drum machines
  • 10 original drum sounds: Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Low Tom, Mid Tom, High Tom, Rim-Shot, Hand-Clap, Cymbal, Open-Hat, Closed-Hat
  • Complete control over voice dynamics with per voice accent and flam
  • 64-step sequencer with storage of up to 64 patterns and 16 songs with continuously variable swing
  • Integrated Wave Designer with individual attack and sustain controls for studio quality drum sound
  • Integrated dual mode filter with dedicated frequency and resonance controls for huge sound shaping options
  • 10 independent analog outputs to record your patterns as multi-track audio
  • Easily readable 7-segment 4-character LED display for tempo with dedicated tap tempo button
  • 16 authentic step pads with bold, full-color LEDs
  • Up to 99 loop measures of each pattern change with 16 pattern changes per song
  • Songs can be chained together for expanded compositions
  • Unique Auto Scroll feature for extremely easy operation
  • Comprehensive Midi In/Out/Thru and USB implementation for synchronization and connection to external devices
  • Per-Track Solo and Mute for enhanced realtime control
  • Sync options include USB, MIDI, Clock and Internal
  • Powerful headphone and L/R main outputs on 1/4” TRS connectors
  • 3-Year Warranty Program

Note: These are preliminary and subject to change. Behringer published these on their site last year, but has since taken down the page.

They were also showing a pre-production sample of their RD-808 808 clone, which was playable:

Additional details on pricing and availability are still to be announced.

28 thoughts on “Behringer RD-909 Drum Machine First Look (Roland TR-909 Clone)

    1. I don’t think they have parameter sequencing of the analog settings for each of the drum voices, because they’re cloning the original circuitry.

      But they have mentioned sequencing of the new features – so you’ll be able to sequence how the voices are routed to the effects busses.

      1. Are you sure they’re cloning the original circuitry? I read that the original 808 design was based on using faulty transistors and when transistor quality improved then Roland had to stop making it.

        1. Roland typically used a faulty transistor for the noise generator in the TR-808. Functional transistors work just as well for this purpose. So they more likely used the defective ones here because they had lots of them – why waste good transistors where they’re not needed?

          The discontinuation of the TR-808 was more likely due to three things:

          1. TR-808 has no MIDI.
          2. TR-909 in development.
          3. Sample-based drum machines from Linn and Oberheim were dominating the market.

    2. no. none of these Behringer synths are digitally controlled (except deepmind). They just have a fetish of copying simple analog circuits for kicks. I can’t wait until everyone complains when all the cheap pots in the audio path get scratchy.

  1. Idk… I think that a stand alone drum machine that you can’t load your own samples into our synthesizer new sounds in this day and age is just…. wanna be, but I suppose the 909 and 808 have a big enough following to attract the people who know what it is. But I honestly think it’s a step backwards. Regardless, I think the end product will be very useful and work well.

    1. I know, right? When you can just grab and drag a plethora of sounds from numerous different vintage drum machines via software and put them easily into your DAW tracks, it seems like too much hassle to deal with drum machine hardware, retro or otherwise.

  2. This is going to sell massively to people that just want to have some fun.

    The Elektron Analog Rytm and the other Elektron boxes can run circles around any 808/909’s, though, so that’s where the music making is going to be happening.

  3. More Behringer clones. Meh.

    The real test for them is whether they’ll are able to come up with any gear that is actually original. Out of all the dozen synths and drum machines the they’re doing, the only one that’s original has been the Neutron, and nobody cares about it – they want the D.

    1. I think you might be looking in the wrong places. I don’t doubt the D is popular too, but the Neutron has been selling out in every locale it’s available for as long as is has been available.

    2. Sorry but you’re wrong. What about the Deepmind series? I think you’ll find that to date they’ve released more original design synths than clones. It’s a 2:1 ratio so far. If they keep that up, not only will they have an extensive catalogue of popular clones but twice as many original designs.

      1. The Deepmind synths are based on the Juno 106, I believe.

        Behringer was open about the fact that the were making a Roland clone and they were originally going to call it the ‘Phat 108’ or some shite like that.

        You could argue that they’ve change the design enough to consider it an original design. But it’s definitely cloning Roland’s classic design, with effects added..

  4. These comments make me lose faith in humanity.

    People will be using these for music, not just for leisure.

    Sampling your instruments into a DAW takes all of the fun and intimacy out of the whole experience, at that point ide be turned off to even make music……but that’s just my opinion

    I am much more interested in the Neutron than the D, so don’t assume.

    Scratchy pots in a few years? Won’t argue against that…..hopefully they are good pots.

    Sorry that was out of order but yea, carry on.

  5. Remember, cheap gear is memorialized just as the “legends” – most of Roland’s early stuff was fleacore. It’s all how it’s used, by whom, etc.

    1. I think you may have some of your stories mixed up.

      None of Roland’s classic axes were cheap when they were introduced. The 303 was about the equivalent of $1,000 in todays dollars when it was introduced, and it was one of their cheaper boxes.

      Some of their instruments completely bombed, when they were introduced, and got cleared-out at fire-sale prices as a result. Old-timers all have stories of passing over $99 303’s when they were getting cleared out.

      The reason that some of Roland’s axes are legendary, though, is not that they were cheap at some point in time, but that they sounded good and were built like f***ing tanks. The 808 and 909 were hits at the time, and the 303 was a bomb because nobody wanted it for what it was originally designed for. They advertised the 303 as a backing bassist for jazz musicians, which seems completely insane with 20/20 vision!

      1. Yeah, I was referring to the 303, thanks for clarification. But it failed first before it became a legend.

        Also, I’d take the Uno over the Korg Volcas or Pocket Operators, those are all cute. What happens to those remains to be seen.

        But is there going to be an Octo?

  6. another brick in the face for Roland. But they still cant feel their sore face haha

    ill by buying every single one of these Behringer drum releases. Wish i was buying genuine Roland analog remakes of their own drum machines but im confident that Hell will freeze over before they awake from their digital hangover so im happy to support Behringer on this who is clearly far more on the ball with what is happening in the industry today than the old dinosaur asleep in the corner

  7. Bet is a fake copy just to fool everyone on looks. You know in the end what B sounds like-cheap! Id say Tiptop Audio which are true analog circuits and modern recreation of the original. Plus you can just get the individual voice. Superior sound Compared to the sampled 808 and 909s out there. OK it don’t have the sequencer and the lifted look but in the end it’s the sound you need if you’re actually making music!!!! i heard B were making toasters next.

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