Roland TR-8 Doubles Sound Options With 7X7 Expansion Pack


The Roland Aira TR-8 drum machine twice as interesting. Roland has announced the 7X7-TR8 Drum Machine Expansion pack, a new add-on for the TR-8 that adds two new drum machine sound libraries – TR-707 and TR-727.

All 30 original TR-707 and TR-727 sounds are there – each with Tune and Decay controls – opening up a whole world of sonic possibilities.

And, in addition to the TR-707 and TR-727 sounds, the 7X7 expansion includes new sounds inspired by the original 808/909 designs:

  • New TR-808 “noise” sounds and finger snaps bring more tonal variety; and
  • Modified TR-909 kick and snare sounds take the classic combo into new territory with enhanced attack characteristics.

The ‘Most Advanced Roland Drum Machine Ever’

roland-tr8-7x7-tr8Once expanded with the 7X7, your TR-8 can have all the sounds of a TR-707, 727, 808, 909 and more – color-coded by kit for easy selection. The combination of the eight stage flam of the TR-909 and versatile accent behavior of the TR-707 give you new options for manipulating the feel of a groove that were beyond the original boxes. Any step can have a weak or strong hit, a weak or strong accent, an adjustable flam, step based effects and side chain.

All the sounds and behaviors of four iconic TR drum machines, plus the TR-8’s own dynamic swing, rolls, playable faders, and across-the-board tune and decay controls make the TR-8, according to Roland, ‘the most advanced Roland drum machine we’ve ever built.’

Here’s the official video demo:


  • Every sound of the TR-707 and TR-727 Rhythm Composers, faithfully reproduced using the original PCM wave data and detailed models of the original circuitry.
  • Analog Circuit Behavior captures the unmistakable sound of the original units—a result of lo-fi sampling and the behavior of the analog envelope and VCA circuitry design.
  • Newly modified TR-909 kick and snare sounds with enhanced attack characteristics.
  • Five new TR-808 sounds including Noise Toms, Noise Clap and Finger Snaps.
  • Unique flam and accent behaviors of the TR-909 and TR-707, with adjustable flam intensity and two levels of accent.
  • Upgrades the TR-8 to have all the sounds and articulations of four iconic TR drum machines, plus all new sounds, in one performance-ready instrument.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the new 7X7-TR8 Drum Machine Expansion:

The Roland 7X7-TR8 Drum Machine Expansion is priced at US $95 and will be available Dec 19, 2014. See the Roland site for details.

Check out the details and demos and let us know what you think of an expanded TR8, offering 707, 727, 808, 909 sounds and more in a hardware drum machine!

51 thoughts on “Roland TR-8 Doubles Sound Options With 7X7 Expansion Pack

        1. Well, I don’t think that “should” is the right word. However, it “could” have been free and still have paid those programmer wages. If the first add-on is free, you can get more buyers because they think, wow, if I buy this it’s just going to keep getting better. Instead, now you have people thinking, “this is going to eventually cost me $1000.”

          I’m sure they forecasted both ways and made what they thought was the right decision. But I think it could have gone either way and still made them money.

          1. Exactly. They could have used this as a way to sell more of these things. Which currently sit on the shelf far too long. Stepping over dollars to make pennies…

            1. Why do you say that these ‘sit on the shelf too long?’

              It seems like these are selling like hotcakes, based on all the people I know that have bought them.

              1. I certainly wouldn’t say they’ve been selling like hotcakes… They could have really used something like this to keep people interested. I feel like if anything the 95$ cost on these is going to discourage people from buying it because theve just set the precedent of how much these updates will cost. And its too much. You can almost get a volca beats for that cost. Which sound great btw.. and its a new instrument with new sounds. Now those… those sell like hotcakes.

                1. “I certainly wouldn’t say they’ve been selling like hotcakes… ”

                  Based on what?

                  I’ve seen a lot of people using these that could never justify spending a lot of money on a vintage 808 or 909.

