Metasonix has announced the D-1000, the first drum machine made with vacuum tubes since the Wurlitzer Sideman of 1959.
Unlike the Sideman, it’s a “modern” primitive device–with plenty of inputs, outputs, and flexibility.
Even though it has only four drum sounds — two tunable drums, a tunable “snare” drum (harder sounding than the others), and a cymbal — control voltage inputs give great flexibility.
Each of the tunable drums is made from a vacuum tube ringing bandpass filter, and can be tuned to sound from below 20 Hz to over 2 kHz. They are also tunable with external control voltages, allowing complex patterns to be built up with external CV or pulse sources. Resonance of each filter circuit is set by internal trimpots. The cymbal sound is an extremely primitive circuit, with white noise gated by a pentode tube. The cymbal’s attack is knob-variable and CV variable, from a sharp click to a soft “whoosh”. The four outputs mix to a single tube preamp that allows for overdriving via the mix-level controls.
In keeping with the primitive nature of the soundmaking section, the pattern sequencer is extremely simple. Unlike early drumboxes, we won’t subject you to preset nonsense like “waltz”, “foxtrot”, “swing” or the like. Instead, there is a single 8-pulse sequence with separate enable switches for each drum sound–set a toggle switch up to get the sound at that point, down for silence. Great for house, hardcore or other simple 4/4 patterns. The internal clock is settable from 60 BPM to over 1000 BPM. There is also a “roll” clock signal built-in, to generate a faster drumroll on any drum sound by pressing a button (speed is preset with an internal trimpot). If you don’t like the internal sequencer, there are separate trigger inputs for each of the four sounds (the trigger pulse must be 0 to +5v, and less than 40 mS long). These trigger inputs operate in parallel with the built-in sequencer, so the D-1000’s sounds may be triggered by its internal sequence and external pulses at the same time. As a bonus, the three tunable drums can also be used as tunable bandpass filters, by feeding a line audio signal to each trigger input.
Ample inputs and outputs: mix output (with overdriveable tube preamp), separate outputs for each drum sound, external trigger inputs for each drum sound, and a main clock output (0-5v) for slaving external generators to the internal clock.
No, it does not sound like a TR-606. It’s a beast you have never seen or heard before.
- Inputs and outputs 1/8″ jacks, except main mix output on 1/4″ jack.
- Enclosed in rugged, moisture-resistant ABS utility box with hinged lid, carrying handle and latch.
- Size with lid closed 12.25″x7.4″x6.5″ (314mmx186mmx168mm), weight (minus AC adapter) approx 3 lbs (2.1 kg).
- Power: 12-16 volts AC, 50/60 Hz, 1.5 amps. Uses Jameco 167151 AC adapter for power in 120v countries. Power inlet: 2.1mm coaxial jack.