This article will discuss the best 909 plugins/VSTs, both free and paid.
The Roland TR-909 is famous for its distinctive analog drum sounds and played a crucial role in shaping electronic music genres like house and techno. Manufactured by Roland Corporation, it was released in 1983 and gained widespread popularity for its deep kick drum and snappy snares.
It gained traction in dance music, shaping the rhythmic foundation of these styles. Over time, the 909’s distinct kick drum, snare, and hi-hat sounds became iconic in electronic music production. Its affordability and portability contributed to its popularity.
Although production ceased in 1985, the 909’s legacy endured, influencing countless hit tracks. Modern software emulations and hardware adaptations continue to honor its legacy, ensuring the TR-909’s lasting impact on music creation and culture.
What Does “909” Mean in Music?
When someone says 909, they refer to the 909 drum machine by Roland or its samples or software emulations. The term “909” has become a shorthand way of describing this instrument’s unique drum sounds and rhythms. Producers and musicians often use the term “909” to evoke a specific sonic palette and rhythm that have become synonymous with this legendary instrument. Now, let’s discuss the list of the best virtual instruments that emulate the Roland TR-909 drum machine.
The 6 Best 909 VST Plugins 2022
1. Roland TR-909 (Emulation)
The Roland TR-909 is a software emulation of the legendary TR-909 drum machine.
Roland offers the TR-909 as an official software plug-in, retaining its original sonic capabilities while introducing new features for expanded sound possibilities. Sound designers like Nebula Nine have also created patch collections to enhance the TR-909 plugin’s sonic range.
In addition, you can integrate the software instrument with hardware like the TR-8S Rhythm Performer and TR-09 Roland Boutique devices. Lastly, the plugin supports up to 11 voices simultaneously and supports sampling frequencies ranging from 44.1 kHz to an impressive 192 kHz.
- Internal Circuit Overdrive
The plugin lets you overdrive the internal circuitry of the virtual 909, resulting in an array of distinct and varied tones, ideal for adding depth and character to your compositions.
- Enhanced Step Sequencer
The classic 16 steps/measure 909-step sequencer has been reimagined, now showcasing dedicated lanes for each individual drum instrument. This enhancement facilitates a more streamlined and fluid programming process, enabling you to craft intricate patterns with ease.
- Dynamic Pattern Variations
Embracing modern musical demands, each pattern now boasts up to eight dynamic variations (labeled A-H). That lets you cultivate evolving sequences, ensuring your compositions remain engaging and captivating throughout.
- Seamless Integration
The plugin harmoniously interfaces with your projects. You can effortlessly drag and drop both audio and MIDI patterns directly from the virtual 909 into your production environment, streamlining your workflow.
- Artistic Rhythmic Control
An array of adjustable parameters, including flams, sub-steps, and soft hits, opens the door to crafting intricate fills and sequences to enhance your rhythms.
- Ample Memory Capacity
You can store your creative endeavors effortlessly, with 128 memory slots available per bank and the flexibility to customize user banks to suit your organizational preferences.
The plugin is available in VST 2, VST 3, AU, and AAX plugin formats, which are supported by almost all popular DAWs on Mac and Windows.
The plugin includes faithful reproductions of the TR-909’s original instrument tones, spanning Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Low Tom, Hi Tom, Mid Tom, Hand Clap, Rim Shot, Open Hi-Hat, Closed Hi-Hat, and Crash and Ride Cymbals. By modeling its analog circuitry, early digital technology, and original sample ROM, the plugin exudes authenticity, ensuring that the distinctive and timeless sound that defined the TR-909 remains intact for contemporary music creators.
2. D16 Group Drumazon
D16 Group Drumazon is a software drum synthesizer known for its meticulous synthesis, closely replicating the individual instruments and their nuances of the original 909.
The software offers modules that match analog counterparts, allowing you to shape sounds with precision. Drumazon provides features like Mute and Solo buttons for each instrument, enabling sound customization. Its workflow is extremely detailed with Level, Attack, Decay, Tune, Pitch, and Tune Depth parameters for each drum sound like Snare.
