The TR-8 is a performance rhythm machine that melds the legendary sound and vibe of the TR-808 and TR-909 with features and functions for the modern age. Genre-defining sounds, classic effects, unprecedented live pattern manipulation, and solid, intuitive performance controls. It’s the TR…evolved.
Capturing the Originals
- Full reproduction of the classic TR-808 and TR-909 rhythm machines, based on original design spec sheets and detailed analog circuit analysis of many original TR machines, including Roland’s own pristine units
- Newly developed Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology allows part-by-part analyses and faithful recreation of tonality and behavior, including the smooth variations of tone that occur when you work the controls of each instrument
- Obsessive attention to detail, such as reproducing the original TR’s unique variations in tone that occur when multiple instruments are entered in accented steps
- Authentic 16-step sequencer with faithful TR-REC behavior, including A and B pattern variations and the ability to play instruments and record to steps in real time
- 16 stunning kits made up of 11 instrument types, including custom dream kits that use both TR-808 and TR-909 sounds
- Large Tempo knob with Tap Tempo button and continuous Fine and Shuffle adjustment knobs
- Control the intensity of the Accent function with a dedicated knob
- Per-step reverb and delay effects with dedicated knobs
- Mix sources connected to the External In jacks with built-in per-step Side Chain function for rhythmic ducking and gating effects
- Scatter lets you freak and tweak your grooves with real-time control and perfect sync
- 7 segment, 4 character LED display and 16 per-step pads with bold, full-color LEDs
- Real-time pattern creation up to 32 steps with on-the-fly step count adjustment
- Rec/Play modes have been eliminated, enabling seamless switching between step input and real-time pattern making and performance
- Real-time play of 4 different types of rolls (8th, 16th, VARI 1, VARI 2) and per-instrument mutes
- Pattern copy and pattern randomization for rapid, spontaneous creativity
- Two assignable analog outputs and full parallel outputs via USB for total mixing flexibility
Unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in the 1980s, the TR-808 and TR-909 produce arguably the most influential drum sounds in modern music. Not only have they appeared on thousands of dance tracks over the course of three decades, they’ve helped define the sound of entire musical genres. From rap and house to techno and trance, the TR-808 and TR-909 have left an indelible mark on the art and culture of music. Roll the drums…
In developing the TR-8, we’ve obsessively analyzed and faithfully recreated every detail and nuance of the analog circuitry of these legendary rhythm machines—the boom and snap of the 808; the thud of the 909; the robotic click of an 808 rim shot or a classic 909 snare roll. It’s all here. But not content with mere recreations, we’ve enhanced these classic instruments with capabilities that go far beyond the original units.
Tune and Decay knobs are now present on every instrument, and the Bass Drum and Snare Drum have additional controls such as Attack, Snappy, and Comp. This allows for a wide variety of tones, from subtle ambient percussion to pounding dance grooves. Per-step effects and the massively addictive Scatter function take things into entirely new territory.
With the authentic tone and character of the original units and new sound-tweaking capabilities inspired by legions of users, the TR-8 breathes new life into the sounds we all know and love.
Make no mistake—the TR-8 has been carefully designed from the ground up as an instrument to be played. Every control has a solid, predictable feel, with each drum instrument having robust, “playable” faders. Numerous lighted knobs and RGB buttons give both real-time performance feedback and a striking appearance on stage.
Pattern creation is creative and intuitive using an evolved version of the TR-REC method, which originated in the TR-808 and eventually became the standard for electronic rhythm programming. Based on detailed analysis of the original TR-808, the TR-REC behavior has been faithfully modeled in the TR-8. But the TR-8 goes well beyond the original, allowing you to seamlessly switch between programming and performance modes, and to introduce lots of groovy rhythmic variations from subtle snare fills to total glitch meltdowns.
What is Scatter?
Scatter is a unique performance function that gives you detailed real-time control over variations in your patterns and any incoming external input signal.
- Scatter can reverse, glitch, gate, truncate, stutter, and perform all manner of rhythmic variations from subtle to extreme, and all in perfect sync
- Pick from 10 different types of Scatter and smoothly adjust the intensity—or “Scatter Depth”—with the large, comfortable dial
- Seamlessly switch between Scatter patterns and quickly toggle Scatter on/off for cool variations when and where you want them
Try it…you’ll like it!
A Few More Things
The TR-8 looks great and is designed to work seamlessly with other products in the AIRA series. In addition, you can connect the TR-8 to your computer via USB to send and receive both audio and MIDI data, including MIDI clock information for syncing with external devices and other AIRA units.
TR-8 Version 1.1 New Features
Backup and Restore
- Manage your kit and pattern library with easy backup and restore over USB.
- Instrument Levels — Customize kits by adjusting the gain of each instrument to suit your individual style.
- Better Rolls — Rolls are now easier to engage, offer more control, and sound better overall.
- Scatter Latch On/Off — Alternate unlatched trigger mode engages only while “On” button is held down.
- Scatter Cycle — Scatter will enable for one cycle and then automatically disengage.
- Sync Reset — Get back in the groove by instantly starting a pattern from the top.
