Behringer RD-808 First Audio Demos (TR-808 Clone)

At Knobcon 2018, Behringer showed us their first ‘tool-made’ prototype of their upcoming RD-808 drum machine.

The Behringer RD-808 is an updated clone of the classic Roland TR-808. Behringer has added some features, explained in the video, that expand the sonic possibilities of the 808 design.

Behringer engineer Jonathan Davies gave us an overview and the first audio demos of their ‘tool-made’ prototype – this is the first RD-808 that’s been made using the same materials and production techniques that they will use when the drum machine moves to production.

Pricing and Availability

Behringer has not announced pricing and availability yet for the RD-808, but previous teasers suggested that the price may come in under US $400.

54 thoughts on “Behringer RD-808 First Audio Demos (TR-808 Clone)

      1. Hoping for comments only by those drinking the coolaid? Why bother replying to the why bother replying comment? Oh…. why do I bother?

        1. You have to be drinking something to want to miss out on what Roland should have made instead of that boutique P.O.S. I would have bought this from them even if it cost more if they made it proper, they refused and get what they deserve.

  1. Not bad at all! While it doesn’t sound exactly like an 808 to my ears, it does sound really damn good; all of the voices presented here would be super usable in my setup. The snare seems to be lacking that 808 ‘body’, though I do like the sound, and the clap sounds more like a CR-8000 to me, which is the superior Roland clap IMO 🙂 Hopefully we’ll get a clearer look at the panel soon. Looking forward to this one…

  2. Well, snare and cymbal sound extremely close to the original (judging this by that the TR606 had identical sounds
    there, never owned a TR808). Looks good, software appears promising. We’ll have to wait and see. Still don’t understand why there are new and additional TR-808 and TB-303 clones still coming out year after year. Got all of those with sufficient quality inside the JD-Xi.

    1. When they were just cheap globalist copycats , I was still on the fence and I understood the appeal of things like the D, to people who could never afford a real one. Fair enough. But when they started trying to stamp out criticism and free speech by using legal action against people across the globe, that’s, I guess, when I became a crybaby. If those who care about that sort of thing are crybabies, but you’re able to look the other way so you can get your blind consumerist possession, what does that make you?

    2. If having some sort of conscience about a company that tries to stamp out freedom of speech and criticism across the globe(amoung other things), makes someone a crybaby, what does looking the other way so you can get your latest consumerist possession make you? Deep down somewhere I bet you actually do care, and feel somewhat guilty, or you wouldn’t have posted this comment.

      1. You realise that almost every large consumer corporation you buy products from gets involved in almost identical legal issues as those of Behringer. It’s standard fair for a multinational corporation. But nobody gives a shit about any of those for some reason. You don’t get to criticise them if you’re walking around with an iPhone or Samsung in your pocket. It doesn’t make one a crybaby but it does make one a hypocrite

        1. Maybe they should invent something of their own instead of ripping off everybody. Maybe hire an engineer instead of just reverse engineering?

        2. Name another big company who’s basically known for making cheap knockoffs of everybody else’s products?

          Big companies ARE always fighting legal battles about patent infringement, but that’s completely different than the blatant knockoffs that BEHRINGER does.

          If it doesn’t bother you – just say so.

          But to suggest that they don’t have a unique business practice of making knockoffs of every popular piece of music gear is just BS.

      2. Wow- if you have any sort of conscience abut these things you must be very limited as to what you can use…no Google, Apple, Nike…the lost is basically endless…..

  3. Great to see and hear a Scouse voice and to know the North of England is home to the development team which is making accessible priced music equipment available. It was Chicago and Detroit that gave is techno and house .All made on the accessible gear of the day.

    1. The accessible gear of the day is Arturia Drumbrute Impact, MFB Tanzmaus & Tanzbär Light, TE‘s PO-Series, Elektron Digitakt… The RD-808 is a copy of the accessible gear of 35 years ago.

      1. +1 on this. I would rather rock an $80 PO than support Behringer. Anyway, 808 sounds are not exactly hard to come by (or particularly interesting to me at this point).

        1. POs are just hipster toys. Never bonded with any of them. An amazing synth on a bread budget is the original Korg Monotron… it through a reverb and you are in heaven.

  4. I don’t care if it’s Roland, Behringer or any other clone. I think the X0X obsession draws the attention from thinking progressively within electronic music. Hearing musicians killing darlings is way more interesting to my ears.

  5. JMO of course, but that was a pretty weak demo. Oh wait am I being a crybaby lol?
    Funkbox $4.99…put that in your “wave designer” and twist it

      1. No. Sexual Healing (which was released in 1982) is the 808. The Boss Dr. Rhythm (DR-110) was released in 1983. Also, the DR-110 doesn’t have a clave which features prominently in the song. If you mean the DR-55, that sounds more like a CR-78.

  6. I guess this is an impressive thing for folks who want a piece of hardware that sounds like an 808 with more flexibility and features, but I feel like I’m kinda siding with folks who don’t quite understand the appeal. There are so many options out there for musicians who want 808 sounds. Part of me wishes the Behringer team would take their know-how and create the drum machine version of the Neutron–a semi-modular box with it’s own unique voices and a lot of I/Os.

