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There's now a playable online drum machine based on the Roland TR-909

The emulated instrument is free to use

  • 8 October 2022
There's now a playable online drum machine based on the Roland TR-909

Electronics and software engineer Matthew Cieplak has created a fully working browser-based drum machine based on the original Roland TR-909.

The virtual instrument, named ER-99, is now ready to be used online for free courtesy of Cieplak’s Extralife Instruments webpage - and it boasts a big selection of features.

Built to celebrate international 909 day, the emulator pays tribute to the world favourite TR-909, or in Cieplak’s words, “a famous Japanese drum machine from the 1980s”.

Cieplak, who is also a musician, has multiple hardware and software projects of the same strain, though this is his first drum machine built for web use.

The browser-based instrument can be used by pressing the number buttons on the keyboard. “Turn the knobs to change the sound of each instrument,” reads the ER-99’s description.

“The 16 buttons at the bottom show the sequence for each instrument. Click once to activate a step, and click again to add an accent (indicated by a brighter light). The emphasis of the accented notes is controlled by the ‘Accent’ knob,” it adds.

64-step sequences can also be made using the BARS buttons in the centre. “You can store Sequences and Sound Presets using the menus above,” reads the description. “These are stored in your browser's memory and will be recalled the next time you visit (on this computer).”

Though the machine’s drum sounds are synthesised using WebAudio API, everything else is sample-based. Cieplak also notes that WebMIDI tends to add a latency of ‘70-100 milliseconds’ to receive played music.

Some of Cieplak’s previous creations include a ‘Hex Drum’ 6-channel trigger sequencer, a Eurorack analog guitar synthesiser patch “loosely based on the Moog Moogerfooger MF-107”, and Super Sixteen, an open-source hardware sequencer for the Eurorack synthesiser format.

Check out the ER-99 emulator here, and find more of Cieplak’s projects.

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