HTML’s virtual drum machines are now available for free on all popular browsers. It, Arduino, and littleBits new drum and synth kits make music making easier than ever.


This is a hobby like interest for me - synthesizers and drum machines. Mainly, I am fascinated with them due to the plethora of SBCs I could use to recreate the sound. Or rather, how do I use SBCs to recreate them. Here is some 808 news for you…


If you were thinking of forking over $600 for a drum kit, think again. HTML just released a virtual version of its 808 and 5 Drum Machine via web browser, and it’s free! If it’s a hands-on drum machine you require, consider building your own with littleBits and Arduino. The io-808 is a virtual TR-808 based on the HTML-808 and HTML5 Drum Machine. The interface features all the great controls and functionality of a real drum machine, online. Best yet, it’s free and the quality is intended to match the sound of a physical 808 via Web Audio API.


It’s not perfect, but for free you’ll get to toy around to see if you really need the upgraded infrastructure to record your own rendition of Back-to-Back in your basement. Most of us don’t. But if you do require a kit, consider littleBits and Arduino DIY projects before dishing out your hard-earned money.




For $159, the littleBits Synth Kit makes all electronic music possible. You can build your own electronic instruments, including a DIY keytar (like a guitar, mostly), drum kit, soundboard, mixer, synthesizer, and more. And if you get bored with one design, simply break it down and move onto the next project. The kit even includes an invention booklet with 36 step-by-step ideas for ‘professional grade’ tools. Building with littleBits is child’s play.




And for the true DIYer out there, you can build your own 80s-themed drum machine with spare parts. If you have an extra Arduino board and some spare littleBits parts lying around, you already have all the parts you need.


The Arduino Lo-fi Beat Box is your key to 80s beats. The demo kit features 16 TR-808-like beats, with up to eight instruments per pattern. You can adjust the tempo from 60 BPM to 188 BPM, and even code in your own waveforms, drum kits, and patterns. Mono waveforms are 22,050Hz and 8-bit signed for lo-fi grunge tunes you love. 


Making music has never been so easy. Bookmark these project, or go build your own.


Then again... nothing sound quite like an eight oh eight!




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