If you’re a big music gear head like myself, you’ll know that yesterday was a very important day. What day, you ask?
808 day, of course! As the eighth of August (8/08), Roland, the massively influential synthesizer and drum machine giant, decided it’d be timely to bring back its long-since retired 808 drum sequencer. Like some of the reissued Roland instruments before it, the Roland TR-08 operates using Roland’s Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology to recreate the inimitable sound of the original. The company was able to do so by “modeling each analog circuit right down to the component level.”
For all the purists out, yeah i know, it’s not really analog, but if you’re that caught up on it, you can go find a message board to complain on. Even though the drum machine doesn’t offer true analog sound, Roland didn’t take any shortcuts when it came to recreating that classic 808 crispness. In terms of design and aesthetic, this model features all of the original’s buttons and design flourishes, albeit on a much smaller design than the original (that’s definitely not a bad thing).
With the new TR-08, you’re not just getting a rehash of the original though. Roland has included a whole host of additional features to the instrument as well. The drum machine provides 16 sub-steps for every 16th note, giving producers the ability to create interesting flourishes like the famed 808 high hat roll found in modern trap music. Furthermore, the 808 now includes a track selection trigger that can be used alongside additional instruments and audio gear. Using a built-in LED display, Roland has given musicians more control over tempo and shuffle settings.
The new version is incredibly portable weighing in at around three pounds and with the option to run on four AA batteries. The 808 also includes a built-in speaker for previewing tracks and MIDI support to connect to speakers or audio interfaces. If MIDI isn’t your thing, it’s also possible to use a USB cord to quickly connect it to your laptop. Check it out, here!
If you can’t quite muster up the cash for one of these guys, there’s always the option to opt for this browser based replica.
Not familiar with 808? These tracks will fill you in.