Roland’s iconic TR-909 has often imitated but never duplicated. Partially analog, partially sample-based, the 909, which made history as the first MIDI-equipped drum machine, was introduced in 1984. While only 10,000 units were manufactured, this lil’ beige box gave forward-thinking producers in Chicago, New York, Detroit and London the ability to collectively forge the blueprint of hip-hop, house and techno.
All these years later the 909’s influence continues to be heard. We asked producers intimate with the Roland TR-909 to wax poetic about this magical machine that’s been the heartbeat of several generations.