Roland AIRA TR-08 Rumor Leak Update – Not Analog, But ‘Great Fun’


Since we reported on the upcoming Roland Aira TR-08 drum machine teaser video, there’s been tons of discussion about itย on Synthtopia and around the ‘net. The Aira TR-08 is generating as much buzz as anything teased or leaked from the upcoming 2014 NAMM Show.

Official details are to come – but unofficial rumors & leaks suggest that the Aira TR-08 will not be the purist analog TR-808 recreation many readers have asked for – but that you’re going to want it anyway.

This is not solidly sourced information, but feedback from a musician that claims to have used a prototype of the TR-08 suggests that it’s analog modeled, solidly built, affordably priced and fun to use:

All 4 Aira machines are digital, but will use modeling technology rather than PCM. The TR-08 has 909 sounds as well. They are not software controllers. This new division of Roland is dedicated to hardware since software has taken a huge chunk of their sales. Pieces are solid and well built. Pricing will be extremely un-Roland (low) from what they told me.

Aira units are geared toward live performance rather than recording. Played with them for about 45 mins. Great fun.

CDM’s Peter Kirn is independently reporting that the ‘new’ 808 successor from Roland will be modeled in digital form.

“If Roland can hit an affordable price with this, and if it’s reasonably playable, they’ll have a hit on their hands,” argues Kirn. But, he adds, “The market should still be open for a faithful 808 clone.”

There are already some boutique ‘808 clones available, but without ‘Roland’ on the front panel. Roland may view this niche as being filled.

If the TR-08 uses analog modeling technology well, if it delivers the ‘808 sound and if it is priced affordably, Roland could have a great box for the broader drum machine/groovebox market.

We’ll bring you the official details, along with audio examples, as soon as they are available. In the meantime, leave a comment and let us know what you think!

via cdm, bbtr, mpc forum

115 thoughts on “Roland AIRA TR-08 Rumor Leak Update – Not Analog, But ‘Great Fun’

  1. I for one applaud Roland, however this is not my cup of tea, yet I am glad that they are advancing the form and function. I would far more inclined to get this than a clone of an 808 and all of its analogue glory.

    At some point you have to leave the past where it is….the past. This fervent pitch for all things retro is stunting the industry and progress.

    1. Have to agree with you on this.

      It seems like everybody wants a cheap 808 – but electronic musicians need to be more adventurous than recreating the past.

      I want a cheap drum machine that’s actually a great modern drum machine. I don’t know if that’s what Roland is delivering, but it will be interesting to see!

    2. while i mostly agree with your point, i don’t agree with roland’s claim that they look into the future and don’t want to revisit the past. the mere fact that they’re advertising this referencing the 808, that’s named tr-08, all their mc series, their digital jupiter, sh’s, jp’s etc’s it’s just proving that they’re still hanging on their past glory. they just add the word “modelling” to it. just do something new and different if that’s what you’re claiming. i’m not an analog purist and i do care for sound and friendly user interface, so maybe they’ll have something nice here. but claiming it’s the evolution of the 808 and getting everyone all hyped about it, like with all their other digital examples, it’s just wrong.

      1. I completely understand your point. I can see how Roland has in the strongest terms “exploited” the names and lineage of past instruments to push current iterations. However you can also argue that it is no different than a car company. If Audi releases the latest 2014 A4, certainly there will be some design DNA and performance expectations to the 1995 model. However it is an entirely new car. And we celebrate that by in large. Yet we hold instrument manufacturers hostage for attempting to evolve the product.

        1. yeah, but if they’d release the VA4 – the virtual experience of an A4 and sell it as the next big thing, i bet they’d have some angry pilots and occasional drivers throwing hate at them ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. How it sounds + what’s it like to work with.

      It looks a bit like the Electribes, and I love those, so I am cautiously optimistic about this.

    2. Yup agreed, if it sounds good, is easy to use and affordable then great!

      The vocoder VR-08 or something also looked awesome.

      What else is in this Aira series? I probably don’t need another drum machine, but I could use a vocoder.

  2. I used to be a *huge* fan of Roland gear in the ’80s up until about the mid ’90s. They’ve clearly lost touch with what people actually want these days. We don’t want digital “grooveboxes” or $3000 ROMplers with the Jupiter name emblazoned on them. We just want analog gear with sliders and knobs again. Remember, the 808, 909 and 303 only took off after they were being dumped for bargain prices and electronic musicians started scooping them up and making music with them. They were all basically “accidental hits.” I was hoping so badly these new instruments would be proper analog. They’ve clearly lost the plot.

