Zoë Blade's notebook


DrumStation tech specs

Novation DrumStation
Novation DrumStation

  • Released: 1996
  • Company: Novation
  • Type: Drum synthesiser
  • Audio out: 6 + stereo pair
  • Control: MIDI
  • Size: 1U

The DrumStation was a rackmounted, MIDI controlled drum synthesiser made by Novation in 1996.[1] It clones the sounds of Roland's TR-808 and TR-909, including the ability to slightly tweak them, but eschews their internal digital step sequencers in favour of external control via MIDI.

Much like Roland's R-8M, it was seemingly made in response to everyone using dedicated MIDI sequencers on, say, their Atari ST, and only needing drum machines' sounds themselves.

Compared to the real things, it takes up far less space, and even the 808 sounds can now be triggered via MIDI (and hence easily swung, for instance, as well as given independent accents). Compared to samples, twiddling knobs to tweak the sounds is quicker and more intuitive than browsing lists of files. I think it's a pretty underrated machine.

See also

Notable users


  1. "Novation DrumStation" Paul Nagle, Sound On Sound, Jul 1996
  2. "Massive Attack's New Studio" Sue Sillitoe, Sound On Sound, Oct 2005
  3. "Underworld: The Making of 'Everything, Everything'" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Dec 2000




Note names

Drum synthesisers: Concussor | DrumStation | Syncussion-1

Novation: DrumStation | DrumStation guide