Thanks to Syntheticbits for this shot of FunkBox on the iPad in the studio with all the original machines.

5 comments

  1. Yes, I found this very impressive. Once he releases the update for the sequencer the app should be pretty solid.

    When it comes to 808 samples I rock with the Tape808 guys. I got tons of high quality 24bit samples and just waiting for the perfect iPad/iPhone app with sample editing to dump them in.

  2. If you want a nice place to dump your Tape808 samples into, check out iSequence for iPad that was just updated. It just might blow your mind!

  3. It actually bums me out to realize that these guys have the original gear and then turn around and make kits that sound nothing like the original! They should leave out the printed cathedral reverb on the samples, the 606 “rim” (don't remember having one on mine!), the low-boosted 808 kick. Sincerely love this app. otherwise.

  4. Hey,

    “Nothing like the original” is maybe a little bit much, don't you think?

    It's funny you mention the 808 being low boosted because there's a comment on the US iTunes store that the 808 kick sample I used doesn't have ENOUGH bass and I need to fix that and add the real thing with mooore bassssss!

    It's hard to make everyone happy with samples, because people prefer different things — some want to hear the 808 they've heard on records, some want to hear the 808 they have coming right off their own machines, some want to hear the way the 808 made them feel fifteen years ago. I tried to put in some representative samples there that I liked, that would be fun to play with… I'm sorry if they aren't to your tastes, but I did try.

    As for the 606 rim shot sample… yes, not all the machines have all the same sounds, so when they were missing something, I substituted a sound from another machine, in that case I think it was from the 808.

    This was just done for consistency, I didn't want to confuse people by having some of the sounds only be active for certain drum machines. The app in general is meant to be fun, and easy to use, so that's why I made that choice.

    Sorry again, you don't like the samples. I will try to put some cleaner ones in a future version, but again, it's hard to make everyone happy. The 808 kick has a wide variety of settings, I could get a completely clean and perfect sample at a setting I liked, and I'm sure there would be people who didn't like it. So it goes…

    -SB

  5. For a little bit of background on the drum machines, I was recording an album where the synth sounds were all Nord Modular, sequenced inside the Nord Modular instead of with a computer. I decided to do the same with the drum sounds, and only sequence the beats within the boxes themselves, so I started buying some of my old favorite drum machines to try to make a record the “old fashioned” way before computer DAWs.

    To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, once you get a serious drum collection going, the tendency is to push it as far as you can… so eventually I got the 808 and 909 you see there. I'd always loved their sounds but had only used a Novation Drumstation, it was cool to play with the real boxes and their sequencers and learn their quirks and intricacies.

    Playing with those sequencers made me realize that I ended up with different sounding results doing it the “hard way”, rather than on a computer screen. So when I was going to make my first music app I decided I wanted to try to replicate that quirky feel you get with the older machines, where they don't do exactly what you want them to, but that pushes you in certain ways to get some interesting results.

    Anyway, I sold several of the machines after finishing the album, but still have the ones that are in FunkBox. I might sell them after making a couple more sample sets, but it's been cool to play with the original boxes that for so many years I'd just listened to and used samples from and dreamed of owning. I'm glad I got a chance to use them first hand at least for a while, to experience the process through which some of my favorite music was made.

    Hopefully the FunkBox app gives you at least a little bit of that same feeling…

    Thanks
    -SB

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