D16 Drumazon review

  • €129

Roland's TR-909 drum machine has long been hailed as a classic, but should its sounds be part of a computer musician's arsenal?

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Our Verdict

It's like a 909… but better. Critics could reasonably argue that such emulations are retrogressive, but the fact is that Drumazon sounds authentic and is tremendous fun.

For

  • Sounds superb. Quick to use. Flexible sequencer modes. Enhanced sound control. Great shuffle and flam. Can save patterns and sounds separately.

Against

  • Limited when compared to the likes of Guru.
Buying options

Though it's true that dozens of software instruments are based on classic bits of music technology hardware, there are some curious omissions from the lineup.

While there are more Roland TB-303 Bassline clones out there than you can shake an acid-covered stick at, TR-808 and 909 emulations are noticeable by their absence. Not since the venerable ReBirth RB-338 have we seen a developer attempt to recreate those much-loved drum machines.

This seems bizarre, especially when you consider the continued popularity of the sounds they produce. Thank the Lord, then, for d16, who have so far based their whole business on emulating classic Roland hardware.

Having had a commendable crack at 'doing' the TB-303 with the obscurely-named Phoscyon, the plucky Poles have now attempted to bring the TR-909 into the 21st century with the release of Drumazon.

Like Phoscyon, this takes the 'more is more' approach to its subject, giving us an instrument that's considerably more feature-packed than the one that inspired it.

Overview

If you're familiar with the original 909, or even ReBirth, the first thing you'll notice about Drumazon is that's it's got a lot more knobs.

Each sound comes equipped with at least three dedicated controls, and the kick, snare and toms get a whopping six knobs each.

The kick in particular is much more flexible than the 909's, coming with additional Tune Depth and Pitch controls.

Combine these with a much longer maximum Decay time and you can create everything from typical house-friendly 909 bass drums to huge-sounding 808-style subs. All bases in between are covered, too.

Other additional controls include Tune Depth and Decay controls for the snare; Tone, Tune Decay and Tune Depth for the toms; Tune knobs and separate Level controls for the hats; Decay controls for the cymbals; Tune and Decay for the rimshot; and Tune and Reverb knobs for the handclap.

As you might imagine, all these extra controls help to turn Drumazon into a machine that can produce a much wider variety of sounds than the original 909, and thankfully, it also has plenty of sonic punch.

While the sounds aren't quite identical to those of Roland's classic, they're certainly close enough to make Drumazon a worthy substitute. In fact, given the choice, we'd take Drumazon over a hardware 909 every time.

It can produce a greater range of sounds, offers the convenience of a software instrument and, most importantly, sounds fantastic. If you use electronic drum sounds, we fully expect that you'll love using this.

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Tech Specs

Features8 drums sounds, 16-step sequencer, internal/external sequencer nodes.
DescriptionVirtual drum machine for live or project use.
PlatformMacOS/Windows
MIDINo
Virtual Instrument TypeDrums