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As I teach myself to be a better sound engineer on my home setup, I'd like to turn the weedy Roland CR78 samples I've transferred to my Steinberg Groove Agent into something a lot more powerful-sounding. This is a useful exercise in EQ and FX for me. So far, I've done rather poorly - the bass drum in particular just sounds worse.

On Ultravox's 1980 recording of Vienna, the drum machine has been massively beefed up, better than I've heard it on any other track. What did Warren Cann and Conny Plank do to that machine to make it sound so punchy? I'd welcome ideas.

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Boswell Fri, 05/11/2018 - 10:59

This is what Warren Cann said about tweaking his TR-77 and CR-78 boxes:

After looking at the circuit boards of these drum machines, I discovered that the analog circuits which made up the sounds (no samples stored in memory chips on this stuff) had little ceramic 'trim' potentiometers. What they were actually for I have no idea but, by tweaking them, I could change the sounds slightly for the better. The bass drum, for example, might sound moderately like a thump through the low amplification of a guitar amp or through a studio monitor but through the microscope of multi-thousands of watts of amplification afforded through a big PA at a gig, it would sound like a gigantic beach ball going "Boiiinng!" I was able to harden the bass drum and snare (something I was always trying to find ways of doing with these 'soft' sounds).