Can you imagine a TR-909 drum box with Elektron’s keyloks but much smaller than it?
It exists and its called Jomox X-Base 09. It was released in 1997 with the initial idea of selling the best 909 clone as much as possible, but adding some interesting things to expand the concept.
When you are playing for the first time, you appreciate that it’s very solid, so it has nice wooden sides that enhance its beauty.
Then you have 3 channels, being the first two analog and the third digital. There are Kick Drum, Snare Drum and the latest channel is for Clap, Open Hat, Closed Hat, Ride, Cymbal and RimShot.
On the Kick Drum section (CH1) you can control parameters like Tune, Pitch, Decay, Harmonics, Pulse, Noise, Attack & Eq, all in real time, enabling to make 909 kicks or sounds with more decay, but not so much as in a real 808.
On the Snare Drum (CH2), you have Tune, XSnapp, Decay, Detune and Noise Tune. While with the first channel you can make easily 909 kicks, the second is not at all accurate with the original snare, being more noisy and experimental.
On the third, you can control Tune, Hit Hat Balance, CH Decay and OH Decay, enabling to change a lot the original samples. By the way, they are stored in 8bit data.
Its sound fits perfectly in Techno music, House, IDM, Industrial, 8bit… Even I’ve met a musician producer that he has used it so much with Flamenco’s artists…
It’s really incredible how the kick sounds. If you compare in real time with the kick of the 909, you will check it out that the Jomox kick can be more aggressive than in the Roland drum box.
Then, there is a great sequencer with a lot of interesting things. You could program if you want each step with a different tempo, decay, tone, etc. In addition to this, there is Lfo’s per channel, reverse mode and an unbelievable shuffle mode, perfect to experiment and to get unexpected rhythms.
If you have tried some Elektron Machines, you will see how useful are keyloks. Thus, you have to know that the way of doing this is exactly the same because they copied the idea and applied in their machines with interesting evolutions.
Also, there are Din Sync out to synchronize some Roland box with this protocol and Midi In, Midi Out, and Midi Thru to whatever you need to connect.
The bad points are the “Real Time Write Mode” because it doesn’t work very well, so sometimes it doesn’t record a sound when you press on a certain step. (The best way to program this drum box is with “Write Mode”)
Also, if you have problems with one of the 26 LED switch, Jomox won’t sell to you original or, at least, compatible switches. So, until recently, there was a problem, until currently, because the circuitbenders people are changing the original switches for 60 pounds.
In addition to this, don’t forget that it has just 3 voices of polyphony, so if you want to put two sounds in the third channel, you won’t. In my opinion, that’s not bad, because it forces to you being more creative.
In short, if you want a mini 909 in size and prize but with the possibility of keylocks, this is a great alternative.