    1. If you ever owned or used in a studio these professional classic vintage drum machines you would understand. These classics make timeless records and sound great even raw. The sound quality on the drum machines of the 80s like the 808, 909, linn, sp1200, dmx is unmatched by modern machines as reflected in used market prices.

      There are many options out there for musicians who want “unique” sounds. Check out Arturia’s drum brute or moog Dfam. However, there are few affordable options for clones of vintage gear that actually sounds good. Yes there are tons of 808 samples and clones but they just don’t capture the magic of the original that people who understand it want with out spending $3,000 – $4,000.

      Behringer’s Model Ds sales prove how many of us want classics. If Behringer continues to capture some of the magic sound from the original we will continue to buy.

      1. Absolutely agree – there is a synergy to all these classic machines that is obvious if you actually use them. The sounds, programming flow, build quality and design genius behind them all come together to make something special that cannot be replicated by a set of samples or virtual interface on a screen.

      2. @woolgathering: The magic of the original is mostly in peoples minds. Yes, the Roland TR series were by far the best drum machines of their time. But they’re just limited now to what they were then. So at least i.m.o. it’s good that Behringers team added the filter and wave changer busses. And they’re making what many people seem to want and at a price they think they want it.

        1. I appreciate the feedback and perspectives that everyone is sharing, and I fully understand why someone would want this box if they’re used to the workflow and sounds of the originals. Full disclosure, I’ve never owned nor worked with an actual 808 or 909, so perhaps it’s not surprising that I’m not as geeked about this project as some others. I’m in the market for a Drum Brute Impact because I like the small footprint, the voices (especially the FM drum), and the price. Honestly, though, if this thing ends up coming in sub $400 and I can get another 10%-%15 off on a sale, it would be hard to justify getting anything else.

    2. While there might be “options” out there, not one of those options is a practical, affordable, analogue replica of the original. And that is all anyone ever wanted.

  7. “Why do people want old guitars? theres so many NEW guitars on the market! I don’t understand the obsession with getting an old style guitar. you’re all brainwashed!”

    1. “Why do people want lutes and harpsichords? There are so many NEW instruments on the market! I don’t get the obsession with getting lutes and harpsichords. You’re all brainwashed!”

    2. The guitar analogy isn’t equivalent to what’s happening here. Plus, my comment hardly suggested that people are “brainwashed.” I’m just talking about my personal preference. Again, I get why people would be excited about this box. It’s cool, inexpensive, and has a lot of features that musicians are looking for, especially when it comes to live performance.

  8. I hope it can hold longer than 1 bar patterns, hope it has pattern chaining, and automation. I’d be much more tempted if it was a semi modular original design but I totally get the appeal of a classic clone with a twist.

    1. They already teased Linndrum and Oberheim drum machines, though there is no way for them to do legal clones of sample-based drum machines because of sampling copyright.

      My guess is that they’ll have to change the samples slightly to make it legal, but with negligible sonic differences.

      The other option is that Behringer will just steamroll Roger Linn and Tom Oberheim, since the actual creators don’t have deep pockets for lawyers. Either way, pretty sketchy.

      They have never said how they’re going to work around sample copyright with the 909.

      1. Copyright applies to compositions and recordings of compositions. A single drum hit is not protected by it. After all, millions of producers use these sounds in their songs without legal problems, right?

  9. I think the most important aspect of this release is it proves they can make a 10-12 voice synthesizer with individual outputs, full sequencer and other memories and options, for 400! When do they do this as a polysynth in a similar format, with tons of i/o options on the back?

    1. The architecture of each voice this machine is completely different than a regular synth voice, in that each voice is very specialized and can only produce more or less slight variations of that (Kick-, Snare- etc.) sound. Behringer already has a cheap poly, and so has Korg – I think concerning the pricetag, this is as competitive as it’s gonna get.

      For best I/O options, modular might be for you.

  10. Nice! Now give us a similar machine but based in samples please. Transfering my own samples would be ok, no need of sampling input, but it would be ace if it had one. The new TR8s is good, but I don´t need all that TR emulations and something like the analog filter and the wave designer would work great with samples (plus delay and reverb and a nice master compressor). Just in case someone at beheringer is listening. 🙂

  11. I wonder how close these are to the exact same circuit of the 808 (and 909) and whether they can be modded in the same way. That would make these machines really attractive to circuit benders and modders, and actually offer a nice extended palette beyond the known sounds. We just finished a NAVA with 35 or so mod points and there’s lots of potential. NAVA is a through hole build though – the question is how to go about similar mods in SMD.

  12. Sounds fakn ace! As does their 909.
    Looking forward to the DMX or LD clones…

    As mentioned above, synthheads WANT CLASSIC GEAR! Cos it sounds good and works for the music they make.

    No different from wanting a Stratocaster guitar for playing funk, but buying a cheap Fender knock off instead of the original brand.

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