    1. I think I’ve finally made up my mind to take the plunge and purchase a DSI Tempest. It really is the only thing like it currently on the market. Analog drums, plus the added benefit of using it as a 6-voice poly synth.

    2. What everybody seems to want us dirt – cheap versions of vintage gear.

      What Elektron (and maybe Roland with this?) is doing is more interesting than cheap clones of 80’s gear.

    3. Tell Elektron people don’t want “digital groove boxes”. I own all of the Elektron gear
      but if the price is right I’d buy an Aira. I’m happy to see individual sliders and knobs for each sound
      on a drum machine again.

      1. Exactly, that’s why I love using ER-1 too, fast hands on control opens the synthesis (imagine using it through menu’s and +- button) and aids the workflow.

  3. also if the ‘all 4 machines’ reference is correct then we’ll be getting a TR808, SH-101, TB-303 and…..well maybe a TR909 or maybe…something else!….juno106? or D50?

    1. Roland bears a little bit of blame for this. Apparently a lot of people got their hands on this early on. Even I’m hearing rumors from people claiming they’ve had a go at it… and I don’t even cover hardware! When Roland isn’t talking and the only “news” is people popping up out of the woodwork, then that is the news.

      Jim’s inclusion of Peter as a second source, I think, shows enough journalistic responsibility to report on this.

    2. Peter Kirn at CDM can hardly be described as some guy in a forum, one of the most informed and respected bloggers on the net. Perhaps had you done the research you berate Synthtopia for not doing then you wouldn’t have made such a stupidly misinformed comment.

      1. Peter got his info from “some guy in a forum”. Also, he’s been wrong before.
        “one of most informed and respected bloggers on the net” he’s a nice guys but that statement is debatable

        1. Liplap & London

          Thanks for your comments. Let’s keep the discussion on the Aira or this post, though, not other people.

          If anybody disagrees with my decision to report on unofficial information, blame me. We very rarely report unofficial information, and when we do, we make it very clear.

          In this case, the rumors themselves are newsworthy, and the fact this post already has 50+ comments on it confirms that this is a product that people want to know more about and discuss.

    3. Brink

      Thanks for the feedback.

      It is newsworthy that this is the most discussed & debated product announcement thusfar for NAMM 2014. The headline (“Rumor Leak Update”) and article (“unofficial rumors & leaks”) should make it clear that this story is not based on official sources and we also note that we plan to report the official product details when they become available.

      If you have suggestions on how we could improve this post to avoid any confusion, please let us know!

    1. If it’s just digital or “virtual analog”, I’ll just stick with Maschine for that. They’re just playing on people’s affection for the “808” moniker. I still own a Juno-106 and Jupiter-6. I now have zero interest in this product.

  4. This internet nobody quoted in the article might be right, but I find it interesting that he/she used the incorrect name of “TR-08” that’s been widely reported when the picture of the mystery box clearly shows “TR-8” instead.

  5. Interesting that they are saying it’s gear more toward live use, but it doesn’t have any pads to play. I guess they mean live programming.

  6. Why would you buy this over the Arturia Spark, which has load more drum machines? Maybe the VA makes it better than samples, or whatever Arturia use in the Spark? I don’t know, Spark sounds great, but I think I’d go for Temor over this if I wanted to create original drum sounds digitally.

    I think this should finally be proof that Roland will never, ever, in your wildest dreams, bring out anything analogue. NOW was the time to do it, with Korg embarrassing them with the Volcas, but they’ve chosen not to. Instead they’ve once again pillaged their history by suggesting this has anything to do with an 808. I’m not saying its not good, but why cal it a TR08 if not to suggest its somehow related? Its no more related than any other modern drum machine from any other manufacturer. Just like the Jupiter 80 has no more in common with the Jupiter 8 than a Casio or a Novation.

    1. The Volcas are fun, but are extremely limited in the sequencer & connectivity departments.

      They aren’t designed to be full-featured drum machines, which is too bad. I’d like to see Korg or Roland do a serious analog drum machine, and neither the Volcas or the Aira deliver on that.