          2. “Instead, now you have people thinking, “this is going to eventually cost me $1000″…………. That statement is probably correct… but where can you buy a 808, 909, 707 and 727 all for $1000?

        2. Sure, of course. But I think they will make more money and have happier paying customers by selling hardware and increasing its value proposition than they can selling $95 sample kits to the minority of owners who aren’t annoyed by how this is coming down.

          I base this on observing Apple’s business model. Their hardware is expensive and they can get away with it partly because they have a lot more useful free and low cost stuff that comes with than their competitors, and after you buy it you keep getting more and more free stuff, or stuff that costs $1 or $4, including things like entire audio and video production studio software that a decade ago would cost hundreds.

          Most developers could roll off a 727 emulation for the iPad that sounds the same as this one and charge $95 for it. They’d have zero sales because that’s the wrong price. But hey, we’ll let the market decide. Hopefully they post their sales numbers so we can see how successful this price point was.

            1. Nobody twisting any arms here — if you’re interested, they’re asking 95
              If not, so be it. On a side note — My kids want a PS4 or XBOX for Christmas — dem bishes are pulling down about 400 large for the system and range from 30 to 60 (on average) a game, and forget about the dayam accessories (65 for another controller … pffft) — you see where I’m going with this right ? Things cost dough these days. Hell, a fresh pair of Nikes is likely to fetch 95 — and I dump at least 40 in petrol for the whip every week — 95 for an upgrade that gimme the 7X7’s on my thang thang — Yeah yeah Mista Roland, whatever – just take my money

  1. Don’t you find this backward thinking? So much technology available and they keep deciding to offer replications of old stuff. The machine is fun, but could be so much more advanced.

    1. Roland makes a lot of gear. But look what happened when they finally addressed the “please just remake the 303 and 808” demands. Attention and plenty of it. That’s got to be good for the brand. Even non-musicians saw the TR-8 announcement and sent it to me. When else do they ever get mainstream attention? How else could they get press like this?

      This is what (many) people want. The old Rolands were discontinued before they became superstars. Why WOULDN’T they do this?

    2. Backwards thinking would be to re-release their old drum machines and not push things forward a bit.

      The TR-8 has been a hit because it sounds good – but more importantly, it combined the best features of analog circuit modeling and sampling with great sounds & a big, knobby interface.

      This should only make it a more killer box.

      I still would like to see them do a TR-8 Plus that offers individual outputs and more than 16 pattern slots. They could charge a couple of $100 more if they threw in the new sounds and it would still be a great deal.

  2. Hmm. I wouldn’t pay $99 for a real TR-707/727. Would have liked to see more of the analog boxes. Also, where’s the VST editor for the TR-8? Also, the VST version of the built in System-1 synth. This would unlock so much potential.

    1. Why would you want an editor for the TR-8? It’s so hands-on that I can’t see hooking up a computer to edit it.

      Do you really mean a VSTi version? That might be interesting, but the TR-8 already will record digitally into your DAW, so I can’t see a lot of owners wanting to pay $100+ to get a virtual version.

      1. By editor, perhaps what’s meant is a circuit designer. Click and drag capacitors and diodes around, assign front-panel knobs to specific resistors – modding without the drilling and soldering. You’d be able to load up presets, maybe even load common mods for things like the hihat or snare circuits.
        Take the ACB of the TR-8, provide circuit/sound design software, give it a more robust sequencer, make the user-facing instrument channels a little less rigid (e.g. let me load three bass drums and two snare drums because I don’t use the toms) and I’d drop a grand on that.

      2. I want an editor, mostly so that I can recall the patches, exactly as they were. Great integration with a DAW. So I can actually use the TR-8 in realtime within projects. I’d get a lot more actual work with it done. I also want a VSTi for the same reason, so I can take those projects with me, without the hardware, just like I do with the SH-101/SH-2 System-1 VSTi synths. I want some consistancy in the product line. The integration with the System-1 Plugouts/VSTi’s is great! The AIRA line has the potential for having those integrated advantages over the analog gear in my studio..

