11 thoughts on “Roland TR-808 Drum Machine Teardown

  1. very nice, but there are a few ideas what he could have pointed out, such as the location of the individual instruments, the accent circuit, some of the rare parts etc. etc.
    greatly appreciate this video after a recent yocto-808 clone build

    1. Not to be rude because I enjoy his videos but he rarely points out specifics about components or sub circuits and how they’re used. I always find myself screaming at YouTube .. “talk about the analog voice it’s obvious, or talk about all the lm13700’s used for VCA (CV) control; talk about the dedicated mcu per voice for digital control or talk about the power supply section and DC conversion to derive analog supplies or talk about all the analog switches for scanning and digital control.” For most engineers, particularly pro audio or synth folks the circuits are screaming obvious as soon as you look inside a device. I have a feeling his background is not in audio or specifically analog and digital synths. He never claims to be necessarily educating, more just having fun and having a look inside, so it’s still fun and I enjoy the HD look inside the devices, particularly the new stuff I’ve never taken apart

  2. Rare….really…. rare?
    They are no more rare now than they were 20 years ago.
    The TR 808 isn’t a sports car that gets worn out and scrapped or becomes beyond economical repair.
    No one is breaking an 808 up for it’s chips nor have they ever done so.
    The 808 is a classic drum machine that happens to be more desirable as the days pass.
    But its not rare.
    Sorry to badger on but sloppy journalism is just inaccurate.
    And no I haven’t a clue why I sold mine….!

    1. Sorry I can NOT let this one pass:-)

      That’s what you focused on while you were watching the video? A misuse of a common adjective? Really? Even if you were right about his so-called “sloppiness” there’s no reason to diss his work just because of that. It’s as if a mod would bin your post because you wrote “it’s chips” instead of “its chips”. Silly and pointless.

      On top of that, you are NOT right about the use of “rare”. Check the OED, the Cambridge dictionnary or Wikipedia. Their definition of “rare” is pretty much spot on when it comes to original TR808s. Why would you be so perplexed by your selling yours if they were not difficult to acquire? Why do people charge so much for one if they’re so common? Yes TR808s are scarce, in a demand vs supply sense of the word.

      Your post was even more pointless than my replying to it. And god knows how pointless my ranting is!

      Anyway, peace!

    2. Actually, the TR-808 is prone to all sorts of age related problems, much like a vintage sports car. Unlike modern synths with flash memory, the 808 used a 3 cell battery pack to keep the contents of the pattern memory. If the batteries aren’t replaced regularly, you’ll see corrosion and potentially severe damage to the circuit board from battery acid. Switches and pots frequently need replacement as they age, and it’s common to have to replace capacitors which can leak or dry out, potentially causing component or trace damage.

      These devices weren’t designed to last 30+ years and often the designers simply didn’t anticipate the problems that their choice of materials and components would cause (the Moog/Realistic MG-1 synth is plagued by foam that decays into sticky black goo, for instance).

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