  7. People will buy it over spark because its not a software controller… Spark isnt useful for people working outside of a computer… plus, i can overdrive the kick in my old mackie desk with a hardware drum machine. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You know, you could route a software kick from your computer into your mackie mixer to overdrive it and route it back to the pc again ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. This looks like a rip off of the korg electribe series from ten years ago… I doubt this is the next evolution of affordable pro drum machines…

    Since I don’t know the actual specs, I can’t definitively say this is a bad product… And hey… most of roland’s classic synths and drum machines were looked at as crap when they came out… all the x0x series, the jp-8000, the mv series…

    For all we know, Roland is making great gear that will have yet to appreciate… ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. I sold JP-8000s, MC 505s, MC 303s, SP-808s etc. when they came out. At the time
      no one thought they were crap except maybe for guys who still owned all the original
      stuff. That stuff actually was ground breaking at the time.

  9. Roooooooland!! Wake up!!!!!’ Did you read what people is saying? Where are those people who made Roland an innovator with true analog toys??? Pleaseeee! Stop doing color and led’s crappy machines!We want hybrid toys, using true and pure analog sound generatore along with digital to control and setup the machine as other (i.e. Elektron) are doing it well! Hope really this is a mistake and that machine would have something analog or please.. Stop it with virtual bla bla! If at Namm ’14 nothing exciting nor analog will be presented, please make your management virtual and throw it away!

  10. I’ll tell you what: this puppy is going sit right beside my mint condition SH-201. Together, these two machines will be all I need to take on the future.

    1. (I’m still trying to figure out whether to give up my DAW for an iPad as a recording solution. But at least with Roland I know my hardware setup is going to last for decades.)

      1. Hear, hear. Kept in a good physical environment, hardware will still rock when a dead computer with your dead software in it is a planter on the porch. My first workstation is now 28 years old. Its display has cataracts and a few buttons have become dodgy, but it still speaks with the same authority it had when I got it used. This is exactly why I practice what I preach: a workstation is usually my first step in the chain, because you always know what you’re getting.

        Don’t give up your DAW just yet. Give the iPad a little more time to settle in. It has some great synths and things like editors to offer right now, but the biggest benefit of a DAW is simply the real estate. I’m hard-pressed to see how compacting the controls so tightly is helpful to mixing down in particular. I need some play in it to feel my way to the right results. Think about the ergonomics as well as the Shiny New Thing factor.

  11. I don’t use computers for music, and i love my roland gear; the mc-909!!! the D2 and I love the boss dr-202 from a decade ago and I love the sh-01 Gaia and my Sp-555 and I have other vintage analogue synths and drum machines and don’t need any others, so I applaud Roland for going digital with Aira and cannot wait to see and hear and play with live performance oriented drum workstation like the TR-8 will hopefully turn out to be ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Analog synths still make sense due to small hard-to-emulate details in the extreme edges of sound. High resonance, subtle tuning drift, unexpected behavior.

    However analog drum machines don’t make much sense to me. The sounds they produce are so momentary that demanding pure analog sound generation seems like an obsessive compulsion, a retro waste of circuits. A good high quality sample set can cover most drum machine sounds. If you simply must crank the decay of a bass drum into a huge smooth boom with a real knob, analog modeling will do the trick nicely.
    The drum sounds on most drum machines are only tweak able within a relatively small range of options anyway. This is steam engine enthusiasm in a world where diesel goes faster.
    I am more interested in modeling than a genuine (noisy!) drum machine. Volca Beats has a lot of analog circuits and a rather flat and limited sound menu.
    Looking forward to the new Roland performance drum machine. Technology neutral, whatever can get a slammin’ beat going quickly and with maximum fun.

    1. Agreed. 100%

      Digital is way more versatile, and that is where analog drum machines have always fallen short. I don’t care for more 808 and 909 sounds. My D16 group plugins are indistinguishable once I start using them in a mix… I want something hybrid or digital,with features like the old Wldorf Attack rack, Elektron’s awesome offerings, NI Maschine, DSI Tempest, etc…

      I think the future of drum machines is going to be less about the sound engine and more about access to the sound manipulation in a musical context. Better sequencers, more intuitive automation, macros, better UIs, and intelligent connectivity with other devices. All those filters and envelopes and LFOs and effects that used to be for tweaking a static sample should now be considered part of the performance instrument itself. Live sequencing of drum cutoff, note decay, pitch, sample start and end times, effects parameters, bit depth, etc…

      1. Worth noting that analog drum machines use those analog circuits to, well, make the same exact sound over and over. They would have been samplers if the technology was ready back in 1980.
        Even the tweaking – drums are generally left set in their sweet spots.