- Pattern Lock — Lock the contents of a pattern so you can experiment without losing your original groove.
- Nonstop A/B Pattern Editing — Now you can edit both A and B parts of a pattern without stopping the sequencer.
- Modes — Local On/Off and MIDI Controller modes determine how MIDI data is sent and received.
- Accent Velocity — MIDI velocity is variable by the accent setting.
- Kit Select — Select kits using MIDI control change messages.
- Scatter — Scatter On/Off, Type and Depth can be controlled via MIDI control change.
- External Record — Record patterns in real-time from external MIDI devices.
- MIDI Off — Disable sending of all MIDI messages.
- Ignore Play/Stop — Toggle whether or not TR-8 responds to PLAY/STOP messages.
- Effect Control — Control effects using MIDI control change messages.
Audio & Video
A short tutorial on the TR-8 Rhythm Performer.
With roots in the very origins of electronic music, AIRA is the new series of products designed to meet the evolving needs of today's electronic musicians.
AIRA in Miami
The Roland crew hit Miami Music Week with AIRA, and we thought we’d show you some of what happened. We shared AIRA with a lot of big artists, and, as you can see, it caused quite a stir and blew a lot of minds.
Movement Detroit 2014
The Roland AIRA crew headed to Movement in Detroit—a city integral to the history of electronic music and to our history as a company. AIRA gear was in lots of the performance rigs, keeping the music thumping and the crowds jumping.
On Stage with Example
Roland caught up with Kai Smith and Andy Sheldrake of Example during Ultra Festival in Croatia.
Analog Circuit Behavior
Go behind the scenes and learn how Roland's newly developed Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) faithfully captures the sound and feel of some our most revered classics.
Artists First Contact
Groundbreaking artists talk about their experiences with Roland instruments and make first contact with the AIRA gear.
Artists Arthur Baker, Ricardo Villalobos, Hardfloor, Netsky, Dr Meaker, A Guy Called Gerald and Boys Noize talk about their experiences with Roland instruments and discuss the joys and challenges of performing electronic music live.
TR-909 Rhythm Composer
Roland engineers discuss the technologies involved in getting the right sounds for the successor to the TR-808. The TR-909 Rhythm Composer evolved from the TR-808, adding digital samples and MIDI. House and Techno were born. Now the next step begins.
TR-808 Rhythm Machine
Roland Engineers discuss the initial concept of the TR-808 which was conceived and built in 1980. Although it was designed to create “backing tracks,” creative musicians started to use the Rhythm Machine as an instrument and music changed forever. Now the evolution begins again.
- User Drum Kits
- User Patterns
- Steps per 1 measure
- 1 – 16 steps x 2 (Variation A/B)
- 40 – 300
- Instruments & Controls
- BASS DRUM: LEVEL, TUNE, ATTACK, COMP, DECAY, INST SELECT
SNARE DRUM: LEVEL, TUNE, SNAPPY, COMP, DECAY, INST SELECT
LOW TOM, MID TOM, HIGH TOM, RIM SHOT, HAND CLAP, CLOSED HIHAT, OPEN HIHAT, CRASH CYMBAL, RIDE CYMBAL: LEVEL, TUNE, DECAY, INST SELECT
- Effects and Controls
- ACCENT: LEVEL, STEP
REVERB: LEVEL, TIME, GATE, STEP
DELAY: LEVEL, TIME, FEEDBACK, STEP
EXTERNAL IN: LEVEL, SIDE CHAIN, STEP
- TR-REC, PATTERN SELECT, INST PLAY, INST REC, DRUM KIT SEL, DRUM INST SEL
- VOLUME knob
MODE buttons: 6
VARIATION buttons: A, B
LAST STEP button
SCATTER ON button
SCATTER DEPTH button
Power Switch (Rear)
- 7 segments, 4 characters (LED)
- REVERB, DELAY, SIDE CHAIN
- Types: 10
- Nominal Input Level
- -10 dBu
- Input Impedance
- 100 k ohms
- Nominal Output Level
- -10/+4 dBu (Selectable)
- Output Impedance
- MIX OUT, ASSIGNABLE OUT: 1 k ohm
PHONES: 130 ohms
- PHONES jack: 1/4-inch stereo phone type
MIX OUT (L/MONO, R) jacks: 1/4-inch phone type
ASSIGNABLE OUT (A, B) jacks: 1/4-inch phone type
EXTERNAL IN (L, R) jacks: 1/4-inch phone type
USB port: USB type B (Audio, MIDI)
DC IN jack
- Audio, MIDI
- Power Supply
- AC adaptor
- Current Draw
- 1,000 mA
- Owner's manual
Leaflet "USING THE UNIT SAFELY"
- Size and Weight
- 400 mm
- 260 mm
- 65 mm
- 1.9 kg
4 lbs. 4 oz.
- * 0 dBu = 0.775 Vrms
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Updates & Drivers
If you have questions about operating your Roland or BOSS product, please check our Knowledge Base for answers to the most common questions.
You can also contact our Product Support department by phone or email.