I want to connect Alesis MMT-8 to Roland TR-909 via MIDI. Carefully studying the manuals, I try to record what is pressed on the TR-909 by recording with the MMT8 and pressing instrument keys on the 909 but it gives me a cacaphony playing some random stuff that was saved on the 909, or nothing at all if I place the 909 on a part that has no 909 memory for it. Now I wonder why it plays the part stored from the 909, why I can't reset the TR-909 to factory values and how I connect the two pieces via MIDI? I tried various combinations of the MIDI setting such as "unchanged" and different channels for sending or receiving, but what could be the issue is the switch of the 909 from internal to external which I might've failed to perform. Can you help me?


I also tried connecting a Samson Graphite 49 and turning the equipment on by default, the 909 listens to the 49 so the 909 is actually listening on MIDI, it's the isngla from the MMT that a) doesn't get reorded from the 909 and b) doesn't trigger MIDI correctly with the 909, it does trigger MIDI but it trigggers the internal. It might be the setting between eternal and internal on the 909 that I must set. What do you think?

Update 2

I've connected midi out from the Samson Graphite 49 to MIDI in to the MMT8 and then MIDI through from the MMT8 to the TR909, then the 909 listens to MIDI signals from the Samson keyboard but it's not possible to record and playback in Cubase. What am I doing wrong?

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Update 130526 15:00

Now I can play the 909 and the synth recorded from Cubase and I can record and playback the synth with Cubase but I havn't got the MMt8 to work with the setup, the MMT8 might not be needed when I have Cubase.

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Update 130526 23:12

I've now recorded the result of the soundcheck from cubase with audiogalaxy. The MMT8 might be depracated by cubase and the main thing is that I got the 909 sequenced combined with a VST synth.

  • 1
    Certainly it cannot be done, so why not consider selling your 909 to me? I'll give you $50 for it. It's such an old device anyway... it's not like it's a legend of any kind. :-D
    – Brad
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 13:51

2 Answers 2


It sounds like your MMT-8 is sending a MIDI Play signal to the TR-909, which causes the 909 to start playing whatever pattern has been stored. But your MMT-8 is also playing its own pattern, so you end up with a cacophony.

I don't have an 909 myself, but according to page 37 of the manual, you can put the 909 into external instrument mode by pressing the shift and external instrument keys together when in Pattern Write Mode. The manual says that this toggles between external and internal mode, which may mean that one mode is for controlling an external instrument with the 808 and the other is for using an external MIDI source to play the 909.

Beware that the TR-909 can produce dangerously funky bass frequencies. If you can't get the machine to work, I can safely dispose of it for you for a low fee :-)

  • The 9009 is definetely listening to MIDI and I want to connect it with a sequencer. I also have a Samson Graphite 49 MIDI controller that I can connect to the computer so I think I should be able to get it going without the MIDI interface (I got the Roland UM-4 but there's no driver for windows 7). Commented May 25, 2013 at 16:40
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    OK, but you are going to need to disable the 909's internal sequencer first. Otherwise you will continue to hear the cacophony that you have complained of. Commented May 25, 2013 at 21:14
  • It's working with cubase now. I posted the soundcheck to soundcloud.com/niklasr/909plussynth Commented May 26, 2013 at 21:10
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    Did you get the MMT8 working also, or did you decide to just stick with Cubase for sequencing? It should be possible to control the MMT8 with Cubase, but then you would store your sequences on the MMT8 and just use Cubase to start/stop, set tempo, and select programs. That seems awkward, but some people really love the MMT8. Commented May 26, 2013 at 21:58
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    I just played your soundschecks - very nice! Commented May 28, 2013 at 2:21

What version OS is installed? Don't bother attempting any MIDI unless you have the latest OS with the "MIDI timing fix". Or just use DIN Sync, if possible with your setup, until you upgrade the OS. In my experience, there will be timing issues even though the units will "sync" with MIDI.

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