The 626 is a classic, 80s drum machine that's some sort of cross between a 505, 707 and 727, while adding additional sounds these other units don't feature. It's based around acoustic samples, and features 80s gated reverb snares, iconic congas, dry bass drums, crunchy cabasas, agogos, timbales, a cool assortment of cymbals and more. In fact, with 30 voices, the 626 packs in a greater variety of sounds than any other TR series drum machine.
If you head to Vintage Synth Explorer (actually, stay here!) the comments section is a huge, 10 year thread of people defending their love for this under-appreciated machine. The consensus: the 626 is simple but solid - featuring a large assortment of undeniably TR drum sounds, with individual pitching for all voices, individual outs, and a great sequencer. The sounds are useable and fun, (if you're obsessed with anything 80s house - related, this machine is a dream). And with a little bit of processing it's easy to get the 626 to really come alive:
We decided to capture the 626 in the spirit of the original samples - clean and dry. First, we popped some batteries in to remove the inevitable hum from the original power supply. From there, it was straight into our punchy API preamp, and directly to tape, finally capturing the results through the excellent Symphony MKII converter. We multi-sampled every drum voice at all 15 pitches (the pitching is digital and crunchy!).
Once we'd captured the samples cleanly, we opted for an additional, slightly colored version of every drum sound. For this coloration, we called on the amazing Overstayer Saturator (in parallel, to open up the sustain a bit) and the super clean Thermionic Swift EQ. We purposefully only applied slight processing, so that whatever EQ, saturation, compression you use will sound better.
The results: just over 900 individual 24 bit 626 samples, formatted for your favorite software, and featuring (8) 16 hit kits, perfect for instant jamming. You'll get clean kits, color kits, percussion, hats & shakers, and cymbals.
The 626 is a charming, fun, and super useable set of 80s drum samples. With its huge gated snares, china cymbals and dead-warm bass drums, it offers sounds you will not find on any other TR. Especially when surrounding the 626 with other TR samples, and applying some slight processing, this thing really shines and it's no wonder people have been defending their love for this drum machine for decades.