View Full Description
High-Powered Gain Stage
The SD808 is equipped with an onboard high-powered output gain stage capable of producing signals up to 20Vp.p. This addition of a gain stage emulates the old practice of running original drum machines through outboard amplifiers to add gain, and passing that signal through other devices to generate additional harmonics from clipping and distortion. This expanded sound palette featured in the SD808 gives you the ability to make use of an array of harmonized snare drum sounds from razor sharp attacks to heavily crushed sounds. The SD808 can even go hotter than the standard levels of modular VCOs, making it one of the most useful ways to achieve big, gritty, rich sounds from the SD808 circuitry.
Tiptop Audio have also added an in-house designed dual pulse-shaper circuit, enabling you to trigger the SD808 using Trigger or Gate signals from a variety of other equipment such as clock dividers, step sequencers, or other clock/pulse sources. This design means you get the same stable sound at its peak power regardless of differences in your pulse source without the need to shape the pulses sent to the module.
Accent & Levels
Accent is what makes a beat sound natural and full of life. The SD808 features an accent input, which is a gate/trigger signal. When this accent input is not in use, the incoming gate input is routed to both the accent input and the gate input, serving two purposes. It allows you to reach the hottest drum sound possible, even when no accent input signal is connected, whilst simultaneously utilising the Accent control knob to act as a fine control for the output gain level. However, when connecting to the accent input, the gate input routing will be broken, allowing for independent control over your desired accent regardless of the incoming gate signal. Setting the knob higher will result in large gain level differences between accented and un-accented notes, where as lower will have the opposite effect. Compared to the original drum machine which featured a global accent control which affected all of the sounds on the machine at the same time, the SD808 gives you complete independent control over the accent of your snare drum sounds without compromising your other modules, giving you extensive dynamic options.
Snappy - The Noise Machine
The SD808 features white noise that goes through a VCA with gain controlled by an envelope generator. This is where the Snappy control knob comes in. Controlling the envelope generator amplitude, Snappy also has a slight variation over the decay time. This in turn either adds or subtracts the white noise component of the sound to the mix alongside the other two sine tones. Snappy also determines how hard the Accent signal hitting the circuit will sound. Setting Snappy a little higher than minimum can provide some truly incredible dynamics.
The SD808 uses three sound generators to create its drum sounds. Two of which are pure sine wave T-Network oscillators. Each oscillator generates a sine wave that naturally decays over time, with each being set at a different pitch - one low, the other high. The Tone control comes into play by setting the mix of these two sine generators with the low pitch sine at CCW, high pitch at CW, and the mix of both in the full range sweep.
Noise Source Adjustment
Following in the footsteps of the original drum machine, the SD808 is equipped with a trimmer, allowing you to set the gain of the white noise generator. Originally calibrated to match the factory settings of the classic drum machine, this can also be adjusted by yourself using the trimmer on the left hand side of the module. Using a small flat-heat screwdriver, you are completely free to experiment and control the different levels of noise on your SD808.
Each analog drum module made by Tiptop audio uses a well-tuned patch that utilises a T-Network of sine generators, noise sources, VCAs, envelopes, and filter circuits designed specifically for creating incredible percussive sounds. Patching each of these modular components together, Tiptop has created a tremendous way of generating specific sounds. Only the highest quality discrete parts are used, and in a minimal fashion. Combining multiple Tiptop Audio modules gives you the option to create a truly personalised sound-set with a huge range of flexibility. Whether its just for playing a groove alongside other bass-lines and other melodies, or complex switching of trigger signals on the fly whilst having drum sounds travel through additional sound processors to create unpredictable and intricate results, Tiptop Audio's premium modular design opens the doors to a whole new world of sound.