    2. The TR-909 uses lo-fi digital samples for some of its sounds and everybody considers it a classic.

      The key is combining great sounds with great usability. This drum machine has tons of knobs and looks like it will be fun to play with. The question in my mind is what does it sound like.

  13. Biig dissapointment, i like the interface, but without the ability to load user samples or a faithfull analogue TR under the hood they aint getting my money. VA is not the way to go for drums Roland

    BIGG missed chance

  14. I’m thinking an analog 808 would initially be very popular, but after a few months it would fall flat. Consumer expectations are so high that even if the analog-reissue crowd got exactly what we wanted, we might still not be satisfied.

  15. i shall preferred to buy an A0 printer from Roland DGA rather than their newest groove box !
    >< an electribe without led screen in TRon retrofashionned housing ?
    they apply the opposite of the famous japanese proverbe " by reaching the purpose they miss all the rest " !
    By falling they reach all the rest , they win douchebags , edm artists , sรฉrious dj etc ,
    wrong product or bad expetation of real musicians ?

  16. Analog, my arse. I just don’t get what the heck people are carping over. I’ve had some good analog gear played through proper speakers, so I understand the passion for that special warmth SOME digital methods miss… but some retain the heart of it with bells on. They really do move the Good Air. Am I the only one who noticed that its modeled, not PCM? That means a lot of added flex and responsiveness in the sound. I have a potent physical modeling synth and its as live and writhing as you could ask it to be, so I’m keen on hearing how this application plays out. I’ve got a wild idea. Why don’t we hear it actually being played and have Ol’ Nick eventually give us the real-world skinny before we torch it, eh? What if its inviting to play and blends like a whiz with your old fave drum machine? What if it turns out to be a beautiful hybrid? I love when that happens. Can you say TR-909?

    I have it on good authority that no one will lose an inch off their pecker because its not all-analog. You lot are pretty balmy in these flare-ups. I’ve been drawn to synths for a long time and any time I lay hands to a new one, I still get a tingle. I repeat, don’t you LIKE your instruments? ๐Ÿ™‚ I once had a stack of 5 ‘boards and accessories. Now I could stuff my Mac and a controller down my pants and run away with my entire musical world intact. Don’t get so jaded that you miss the eye-popping magic of it. Music is the one form of pure Fun the bastards can’t take away.

    1. i think that people that want analoge, like me, cant understand why they try to emulate the original when they can just rerelease it

      its not the point that VA drums sound bad, like elektrons, its about that this company isnt elektron but the guys that made the original even elektron tries to compy (trx machines)

      and also al lot of people see it as the future strategy of roland, when rereleasing other classic roland stuff.

      it wouldnt be that bead if korg didnt show us whats possible ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. sorry for the typos ๐Ÿ™‚

        in other words its not a bad thing i a chinese company brings a four cylind front motor porsche 911 clone out that has an exhaust system that makes it sound like a classic posche911

        its just bad when porsche does it

  17. They look great , my mpc is digital and its stunning soundwise . 808 and 909 digital samples are on thousands of records.
    I use analogue and love analogue synths but I also use Roland gear like the jp8080 and other digital hardware gear. The real time control is the issue and by the looks of this , this is the bollocks.
    909 and 808’s don’t float my boat design (as in colour wise), so it amusing that people criticise the led colours.
    It looks like Roland are about to show us who is Boss!!
    I hope it has eight outputs? Four machines are mentioned! Wow.

  18. There’s a lot of back and fourth about whether it’s truly a step forward, whether or not it should be analog etc. I’ve got to say, I own a lot of cool stuff (volcas, elektrons etc), but recently have been wanting to get a simple, affordable, quick, fun, live oriented, drum machine and really, as long as it sounds good, this fits the bill. Search the words “drum machine” at your retailer of choice, and you’ll see that you really don’t have that many options. You have the high end ($2000-$1000 DSI/Elektron) and the (low end $300-$150) (volca/boss/alesis). If they price this at around $500-$600, they’ll have the only standalone, live interface (knobs and sliders), dance oriented, drum machine on the market in that price range except for maybe MFB. Also, I just want to mention that many great tracks have been made on Roland R8s, DR 550/660s, Alesis drum machines, and umโ€ฆthe Elektron Machinedrum (not analog) etc. Some kid is going to buy this thing and make some of the best tracks anyone’s heard in a long time and no one’s going to give a crap that it wasn’t analog.

