Born in 1985, the 707 was a digital drum machine resembling the 909, but was much more affordable. It featured a combination of Linndrum, LM1, and 909 style sounds, but sounded grittier and more compressed. Because of its character and price point, it's no wonder the 707 defined countless early Detroit Techno and Chicago House jams and is still widely used today.
But the 707 was quite limited - with no control of tuning (or any parameters). Thankfully, our 707 features a very unique and crunchy sounding modification: a custom oscillator controls the sample rate for every voice, providing all sorts of tuning options and aliased circuit bent madness:
The 707's drums are inherently familiar: Linn-esc bassdrums, snares toms, and cowbells and tambourines, and 909 hi hats, claps, and cymbals. But, unlike its relatives, the 707 is punchier and tighter.
Because of this, the drums naturally cut through a mix, with no EQ required. So when sampling, we opted for no additional EQ or compression - tracking the machine through our Reddi tube DI into an API 512C, to tape. We grabbed every hit cleanly (with no modification engaged), and some flams for good measure.
Once we had the classic kit, we engaged the circuit bending / tuning knobs. Each knob controls the sample rate of an oscillator that has been built for every drum voice. This allows super crunchy and aliased pitching to the right, and extreme circuit bending to the left, turning this 707 into one of the more special drum machines I've ever used.
We captured a huge amount of these knob positions for every drum voice (sometimes up to 65 pitches!). Then, we jammed more spontaneously - twisting and turning knobs, sequencing multiple hits at once, capturing the results to tape.
Finally, we plugged the 707 into our favorite sounding sampler: the SP1200. There is a reason we come back to the SP again and again: it just sounds punchier and stranger than anything else.
Often we'll clip the converter on the SP, but for this batch of samples we opted to preserve the 707's punch, with no input clipping. Once the sounds were on the 1200, we engaged different (analog Curtis) filters at each output, and sampled every pitch for every drum voice, through our API 1608 console, to tape.
Finally, everything entered the computer (it has to at some point!). And once all of the hits were chopped (thanks Ben!), we made 10 16x kits comprised of the best sounding drums. This gives you the clean 707, the SP1200 kits, and the modified / circuit bent 707 kits . So - I think we should all be covered for 707 sounds for a while. At least until the next 7/07 day!