Control Synthesis Deep Bass Nine

Control Synthesis Deep Bass Nine Image

The Deep Bass Nine was commissioned (circa 1994) by UK-based second-hand retailer FX Music Control as an alternative analog mono-bass-synth to satiate the demand for the Roland TB-303. Yes, this is another TB-303 clone. It's very simple and straightforward with basic controls that mirror those found on the TB-303. While it does not actually do a particularly good job at emulating the TB-303 sound, it is still a true analog MIDI-controlled bass synth with plenty of thumpin' bass potential of its own.

The DB9 is a single-unit rack module with all ten of its knobs on the front panel. There are no hidden menus. Just like the TB-303, the DB9's single oscillator offers two waveforms to choose from - a sawtooth or square wave. That is followed by the 303-cloned Tuning, filter Cut Off Frequency and Resonance, Env Mod, Decay and Accent knobs. Additionally you can set the DB9 to one of the 16 standard MIDI channels, and you can set it to use its external audio input instead of the oscillator allowing you to process external audio through its analog filter (inputs and outputs are mono).

Speaking of filters, a big part of the TB-303 sound is defined by its unique 18 dB/oct filter. Unfortunately the DB9 is not using an 18 dB/oct filter, which is one major factor contributing to its poor emulation the TB-303. The DB9 uses a 24 dB/oct filter which still sounds great - just not very 303-like. It also has a limited frequency cut-off control but a strong resonance control. The resulting sound, although not quite as sharp in the mid range as a TB-303, seems much more deep and warm.

Of course, since the DB9 has no on-board TB-303-like sequencer, MIDI control is essential. The all-import Accent feature of the TB-303 is controlled here by MIDI note velocity - and turning up the Accent knob dials in how much it affects, not the volume of the note, but the filter's frequency and loudness. There is a hidden Glide control, although this is more like a portamento that seems to add some extra release on the envelope.

The Glide and the Cut Off Frequency are the only two parameters that can be controlled via MIDI CC. Unfortunately, none of the knobs output MIDI CC data, which means all live control changes need to be performed and/or recorded live. There is also, sadly, no memory onboard for storing some of your settings. So you'll have to resort to old school patch setting storage techniques with the DB9. But on the bright side, the DB9 has a built-in CV/Gate converter with inputs and outputs. So it can either be used with some older pre-MIDI equipment you may have or it can be used to bring certain pre-MIDI equipment into the world of MIDI.

There are better alternatives for a TB-303 clone out there (like the x0xb0x for instance) but the DB9 comes close. Its strength is that it has its own natural and warm unique sound which has many sweet spots. The sawtooth and square waves are very thick and full sounding, and you can push the resonance right up till it howls. It sits in a mix very well too, so it makes for an ideal dedicated bass synthesizer module. And they're fairly cheap too!

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10 Visitor comments
November 27, 2013 @ 5:36 pm
The db9 is brilliant! Not so much on the face, but it gives you a lot. A BIG sound, and surprising possibilities using the midi function Accent / Glide / Legato / Modwheel. You really can go far, and most of all the sound fit incredibly in your mix. Easy to feel in the low end (damn it is big!!) and it in the high end, where it is totally crystal clear. Please also note that is is perfect in the range A-1 to G+7. Bleeps lover.
manual here:
(and 8 new demos of the db9 showing its damn possibilities ! go to acidbed user on youtube)
Peter Seiersen
November 17, 2013 @ 10:39 pm
@ Nick, thx Nick. I heard about that "jokey pamphlet", but for some reason I have this feeling that having the manual for a piece of equipment makes it "complete" somehow. but that's just me. Anyway if you do make a scan/copy/pdf know that it is highly appreciated!
Cheers :)
November 17, 2013 @ 1:58 pm
@ peter seiersen i have it somewhere but you could barely call it a manual its more a jokey pamphlet that explains a little bit about synthesis in general, still if i find it soon i will give you a shout but honestly your not missing anything !
Peter Seiersen
November 16, 2013 @ 1:07 am
I bought a DB9 years ago, bu he didn't have the owners manual, and I have been looking every dark corner of the internet for the shadow or similar of one. does it even exist? and if so, could someone pls take the time to scan/copy/make a .pdf of it perhaps? I guess more ppl than just me would be very grateful. I really like this synth and would be glad to know even more about it's potential.
July 18, 2012 @ 11:03 am
Its pretty cool for acid, although far from 303 it's defo 101. Apparently you can open it up and adjust the internal pots? I believe you can adjust the range of the resonance and Filter. It definitely needs it as there's next to no range on the filter to make it tweakable.
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Rated 3.43 (81 Votes)

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO
  • Waveforms - square, saw
  • LFO - None
  • Filter - 24 dB/oct
  • Envelope - Decay
  • Effects - None
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - None
  • Control - MIDI IN, THRU. CV/Gate IN, OUT
  • Date Produced - 1994

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