  19. Y’know, instead of continuously coming back to Roland and complaining that they don’t do anything “analog”, you lot should either, A: shut up and go find some decent analogs if you REALLY need them THAT BAD, or B: admire that they are doing something different for once. Come on guys, I highly doubt someone at Roland HQ is going to look into these comments and say, “Oh, a few people on the internet want an 808 clone. We’d better get right on that, or else we may lose a few sales!”

    Guess what? Roland isn’t going to fulfill every request that you guys give them, so there really is no point in complaining that they’ve lost some sort of “magic touch”. No company is perfect; that’s completely unrealistic. Every company has had it’s ups and downs.

    I agree that some of Roland’s recent products aren’t as good as their older machines, but it’s obvious that there are people are buying these products and that there is indeed a market for them. Believe it or not, there is someone out there who is enjoying their Roland Jupiter-80 because it’s exactly what they wanted.

    Also, no one cares if you have “zero interest in this product” (yep, looking at you Steve). If you don’t like a product, then DON’T BUY IT. It’s really that simple.

    1. Judging by all of the software plugin emulations, hundreds of sample libraries and HARDWARE clones of 808s, 909s, etc… it’s more than just “a few people on the internet” that want them, including me. If I want samples or “analog modeling”, I’ll stick with Maschine or my D-16 Group plugins.

      I’ve been making records for a long time as a keyboard player, remixer and producer. I don’t need to “go find some decent analogs” because I have a room full of them. Not sure why you’re addressing me directly and telling me to shut up. I’m entitled to my opinion. Everybody’s a tough guy on the internet.

      I was just expressing my disappointment in this machine. I feel this has nothing to do with an 808, same as their recent Jupiter keyboards. They’re just playing on people’s attachment to the originals. And my name is Scott, by the way. Not Steve. As somebody that has made a living from music since 18 years old, I think I’m entitled to an opinion.

      1. You’ve been making music all of these years, and you feel this new Roland drum machine has “nothing to do with” the original 808 drum machine? So all of those tweakable drum sounds, 16 step sequencer, etc. don’t fit the bill? ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. There are 808 clones readily available:

        The fact that the clones aren’t selling like hotcakes explains why Roland HAS to do something different.

        If they put out a hardcore authentic clone of the original, it would be $1500-2000 and they wouldn’t be able to sell it in any volume.

        Why do you think Korg had to go mini synth with the MS-20? It’s because the market for expensive hardcore analog purist gear is too small for big companies to do effectively. Big companies have to focus on products that they can sell in big volume.

          1. They made it smaller and with cheaper materials also so that people would want to buy it.

            If they did a hardcore clone of the original, full size with original materials, it would be $1500-2000 and it would have a very small market.

    1. In “defense” of Roland- and they hardly need it- everything from them that I have owned or just seen played live has been utterly solid. Their guitar synths are amazing, allowing for banks of different tunings and amp configurations. I dropped a Juno-1 down some stairs and it shrugged it off completely. I hauled Boss pedals and half-racks around in a bloody duffel bag for a year at one point and they were 100% dependable. People seem to want a new Hartmann Neuron every week, but if you dig into an old XP60’s architecture, you’ll find a near-Kurzweillian modular. A few truly rotten moments aside, its generally a respectable field. While there are a couple of things that really tick me off (flimsy keyboard builds in particular), the rest is subjective, not holy writ. Roland-bashing baffles me. There’s no valid basis for it. I don’t even need a new anything and I’m still getting a synth-boner over the new FA workstation because of its INTEGRA heart and slick implementation. Hey, at least its not crack, unless you buy another module for your wall-of-doom modular every month while the wife throws crockery at you. Then it IS crack.

  20. The reason why this is disappointing isn’t because it’s digital. It’s because we already have dozens of options for digitally emulating these sounds. What we don’t have is a relatively affordable, available, analogue machine that produces the sounds they are trying to digitally emulate. It doesn’t look like the controller has anything going for it to justify much more than $150.

    1. $150? Seriously ? A standalone drum machine with Knobs and sliders for every sound? Give me a break. Outside of software we dont have dozens of options. This is a piece of hardware and clearly aimed at people who want hardware.