- Flexible Output Configuration
Drumazon provides 11 outputs with the ability to route each instrument’s audio signal individually. That facilitates sound shaping through favorite plugins both individually and in groups.
- Mute and Solo Buttons
Every instrument features Mute and Solo buttons, enabling precise sound manipulation. Mute not only silences the sound but also stops its triggering, while Solo allows selected sounds to play exclusively.
- Extensive MIDI Control
Drumazon supports MIDI notes for triggering individual sounds and integrates seamlessly with external controllers. It also boasts an internal sequencer with adjustable clock synchronization.
- Internal Sequencer
With 8 banks, 12 patterns per bank, and 16 steps per pattern, Drumazon’s internal sequencer offers creative freedom. It features various modes, including Chain Mode, External Mode, and more.
- Randomizer Function
The internal sequencer includes a Randomizer function for pattern modification and creation, allowing user-defined adjustments to specific instruments and steps.
- Preset Management
Each instrument’s settings can be stored in its own preset, aiding in assembling customized kits. A dedicated Preset Manager streamlines sound library organization.
For Windows users, D16 Group Drumazon demands Windows 7, 8, or 10 (32/64-bit), a CPU of 1.5 GHz (recommended: 2.0 GHz multicore), and a minimum of 4 GB RAM (8 GB recommended). You’ll need a VST-compatible host application. Mac users should have Mac OS X 10.7 to macOS 10.15 (32/64-bit), an Intel-based CPU of 1.5 GHz (2.0 GHz recommended), and 4 GB RAM (8 GB recommended), along with an AU/VST-compatible host application.
With great attention to detail, the D16 Group Drumazon replicates the Roland TR-909’s sounds and features. The plugin offers extensive MIDI control, a versatile internal sequencer with various modes, and flexible output routing, allowing for intricate sound design. Moreover, patterns and banks can be stored in XML format, simplifying sharing and editing. Lastly, its user-friendly interface is complemented by features like Mute, Solo, and a powerful Randomizer.
3. AudioRealism Drum Machine
The AudioRealism Drum Machine (ADM) is a virtual instrument plugin that faithfully models six classic drum machines: the 808, 909, 606, 505, 707, and 727.
It combines analog emulation and sample playback in a single plugin. The ADM plugin is compatible with macOS and Windows and can be used as a VST plugin. It offers a comprehensive collection of drum generators meticulously modeled after the iconic drum machines from the early 1980s. The plugin is known for producing realistic and authentic drum sounds, including bass drums, cymbals, and snares.
It also supports features like MIDI control, allowing you to integrate it seamlessly into their music production workflow. The plugin is particularly popular in electronic music genres, especially techno and rave.
- Pattern Controlled Filter (PCF)
The PCF lets you automate drum machine parameters. That includes adjusting cutoff, Q, snappiness, and even switching sounds between steps. It mimics polyphony by alternating sounds, a manual task on the original machines. It also influences distortion levels and effect application.
- Classic Drum Machine Emulations
ADM emulates legendary drum machines (606, 808, 909), with added 707 and 727 samples. It has an internal step sequencer with global accent, pre-scales, flam per step, and shuffle per pattern enhance rhythmic possibilities.
Full MIDI CC support includes a learning function, offering enhanced control capabilities. You can choose between Pattern and Note MIDI modes for flexible composition. In addition, you can also import personal .wav and .aiff samples into drum parts, fostering creative sound design.
The AudioRealism Drum Machine (ADM) boasts compatibility across diverse platforms, including Windows and macOS operating systems, offering VST and Audio Unit (AU) plugin versions and catering to both 32-bit and 64-bit host software. Its Apple M1 compatibility ensures optimal performance on modern hardware, and including a PCM sample player further extends its versatility.
ADM’s extensive library of well-modeled drum generators pays homage to the revered drum machines of the 1980s, encompassing elements like bass drums, cymbals, and snares that emanate realism and fidelity. MIDI control integration streamlines its incorporation into music production workflows, with a strong presence in electronic music genres, notably techno and rave. Overall, its blend of analog emulation and sample playback makes it a well-rounded plugin for emulating drum machines of the 1980s.
