808 rimshot synthesis

Hello, I recently had some fun and even some convincing results recreating tr 808 sound. Still very much a work in progress, though. Lots of great reads, schematics, research etc. Very helpful if you don’t know your vca from your vco.

One sound I absolutely fail to recreate even approximately is the rimshot. I’m trying to stick as close as I can to the methods in the original. There is almost no useful information I can find (I don’t know how to calculate frequencies on the basis of R values or any such wizardry). So either this is considered to be so simple it needs no explanation, or nobody is interested.

It’s he last sound I need to add, and it’s frankly driving me nuts. So any useful information would be greatly appreciated!

I put this post in how to’s. Hope that’s ok.

Thank you 😊


  • I've recntly done CR-78 HiHats and Snare but inded the 808 rim shot sounds like an interesting challenge.

    I'll have a look at the schematics and see if I can get it 😉

  • Looks simple but it was a tough one indeed.

  • That’s pretty close, thank you!

    Did you pry this out of the schematics or played more by ear?

  • edited May 15

    @denx I usually do sound design by ear but with such a short transient sound that was too difficult.

    First the schematics to see the basic elements of sound generation, then digging into the waveform of a sampled 808 rim shot (which still didn't make things easier 😅), then repeatedly playing the original vs my patch and fine-tuning it until it matched well enough.

    "Weird transients" are the most difficult to synthesize IMHO.

    They're also what makes a big difference between a good and a bad model of an acoustic instrument.

  • In case you don't know it, the Sound on Sound Synthesis secrets articles are an excellent resource. But it's interesting they don't tackle rimshots:

     "We've analysed and synthesized timpani, kick drums, snare drums, cymbals, hi-hats, bells, cowbells and claves, and that's enough to get anyone started. Sure, we could go on to recreate toms, rimshots, hand claps, congas, and any number of other percussion instruments, but many of these use the principles we have already discussed."


  • edited May 15

    Thank you for elaborating!

    I tried with 2 self oscillating bandpass filters in an attempt to emulate the bridged t-networks generators. The result is not anywhere close 😂

  • Thanks, yes I know it and they are indeed an excellent resource!

  • edited May 15

    That was exactly my first try after studying the schematics, but it seems like I wasn't patient enough yesterday.

    Gave it another try and whoops ... the second version is even closer I think!


    Track 1 is what I did yesterday and Track 2 has the updated rim shot.

    I Guess the SoS guys have elegantly avoided doing the rim shot because they've found that talking about theory is easier 😁

    BTW, the amp env hold time is a critical element too, although it's only a few milliseconds.

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