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Analog-Digital Hybrid, Before It Was Even a Thing

In 1983, Roland followed the massively influential TR-808 with the TR-909. Only around 10,000 were made, but the influence of this machine is heard, and felt, to this very day. Digital samples of “real drums” had become fashionable, but these sounds were not tweakable and, let’s be honest, still didn’t sound like real drums. So, Roland took a hybrid approach that used analog circuitry for the kick, snare, hi-hat, clap, and toms, and used digital sampling for the cymbals. The result was one of the most beloved and influential musical instruments ever made. It’s the sound you hear in your head when you think of speaker-pummeling, floor-shaking dance music.

Sibling Rivalry

Since its release more than four decades ago, the TR-909 has joined the hallowed halls of legendary instruments alongside its older sibling, the TR-808. While the 808 may get more of the limelight, the 909 sparked something in musicians and producers of the day, making it the rhythmic foundation of trailblazing new genres like house, techno and hip-hop. And like many vintage Roland instruments, it was far more than the sum of its parts. The TR-909 has a vibe. Its interface and the way the sounds interact with each other and change their character with knob tweaks are all part of the experience. It’s why original 909s go for thousands of dollars on the used market. And while the 909 is often imitated with sound-alike sample-packs and less-than-faithful emulations, a real 909 feels alive and injects that special something into a track.

A Real 909

Using our next-generation circuit modeling technology, we’ve faithfully recreated the original circuitry that gave the TR-909 its distinctive sound—including its analog-digital hybrid nature. So, in addition to detailed behavior models of the analog circuits, we’ve integrated the original sample ROM, and even modeled the primitive digital technology present in the vintage hardware. It’s what gave the 909 cymbals their characteristic sound, making them a perennial favorite of dance music producers the world over. All this painstaking detail means you can finally have the authentic sound and vibe of a real 909 in your DAW—and now with some exciting, modern enhancements. Each pattern has eight variations so you can create evolving sequences that keep things interesting. The classic 16-step "TR-REC" sequencer expands to include a sequencer lane for each drum instrument so you can program faster and more fluidly. The sequencer has adjustable flams and sub-steps so you can create detailed fills and ratcheting sequences. Each instrument has its own “last step” and shuffle settings so you can play with timing, experiment with polyrhythms, and dial in just the right groove for your tracks. You can even drag patterns from the TR-909 directly into your DAW as MIDI or audio clips!

Connected means Enhanced

The TR-909 Software Rhythm Composer also debuts new integration with Roland's recently released TR-8S Rhythm Performer. TR-8S users can send patterns from the hardware directly to the TR-909 plugin, including pattern variations and names. Conversely, users can create patterns on the go with the TR-909 plugin, and then send them back to the TR-8S hardware for performance or further production. The TR-8S also comes ready-mapped for direct hands-on remote control of the TR-909 Software Rhythm Composer's parameters, like volume, tune, and decay. A concurrent update also adds the same functionality to the TR-808 Software Rhythm Composer. 



Maximum Polyphony 11 voices
Sampling Frequency 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz
Step Sequencer 11 instrument parts
16 steps per 1 measure
8 (A - H) variations per 1 pattern
Memories per bank 128 memories 
User can make new user banks
Memories per bank 128 patterns
128 memories
*User can make new user banks.
Plug-In Formats VSTi 2.4(64bit)* Windows only
VSTi 3.6(64bit)

System Requirements (macOS™)

Operating System macOS 10.14
macOS 10.15
macOS 11
Host Application VST instruments (VSTi) version: VST 3.6 compatible
  Audio Units (AU) version: V2 Audio Units compatible
AAX compatible
CPU Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 or better, Apple silicon compatible 
RAM 2 GB or more
Hard Disk 400 MB or more
Display/Colors 1280 x 800 or higher/16.7 million colors or more
Other You'll need Internet connectivity to authenticate this software

System Requirements (Windows®)

Operating System Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 8.1
  Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 10
  This does not work with the Windows(R) RT.
  This does not work with the Windows(R) Phone.
  This does not work on the virtual machines such as Hyper-V, Virtual PC, or Boot Camp.
Host Application VST instruments (VSTi) version: VST 2.4/3.6 compatible
AAX Compatible
CPU Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 or better
RAM 2 GB or more
Hard Disk 400 MB or more
Display/Colors 1280 x 800 or higher, 24 bit Full Color or more
Other You'll need Internet connectivity to authorize this software.
  You'll need Adobe Reader (available free of charge) in order to read the online help.

* Although Roland has tested numerous configurations, and has determined that on average, a computer system similar to that described above will permit normal operation of the TR-909 Software Rhythm Composer, Roland cannot guarantee that a given computer can be used satisfactorily with the TR-909 Software Rhythm Composer based solely on the fact that it meets the above requirements.
This is because there are too many other variables that may influence the processing environment, including differences in motherboard design and the particular combination of other devices involved.

Microsoft Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
VST is a trademark and software of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. 



TR-909 Software Rhythm Composer Owner's Manual (English)


Release Notes

  • Version 1.09 -

    September 02, 2021
    • Improvement: Now [WEAK] can be applied to TOTAL ACCENT for semi-accent purpose.
    • Improvement: VOLUME is now in automation parameters.

    • Fixed: Several issues on Drag & Drop or Copy/Paste from [CURRENT] button of EDIT VARIATION SELECT are fixed.

    • Fixed: Window and panel layouts or open/close status are now totally recallable.


    This update provides Pro Tools users the ability to drag and drop patterns from the instrument to a midi track.