4. Wave Alchemy Revolution (Kontakt Library)
Wave Alchemy Revolution is an award-winning vintage drum machine plugin.
It has been used by various artists, including Dua Lipa. This drum machine is powered by the free Kontakt Player from Native Instruments, making it accessible to a wide range of users. It offers an extensive collection of drum sounds and features, including 909s, allowing you to create diverse and high-quality drum patterns. Additionally, Revolution has been integrated into various platforms, including Ableton Live, as a standalone Live Pack version.
It seamlessly blends any of Revolution’s 14 drum modules to craft your personalized modular Drum Machine. From the iconic RV-808 to the distinctive RV-727, embrace creative freedom.
- Spacious Soundscapes
Revolution boasts a dual reverb module with 160 custom impulses from legendary units, such as the Lexicon 300L and AMS RMX16. Additionally, access studio-quality acoustic room reverbs.
- Analog Enhancement
You can elevate your drums with analog-style filters, envelopes, transient shapers, EQs, compressors, and tape saturation. Each effect is independently applicable per channel for enhanced character.
- Analog Character
You can attain greater punch and character through careful recording on analog tape, SP-1200 sampler, and boutique analog processing chains. In addition, Revolution’s ‘Character’ knob allows tailored textures.
- Intricate Sampling
Revolution employs tens of thousands of samples to capture nuanced original drum machine sounds. It has samples recorded precisely through transformers, with NEVE 1073 pre-amp preserving the authenticity.
- Sequencing Brilliance
Enjoy a dynamic interface for crafting your dream Drum Machine. Choose from hundreds of presets, including real analog tape saturation. Explore over 1000 sequencer preset patterns or create your own.
- Integration & Control
Seamless DAW integration, MIDI drag-and-drop patterns, and expressive sequencers make composition effortless. Integrate Revolution with Komplete S-Series keyboards and Maschine hardware.
Revolution is available in Standalone, VST, AU, and AAX formats, offering compatibility with various digital audio workstations (DAWs), and you can also use it with FREE Kontakt Player from Native Instruments.
Revolution is 8GB in size after unpacking, delivering a wide range of world-class drum machine sounds. Wave Alchemy Revolution allows you to effortlessly mix and match from 14 distinct drum modules, like RV-808, RV-909, RV-78, RV-8000, and more, enabling you to explore various drum sounds.
5. Jackbox 7R-909
The Jackbox 7R-909 is an Analog Drum Module that combines samples and synthesis techniques to replicate the TR-909’s classic sound.
The module is available as a Rack Extension for music production platforms like Reason. It offers you the ability to incorporate the legendary TR-909 drum sounds into your music productions with modern convenience and flexibility. The Jackbox 7R-909 module is created by Quadelectra and is a part of their Jackbox series of analog drum modules, which also include other models like the 7R-808.
- Immersive Realism
The emulation captures the essence of the TR-909 so authentically that you will experience the tactile nuances of interacting with genuine hardware. From the moment of use, it’s as if you’re engaging with the original machine.
- Sound Palette Variation
While staying true to the TR-909’s palette, each sound on the module features subtle deviations to mirror the inherent idiosyncrasies of analog circuitry. This ensures authenticity while infusing a touch of uniqueness.
- Rack Extension Integration
Retaining its identity as a Rack Extension, Jackbox 7R-909 seamlessly integrates into your workflow. All parameters are automatable, aligning perfectly with your projects and creativity.
- External Manipulation
Dedicated CV modulation inputs allow for comprehensive external control, enabling you to shape sounds in innovative ways. Gate Ins and Gate Outs enable versatile interaction with other devices.
- Individual Outputs
Multi Outs offers dedicated audio outputs for each sound, facilitating individual mixing and further processing within Reason’s mixer or other external processing chains.
- Accent Mode
Elevate expressiveness with the Accent Mode, which selectively alters velocity to accented or non-accented notes, adding depth to performances.
