The Roland TR-909 Rhythm Composer is a drum machine introduced by the Roland Corporation in 1983. It succeeded the Roland TR-808, and was the first Roland drum machine to use samples and MIDI. Though it was a commercial failure, the 909 became influential in the development of electronic dance music such as techno, house music and Acid house.

The Roland TR-909 drum machine.

Design

The 909 was designed by Tadao Kikumoto, who also designed the Roland TB-303 synthesizer. Chief Roland engineer Makoto Muroi credited the design of the analog and pulse-code modulation voice circuits to "Mr Ou" and its software to "Mr Hoshiai".

Sounds and Features

Whereas its predecessor, the TR-808, is known for its "boomy" bass, the 909 sounds aggressive and "punchy". It was the first Roland drum machine to use samples (prerecorded sounds), for its crash, ride and hi-hat sounds; other sounds are generated with analog synthesis. As the clap and snare are generated via the same noise source, they produce a "phasing" effect when played together.

The 909 was also the first Roland drum machine to use MIDI, allowing it to synchronize with other devices, or for sounds to be triggered by an external MIDI controller for wider dynamic range. Older Roland machines can be synchronized via its DIN sync port (a precursor to MIDI).

The 909 features a sequencer that can chain up to 96 patterns into songs of up to 896 measures, and controls including shuffle and flam. It features an improved accent feature, allowing users to accent particular beats or sounds.

Roland changed elements of the 909 during its lifetime, correcting problems and adjusting sounds. Some users modify their machines to match sounds from earlier revisions.

The BGM, used in numerous Atomic Betty episodes in the original soundtrack, was played on the Roland TR-909 when being heard during the footage. Jack Lenz, the musician behind R.L. Stine's Goosebumps and Hallmark Channel's Good Witch, composed the BGM for a certain intense music (also when a funky, sub-bass techno BGM was heard for all fighting scenes).

The Behind the Scenes portion of the original soundtrack with Jack Lenz (containing the TR-909 drum machine itself) will be found in the bonus features on the release of Atomic Betty Season 1, coming to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Lionsgate Home Entertainment right here on June 4, 2024.

Trivia

  • The bass drum (with an "oomph" on tune mode) and closed/open hi-hat was played, while being heard, as well as the "clap" sounds added for numerous intense scenes (such as Maximus' robots flying about, defeating the shark, etc.).
  • On episodes such as "Atomic Roger" and "Space Brains" among others, a "distorted" TR-909 bass drum is played in action-packed scenes, along with both the open and closed high hats as well as the crash cymbal.
  • The hand clap and open hi-hat sounds are being played throughout the scenes from the episodes between "Maximus Displeasure" and "Space Brains".
  • The "subby" bass drum, open hi-hat and hand clap sounds have been played, as heard in the final S1 episode, "Evil Idol" while being used in the title card when being played throughout. Also heard in the S3 episode "Beach Blanket Betty" under the "Mission: Earth" edition.
  • The TR-909 will be revived and used for the film's original soundtrack, as well as numerous songs, composed by Kevin Gillis, Asher Lenz and Stephen as well as the Gillis/Lenz rendition of numerous songs in Atomic Betty: The Animated Movie, coming in 2026.
  • Tajja Isen, the voice of both Betty Barrett and Missy Miss, will reprise her role and perform all eight musical songs, played on the drum machine in the newly upcoming full-length movie.
  • The TR-909 bass drum's "punchiness" effect with an "oomph" on tune mode (just when the tune knob points to the right) will be used for both "The Moose Jaw Heights Dance" and "The Laser Gun Jam", depicted in the film itself.
    • On the newly scene from the film that will be set up for Betty's dance moves, she feels the polished, punchy bass drum sounds by tapping her foot and dancing in her room. She even does the "oomph" over the 909 bass drum, and the "Chicky boom, chick, chicky boom, chick" over the bass drum and Closed Hi-hat sounds throughout. Also, the toms are sounded as she drums on her stomach as well. Starting at 3:46, as well as 3:45, she even swings her ponytail while feeling the 909 snare drum sounds.
    • Starting at 0:26, Betty feels the 909 snare drum sounds, as she pretends to be a special drummer for making a snare roll.
    • Beginning at 4:34, as the bass drum stops, she even feels the clap sounds, as she claps to the sounds of them. She relaxingly utters "Clap clap clap for you, clap clap for you, clap clap clap for you" in tempo mode before the bass drum resumes.
  • On the film's original soundtrack, it will also be heard in the scene for the film itself where Betty learns how to be a real fighter, just by hitting a punching bag throughout her karate lessons being made.

The following seven songs in Atomic Betty: The Animated Movie, played on the TR-909, include:

  • The Moose Jaw Heights Dance
  • Drum Beat on a Tom
  • The Galactic Guardian Dance
  • Atomic Power Girl
  • Feeling Glamorous
  • Laser Gun Jam
  • Anything Can Happen Starring Betty and Troy (Song by Tajja and Matthew Isen)
  • The World Goes On (Betty's Intergalactic Mix)

Audios:

Here are the audio beats used in both "Maximus Displeasure" and "Space Brains", as well as other episodes:

File:TR-909 Bass Drum, Hand Clap, Closed and Open Hi-hats.ogg

Videos

Roland_TR-909_meets_Ableton_Push

Roland TR-909 meets Ableton Push

Note: It will be set up for the brand new scene from the film as Betty plays the techno music on her boombox, and dances to the groove in her room.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.