  21. I am one of the several million that write every day that we want an analog TR. Roland continues to ignore its customers and put a VST in a cheap box. So I’ll go buy elsewhere. Maybe an Acidlab Miami.

    1. ok there are a few people on synthopia and other forume who want 100% analog machines…but the rest don’t care….In my last production “Extra”, I have used a TR808 clap sample plus a cool bassdrum sample plus a few shakers loop and the most part of the sound quality of a MIX comes from EQUALIZATION.
      Just take a listen…..

    2. Several million? Dude, seriously ? If their were several million people wanting an 808 Roland would dedicate all their facilities to making them. Also, if they did make an 808 and it was $1500 everyone would say “they’re crazy! I could buy a laptop and 20 VSTs for that! I’ll just use some 808 samples!”

  22. Is it me, or is all this 808 obsession a little unrealistic?

    Because there are so few of them out in the wild any more, and because the used prices are so high… I doubt many of the guys on this have actually had first hand experience with an 808.

    I have. And let me tell you… It’s not a magic box. It does not sound better or worse than many of the quality 808 sample libraries out there. Jeez… The JOMOX stuff is arguably better… Same with current stuff like the drum synths in NI’s Maschine 2.0. The 808 was a VERY limited machine.

    People tend to forget… All those hit dance tracks from the rave days, the classic electro tracks that used them… They were all (for the most part) heavily processed. compressed and eq’ed and filtered and mangled and layered and f#*%ed with. Most of the new EDM that sounds like an x0x is coming from clones, software, etc… AND NO ONE LISTENING CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE OR CARES.

    That said, the 808 and 909 are legendary drum machines… I get fetishizing old gear for sentimental value, sound etc… So don’t take this the wrong way… But I’m just guessing the vast majority of guys out there asking for one don’t really know what they are in for…

  23. The problem isn’t analog vs digital. Anyone worth their salt knows analog does certain things well and digital does others well. The problem is that Roland want to say they are moving forward, in a new direction, whatever blah, but they are essentially remaking an old machine and doing it half assed. If you really want to innovate, then innovate! If you want recreate the past then do it right like Korg did with the MS-20. By trying to have it both ways, they have ended up with a middle of the road product for middle of the road producers.

  24. I don’t understand why so many people are overlooking the NORD DRUM. I have owned a real TR808, numerous other drum machines as well as analog drumsynths, and I recently bought the Nord Drum. It totally blew me away. It sounds amazing, even for a VA clone, and it is extremely versatile in its sound sculpting capabilities. I am def going to get the Nord Drum 2 at some point, as it does a hell of a lot more than version 1, and V1 itself kicks ass, even though it is limited in comparison. The price is very reasonable for what it can do, and the limited interface and audio output (a single mono out on V1, stereo on V2) ceases to be an issue once one starts using it and producing pretty spectacular sounds. I dunno. If people are looking for an innovative new drum machine, between the Tempest and Nord Drum, it already exists IMO.

  25. And all these “producers” talking smack about how “limited” the tr808 was, and how using samples in Maschine or Battery is just as good or better than the real thing, blah blah blah, you guys obviously never owned a real 808. You can try to rationalize and talk yourself into believing your little software and samples setup is superior, but you are so wrong. NOTHING sounds like the real 808, and samples will NEVER sound as good. The 808 is far from “limited,” its only as limited as the user. That’s like saying older analog monosynths are limited and VSTi emulations are as good or better. BULLSH$T. There is a reason 808s are so expensive. They sound AMAZING, even dry with no FX or processing. The tr808 is much more than the sum of its parts, therefore it is much, much more than what you’ll ever get with a bunch of samples. Save up and get one and you’ll know what I am talking about. Until then, you don’t know what youre talking about. Your software setup is like little kids’ toys in comparison to real classic vintage analog gear. You get what you pay for.