  3. Basically this has four outs and a small library. My mpc 2500 has 10 outs, a huge library and is open ended regards what I put in and get out of it. I know the idea of the tr8 is good, but the number of pattern places is ridiculously low, just like the number of memory locations on the System 1.
    I bought the vocoder and the bassline. I just picked up a mopho keyboard and I am so impressed with it.
    Bum machine should be its name

  4. Roland Press Release, January 12, 2055

    Roland’s legendary and classic Analog Circuit Behavior technology, or ACB, has been reborn. ACB has been faithfully modeled in UDE (Roland’s Ultra Digital Emulation) as implemented in the new TR-888.

    “There’s just a certain sound to that old ACB modeling. It never really nailed the analog sound it was trying to recreate, but it was full of character and warmth and imprecision – nothing like today’s boring and sterile quantum modeling. The TR-888 really nails that 2015-era analog VA sound. It’s fat,” said Mr. Takamora, spokesperson for Roland International.

    No expense has been spared to recreate the ACB experience. Roland has even emulated the surface-mounted microprocessors that predated the use of quantum-state superconducting nanowafers, and modeled the sound of the D/A converters that were in use until the invention of the spectral conversion crystal. “We’ve even made the case of the TR-888 from molded plastic – despite how expensive plastic is to produce these days, totally retro,” Takamora said.

    The realistic plastic case is coated in a layer of magnetically ionized zinc nodules that prevents the types of cancers that were caused by handling pre-invasion plastic. “You can’t tell it’s been safety coated. It feels like it was made in China before the Overlords dispatched the sentries and gave us The Knowledge,” said Mr. Takamora, saluting a glowing statue of The Eye. “All hail The Overlords.”

    MSRP for the TR-888 is 5,000 Credits, and is expected to ship by Christmas II.

    1. Oh, come on. How could anyone not like this comment? Even if you don’t agree with the message you have to admit it’s funny and makes you think about how silly our obsession over recreating the past can sometimes be.

  5. I knew this would be a paid update, and I’m actually a big fan of the 707 snare. I like the idea of being able to tune the 727 sounds as well. Hopefully this continues and they release a 606, CR-78 and 8000 pack as well. Having realistic and tweak able versions of all of Roland’s classics would be pretty awesome. The only way we’ll see more updates is if the business case makes sense, so upgrade if you want to see more packs folks!

  6. does anyone know if you can swap and change the sounds from the 707 and 727 to the other kits (808 or 909) freely or can you only use it in eg 707 mode, and thats it? and how freely can you swap and change sounds, can i have a kick from the 808, kick from the 909, kick from the 707 across the trigger pads at once?

    1. Yes you can use sounds from different kits at the same time, but only sounds of different type. So you can’t combine different kicks but you can have an 808 kick with a 707 snare.

    1. The Rebirth for iPad user interface is just beyond horrible, so tiny and fussy, that it seems like a crime to put that in front of a pretty decent synth & sequencer. I can’t see it appealing to anyone, unless you’re nostalgiac for the original Rebirth for Mac/Windows.

      I’d love to see Propellerhead rethink the user interface for Rebirth. They did an amazing job with Figure, coming up with a UI that really works on a small screen, I’m sure they could do something amazing with Rebirth, too.

  7. I love my TR8. Hated my 707. Would be nice if we could get an update to copy patterns from A to B.

    There’s no comparison to an MPC – they are different machines. The TR8 is the best live performance drum machine available in my opinion. Pattern memory is a moot point since you can create a beat so quickly.

    1. Free would be awesome, but it is a new sound library that basically gives you two new drum machines to work with, and it’s pretty typical for companies to charge for new sound libraries.

      Korg just introduced the new Kronos and is making the new sound libraries available to existing owners as a paid upgrade, so I don’t find this surprising.

      I would rather see this be a money maker for Roland, so that they can justify making more and more sound libraries for the TR-8. CR-78 or 606 next?

  8. Hey…did you guys notice how the scatter effect turned off at the end of the measure. Can the 8 be programmed to do this?!?!? If so, how did I miss this???

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