Roland TR-606 Drumatix
The Limited Edition Burnkit2600 modified Roland TR-606 DFM in detail:
The infamous little ‘Drumatix’ is the computer-controlled analog drum machine born in 1981 along with it’s super-model twin sister, the TB-303 Bass Line generator. And while miss 303 and their older cousin the TR-808 rose to fame, The 606 waited – biding her time as a handy, but under-featured cult-classic – whose time has come.
Overall, I expanded the machine’s playability with more than 50 new real-time features!
The Rear Connection Panel replicates all of the original ins and outs:
Boss style -9v power connector – battery-only operation has been abandoned but
pattern data IS stored virtually forever via a Ni/Cd battery.
Main audio output, headphone audio output, LT & HT trigger out jacks,
DIN sync connector port, DIN in/out switch, start/stop foot-switch input jack.
Additionally, 3 AUDIO INPUT JACKS are provided for injecting a signal to mix with or replace the
1) Snare drum noise path,
2) Tom drum noise path,
3) Cymbal or hats shared oscillators.
There are also INDIVIDUAL AUDIO OUTPUT JACKS for the
Bass drum, Snare, summed Tom drums, Cymbal, summed Hi-Hats.
The Analog Panel provides 28 pots for superb control for all the following instrument parameters.
BASS DRUM: envelope emphasis, adjustable decay rate, tonality and augmented pitch.
SNARE DRUM: input 1 and/or original white noise signal mixer;
noise channel/input 1 decay rate; noise channel/input 1 tonality; oscillator pitch.
HATS: Open & Closed High Hat decays, oscillator frequency (pitch), and oscillator frequency overdrive.
CYMBAL: Blend between the 2 cymbal elements (bell and bow); decay rate, bow tonality, bow mix between oscillators and white noise. Additionally, Hats and Cymbal bow share a blend control for input 3 and/or their shared oscillators.
TOM DRUMS: The main controls for the Low Tom and High Tom largely work in concert with each other.
That is, there are controls for individual volume, decay rate, envelope emphasis and pitch control. The unique architecture of the Tom drums links them together so that a balance must be found between the 2.
At their extremes, each control can override or be defeated by their siblings control. This structure is retained and further exploited with the ‘MEGATOM’ toggle switch.
This epic modification works primarily to combine the 2 separate Tom drums into 1 super, 808 bass drum rivaling hit. In this mode, the Tom drum controls are extended and take on new characteristics that can work in unison together as a single Mega drum, or as separate augmented Tom drums. Either way, a careful hand is needed to tame the beast.
TOM DRUM NOISE element is handled separately. Though triggered in unison with either the High or Low Toms, the NOISE channel can be mixed in separately, offering further controls to blend between input 2 and/or the original white noise element; plus an extended/shortened decay rate and filter tonality for input 2 and/or the white noise.
The Real Time Sequencing Panel features 10 half-sized arcade style buttons that allow for real ‘on the fly’
individual drum part SEQUENCE MUTING or quantized DRUM TRIGGERS with rudimentary velocity control that can provide stronger hits than when sequenced. A toggle/LED arrangement selects between these 2 modes and provides control for the
Snare Noise channel/Input 1
Tom Noise channel/Input 2
Open and Closed High Hats.
These sounds can be triggered/muted in either pattern play or write modes, while creating or switching between patterns,
and are quantize-synced to the sequence clock, or incoming clock signal.
So this same array of buttons allows for quick changes, real-time creative pattern arrangement & fills,
drops, part mutes and straight up MPC style quantize-drumming.
This panel also includes an ACCENT Bypass switch/LED for dropping out the sequenced accent parts.
The cabinet was painstakingly designed to make the instrument a joy to play. Each cabinet is cut and crafted by hand from one piece of Walnut. The panels are hand-made from high-grade ply and use a custom laser-transfer process.
High quality parts and top craftsmanship all-around will ensure your investment for years to come!
Here’s a glimpse from a few stages in the life of each of the 606 DFMs:
My gorgeous little prototype that started it all:
Here it is at work, making use of multiple ins, outputs & sync; It’s survived a ton of rigorous field testing!
Demo Videos and Downloads:
The 1st prototype demo:
Everything is synced up and feeling good:
You can get the above track, ‘Sub Base Acid’ for free right here.
One of the Limited Editions, having survived rigorous quality control testing, time for a little lo-fi analog electro jam !
Another Limited Edition, a quick vid showing off a few features up close and one handed. Plus straight DIN sync to a Roland CR-8000 (my next major mod target).
One last Limited Edition demo, this time a dual quality control jam with one of Justin’s newly completed HR-16 mod jobs.
You can get the above track, “Hr-16 and TR-606 Mod Party” for free right here.
To sum it up, The TR-606 DFM is a huge undertaking to build, a ton of fun to play, and may just rival an 808 – It excels at all kinds of beat styles minimal and extreme!
To discuss your purchase or to hire a commissioned piece, you can use the form below, or send an old-fashioned email to:
thom at burnkit2600 dot com
Thanks for checking out the TR-606 DFM!