    1. What a load of absolute garbage. Battery or Maschine (or similar) and using software FX processing is how almost all drums are done these days, on almost every single top level track done. And you know why? Because using layering and processing produces better results than any one drum machine. I have a healthy respect for legendary pieces of gear like the 808, 909, 303, ect, but get a grip man. The actual difference in sound quality between a sampled 808 and the real thing is almost impreceptable. I was under the impression that making music was about the end result, the track itself, and not the tiny fraction of difference (if it even truly exists) between the sampled sound and the original source. And it is incredibly limited compared to a DAW based solution. I’m not sure who you are, but I can guarantee there are thousands of top producers out there making drum tracks with software setups that are doing just a bit better than you are. I have no need for a $2000 piece of vintage gear given I can make better sounding kicks, snares and hats using modern techniques. It is NOT a magic box. It is NOT the best sounding thing on earth – it’s an amazing piece of kit that has had a legendary effect on hip hop and electronic music. It’s also outdated and overrated. You actually said in another post that it sounded “infintely” better than the sample sets based on it – can you not actually see that’s impossible???? I realize you are being a bit hyperbolic but the thought that if could even sound any significant amount better is absolutely ridiculous.

  26. Goku, I highly doubt you ever used a real tr808, otherwise you would understand what the “obsession” is about. Yes, it IS a magic box. It has inspired countless records and been part of the backbone of many genres of dance music. It is more than a fetish. It sounds infinitely better than any sample library, and yes, many people CAN tell the difference right away. I am guessing that you played with one for a few minutes at most, but I even doubt that based on your post. I can’t stand kids that think they can get the same quality as vintage analog gear from a bunch of software and samples. Just because you don’t want to work and invest your money into a real studio with real gear doesnt mean that analog doesn’t sound better. There is a reason a sampler costs a few hundred bucks, some samples cost $20-$40, and a tr808 will run you about $3000-$4000 these days. If you want to shortchange your own music that’s fine, but don’t put other people down who take their music seriously and want to invest in real, quality sounding instruments and not toys. You get what you pay for.

    1. gosh, rage defense at its most potent…

      level, pitch, decay.

      noone has mentioned the sequencing? sorta made it popular when released…

      1. “noone has mentioned the sequencing?”

        I didn’t mentioned anything. What are you trying to involve me into? … just kidding ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I get to use one whenever I want. MixDown in Yonkers, and Sterling In NYC both have them. If you know anything about either business, you would be experiencing instant gear envy about now. I get to hear an 808 through a 60,000 dollar 2.1 monitoring setup. Yes, $60,000. And I can simultaneously ask a few multi- platinum mastering engineers to give me their opinions. I have hands on experience and am just trying to share it.

      I never said the 808 sounded bad. I said it was legendary… But I said that most guys out there haven’t used one. Also, and this is true, the 808 was limited in terms of actual drum synthesis. To compensate for the lack of actual variety, most of the dance hits from the 90s used liberal EQ and compression (and more) to change the sound up.

      Also, nothing wrong with being attached to the thing for sentimental reasons…. Hey… I have a similar love for the mini moog, 1073, and the system100. I get it. It’s a piece of history. That is why the prices are high… NOT because it competes with something like Maschine in terms of features.

  27. I , like many on this forum , am Roland’s worst type of customer – i love their gear from 1977-1986 and have spent probably ยฃ000s on JP8 , Juno60s , SH , TR , JX – but all second hand.I have never bought anything brand new from Roland.Why? Because over the past 20 years when i’ve actually had money to spend on instruments , they haven’t been making anything interesting , hence my cash went to Moog , DSI , Korg and Access.
    Come on Roland , give the people what they want – analog for the new Millenium

    1. I never thought of if that way, but you’re right. I currently own products that I bought brand new from KORG, DSI, Moog, Access, Novation, etc… All of my Roland gear is second hand. Come to think of it, the only Roland piece I ever purchased brand new was an R-5 drum machine in the late ’80s.

  28. I think this future vs. past thing is funny. We just dealt with 10 (15?) years of “Analog Modeling” and such nonsense. That sounds like the past to me. In the time since serious analog instruments were made leaps and bounds have been made in manufacturing technologies and digital control. The future to me sounds like using digital control to expand upon analog sound generation and offer it for cheap.

  29. The funny thing about the original 808’s mojo is that it is exactly that: mojo. Nothing more, but nothing less either. Although it does have its technical limitations all the way (not least considering today’s DAW integration requirements), it is – in my personal opinion – loved so much, because it inspires people and has never failed to do so since it became so popular. It might be because of its limitations, or because of its imperfect design and the “special” sound this produces. Or maybe it is, because of its user interface? Or the look and feel of the knobs and pots? Or maybe simply, because it feels good to have it in your hands?