- Included Content
The module comes with a wealth of creative assets, including 100 MIDI loops, 10 Combinator Setups, and 3 Startup Songs, facilitating instant inspiration and exploration.
The plugin is available as a rack extension and in VST format for Windows and Mac OS.
7R-909 is quite affordable, costing under $40, and sample and synthesis techniques for an authentic yet unique sound of the 909 drum machine. Retaining its Rack Extension identity, it seamlessly integrates into workflows, offering comprehensive automation and external modulation.
Individual outputs, gate ins/outs, and Accent Mode enrich versatility. Its hybrid approach ensures no two sounds are identical, echoing analog intricacies. Included content, such as MIDI loops and Combinator Setups, fosters creativity.
6. AudioThing Hand Clapper (Some 909 Claps)
The AudioThing Hand Clapper is a drum synthesizer plugin designed for creating clap sounds.
The plugin’s internal design is inspired by the Roland TR-909. This dedicated hand-clap software is designed to produce authentic clap sounds reminiscent of the classic percussion tones from the 1980s. The plugin is particularly useful for adding vintage-style clap sounds to your songs and offers a creative way to infuse retro vibes into modern tracks.
- Inspiration from Classic Boss HC-2 Pedal
The plugin draws inspiration from the iconic Boss HC-2 pedal. Its primary purpose is to generate natural handclap sounds, replicating the characteristic tones of the original device.
- Factory Presets and Analog Samples
The plugin comes with 45 Factory Presets, utilizing 21 custom analog samples sourced from various instruments such as drum machines, analog synths, and real claps. This collection of samples emulates the renowned TR-808, TR-909, and the HC-2 itself, allowing users to achieve vintage drum machine sounds.
- Custom Sample Support
In addition to the onboard sounds, you can import your own samples (up to four seconds long) to create unique and experimental results. This flexibility enables the use of diverse sources like synth shots, piano noises, and vocals, leading to a wide range of creative possibilities.
Hand Clapper is compatible with MAC, PC, and LINUX operating systems, supporting various plugin formats, including VST, VST3, AU, and AAX, all in 64-bit. Additionally, it is offered as an AUv3 plugin and as a standalone application on the App Store.
The AudioThing Hand Clapper captures the essence of classic clap sounds, inspired by the Roland TR-909. With 45 Factory Presets and 21 custom analog samples, including TR-808, TR-909, and HC-2 tones, it infuses vintage percussion into modern music. The plugin encourages experimentation by supporting custom sample imports, enabling you to explore synth shots, piano noises, and vocals.
Best Free 909 VST Plugins 2023
1. MaxSynths DR-910
As the name suggests, DR-910 is a Roland TR-909 drum machine emulation.
The plugin attempts to recreate the original unit’s sounds by emulating each sound section (kick, snare, tom, hi-hat, and cymbal) individually. The result is a delightfully close reproduction. Furthermore, it adds to the legacy by including effects to make mixing easier.
- Mixing Effects
The DR-910 includes a reverb, compressor, and a Lo-Fi effect. Each channel has an individual send control for the reverb, whereas the compressor is tailored to work with drums. And the Lo-Fi effect includes three modes for convenience. Overall, they offer enough for in-the-box mixing.
- Four Outputs
The plugin includes four outputs for external mixing. They come in handy in real-world uses. Not only that, you can assign one of the outputs for the reverb channel as well. So, you can process the wet reverb signal alone with EQs or other effect plugins to achieve cleaner mixes.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit only. It comes in VST 2 format.
If you are a fan of the Roland TR-909 drum machine, you will enjoy this plugin. It captures the long-standing classic used in pop, hip-hop, electro, and many other genres. The multi-out feature also provides much more flexibility than one would expect.
2. Synsonic BD-909
Synsonic BD-909 allows you to generate 909-style bass drum sounds.
It is known for its simplicity and effectiveness in recreating the iconic TR-909 bass drum sound. It has various parameters for adjusting the envelope, tuning the sound, and adding distortion. It also has ready-made kick sounds in its presets that you can use.
