Banging Like an 808? Developing a Physically-Informed, Circuit-Bendable, Digital Model of the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm
CCRMA Classroom
Event Type: 
DSP Seminar
Can a digital system provide satisfactory emulations of classic analog musical instruments and effects? Polarized reactions to the impending release (this month!) of Roland's TR-8 Rhythm Performer (a digitally modeled TR-808/909) have reignited this old debate. I've focused my research on creating physically-informed, circuit-bendable, digital models of analog drum machines. At this DSP Seminar, I'll present my methodological framework and analysis/models of one of the 808's most famous sound generators: the bass drum. My digital model, implemented in Cycling 74's Gen~, retain the salient features of the original analog drum machine and allow for accurate emulation of circuit-bending and common 808 mods. This work takes an engineering approach to hacking and circuit bending, clears up misconceptions about the 808's circuitry, and plugs a conspicuous drum-machine-shaped gap in virtual analog research.

Kurt James Werner is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer-Based Music Theory and Acoustics at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). His research focuses on computer modeling of circuit-bent and modded electronic instruments, experimental audio and visual codecs, and assorted music technology and signal processing topics.

Open to the Public
Syndicate content