    Without getting too esoteric, I can just say for myself that the looks and build of an instrument are a significant, integral part of whether or not it is inspiring. Ask any guitarist or bassist about their instruments on that topic. That’s why it is simply impossible to judge from tech specs or reviews on the internet. You have to either just buy it or go to your trusted music shop and try it out. Looking at them in context, touching them, playing them, listening to them (demo sounds or self programmed, doesn’t matter) will reveal their “soul” and you will know if it is for you or not.

    I had the Access Virus TI2 desktop thing once, and even though it looks so beautiful and can do so many things, I did not find a single sound in about one year that made it into any song. So I sold it. Now I’ve got a Nord Electro and a DSI Tempest and they are on pretty much every song I write. So much for digital versus analog and all that.

  30. Good points. Sometimes the user connection to the gear happens because of it’s limitations, unique workflow, and NOT because it is feature packed or full of the newest tech. Thta mojo factor is a weird one, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜›

    I’m currently experiencing that first hand with my recently aquired Arturia Minibrute. I just can’t stop making great sounds with it!

    Hopefully roland gets that stuff right on this new machine. If it inspires me to have fun making music, even if it is limiting, I think Roland will have done their job well. Crossing my fingers for individual outputs. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Roland clearly aren’t interested in the analog market, those of us that dream of finding a 909 at a flea market or a 303 at a yard sale, who sit on the internets reading about gear, tirelessly watching people talk about equipment on youtube until you finally find the clip of the thing actually getting played!

    Look at the colour of the thing! it’s for EDM performance/production, people who don’t dig for gear and don’t dig for tracks, they don’t know what they are missing so they will buy it. A digital 303 and a digital 808! yuck. Deadmau5 will don a matching black and green mouse head for the launch party

    & will the digital version do the same things to sound, like when the open and closed hihats try to murder each other? it’s not just about replicating sound, it’s the character and the simplicity of the analog drum machines that is also extremely desirable (not to mention the downright sexiness of the early Rolands) I don’t like to have tooo many options, just the basics to get down to serious business.

    But whatever, I’m not any closer to owning an 808 now than I was three days ago, that’s cool I can accept it, the aira isn’t for me, but i’m sure it will serve people well and perhaps we’ll get to experience better live performances than dudes staring at laptops.

    I honestly feel that Korg are in the process of making a flagship analog drum machine. Think about it, they release the monotron for cheap, to give you a taste of analog, then along comes the Monotribe monosynth/sequencer/drum machine/filter then sit on that and release a couple more analogue toys, now the worlds had a fiddle and new consumers have moved into other more specific analog gear. Until they re release the MS20, which you’ve already pined over the original after playing with a monotribe and googling. next up the three volcas, basically advanced and separated versions of the monotribe. Cool sounds and features but still not amazing, still rather like toys. But you bought them, you played with them, they seemed too cheap to be true and you waiting aaages for them to actually come out but you need a drum machine with seperate outs, big buttons, step write/tap write/track programming, memory, chaining of multiple patterns and just a bigger layout and your brand new MS20 doesn’t sync up to your other analog drum machine triggers. maybe re release the KPR 77? or just design a big black hard plastic mammoth of an analog drum machine for under a grand, with multiple triggers, individual outs, volume sliders, the fucking werks.

  32. I am leaving for NAMM tomorrow and I am excited to go hear for myself what this sounds like. I was born in the latter part of the 80’s, so I missed all of Roland’s “glory days”- and yet even I am wishing that Roland would give analog one more try. No gimmicks, no kitchiness, just a simple analog driven something. Anything. Korg has proven that it doesn’t have to be complicated to get people interested (monotrons anyone?) All that said, I still can’t wait to get my hands on one of these. Thanks Synthtopia, you do a great job.

  33. Roland? ROLAND??? Just when I oficially counted them OUT of the synth\drummachine\EDM\Techno realm I hear about the TR-08. I LOVE the Classic Roland sound and design quality, and hope they really knock this out of the ball park. PLEASE ROLAND, NO MC-303\505 CRAPPPPP!!!

  34. This might just restore many old skool fans of Roland gear….please Roland lets hope this really is a decent sounding bit of gear and not like the crap you have spewed out over the last couple of decades…..

  35. Gaia uses pcm samples instead of modelled oscillators, so I would want to be sure, before I took the plunge on the aira. I don’t mind if it’s VA and it has a fantastic interface and effects

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