- Envelope Adjustment
BD-909 has parameters like Attack, Decay, and Hold that let you adjust the envelope of the bass drum. In addition, there’s also an Accent knob which controls the emphasis or emphasis level of a particular sound or beat within the drum pattern.
- Sonic-shaping of the kick
The distortion capability in the plugin allows you to add rich textures to the sound. In addition, you can also add a noise decay knob to control the duration of the noise component present in drum sounds. The noise component adds a “sizzle” or “sibilance” to the sound, giving it a more realistic and textured quality.
- Tune adjustment
The Pitch parameter controls the fundamental pitch or tone of the drum sound. It allows you to raise or lower the pitch of the drum hit so you can tune the kick as per the key of your song. Next, the Tune Decay parameter affects how the pitch changes over the decay phase of the drum sound. Lastly, the Tune Depth parameter adjusts the intensity of the Tune Decay effect and determines the degree to which the pitch shift occurs during the decay phase.
BD-909 is available in VST and AU plugin formats (32 and 64-bit) in Windows and Mac operating systems.
Overall, the plugin is a great kick drum synthesizer that gives you the authentic 909 kick sound and lets you customize it as per your song and sonic requirements, so you can tune it, adjust its envelope, and add a unique sonic signature to your drum patterns.
Sonic Academy Kick 2
Sonic Academy Kick 2 is an award-winning synthesizer plugin designed for creating and shaping kick drum sounds, including the TR-909 Kick drum sound.
It offers extensive tools to sculpt, manipulate, and craft the perfect kick drum, eliminating the need to rely on low-quality sampled kicks. The plugin is known for its versatility and quality in kick synthesis, particularly in electronic and dance genres. Kick 2’s features allow you to tailor the kick’s tone, attack, sustain, and other parameters to match their creative vision.
With a diverse collection of more than 230 contemporary factory samples spanning various genres, including 80s Dance music, accompanied by precise and comprehensive controls, Kick 2 offers limitless potential for crafting distinctive samples.
- Click Manipulation
The Click section comprises three distinct zones for loading, modifying, and amalgamating different kick drums to craft entirely new samples. Each zone features four unique controls: the “Pitch” knob for tuning adjustment, the “Length” and “Start” knobs for precise sample section trimming, and a filtering knob to eliminate unwanted frequencies from the kick drum.
- Sub Enhancements
The Sub control area offers a singular opportunity to imbue your kick drum with harmonics, adding a distinctive touch. Within this segment, you’ll find three straightforward controls: a squared display for adjusting harmonic levels, a “Pitch” knob for tuning harmonics, and the “Harmonics” knob to dictate the degree of harmonic presence within your sample.
- Waveform Visualization
Sonic Academy introduces an advanced waveform display with comprehensive analysis parameters, elevating your kick drum design precision. This display provides toggles to exhibit the waveforms of both the clicks and sub-elements configured in the aforementioned sections. This visual representation allows you to view your source elements and their combined output, aiding in monitoring your desired kick envelope.
- Enhanced Effects
Kick 2 features an extensive effects suite to infuse depth and character into your kick drums. It includes a 4-band equalizer, a versatile distortion module with three distinct modes, a kick-optimized compressor, and a limiter. These tools enable you to fine-tune your kick’s balance, preventing conflicts with other elements in your project.
- Effortless Export
Among Kick 2’s most exciting features is the rendering section. With a single click, you can swiftly render your custom-designed kick drum. This rendered sample can be integrated into your project as a standalone element or exported for use in external plugins or devices, such as samplers, expanding your creative possibilities.
Kick 2 is available as a VST, AU, and VST3 plugin for both macOS and Windows platforms.
Kick 2 stands as a comprehensive plugin that accommodates diverse workflows. Armed solely with its rich assortment of factory samples (including 909 samples) and the freedom to blend them, you can craft kick drums spanning all genres. In addition, its effects and editing tools also let you sculpt your kick sounds as per your taste and preferences.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.