DinSync.info Intros RE-808 Rhythm Composer, A 1:1 Replica Of The Roland TR-808

808 Day: DinSync.info , a company that specializes in DIY x0x replicas & replacement parts for classic Roland x0x devices, has introduced the RE-808, described as a true 1:1 replica of the original Roland TR-808.

Unlike most copies of classic gear, DinSync’s clones are designed to be full-size replicas of the originals. This means that the RE-808 should not only function and sound the same as an 808, but that RE-808 circuit boards and components can be used as replacement parts for vintage 808s.

Here’s what developer Paul Barker shared about the RE-808:

“As part of our 808 day celebrations, we have something very special this year. The RE-808. As we did last year with the RE-909, we took a TR-808 to pieces and painstakingly created a true 1:1 replica. Unlike any other 808 clone in the market, we went a little further.

In November 2020 we made synth history by successfully performing a “digital decap” of the TR-808 cpu. This enabled us to run the raw 808 CPU code on the Pixie RE-CPU. What this actually means is that like with the RE-303 before, we don’t just replicate the analog aspects but also perfectly replicate the digital aspects and operating system.

For TR users this means your machine will now be able to be repaired long into the future since the Pixie RE-CPU eliminates the obsolete cpu and ram chips. For RE users, this means original 808 code, operation and most importantly authentic 808 playback groove. This is the genuine 808 for the 21st century enthusiast.

As always, the ‘RE’ is made of spare parts that are interchangeable with the original vintage machines. For all intents and purposes, this is a real 808.

So again, old machines can be brought back to life and new machines can be built.”

Pricing and Availability

The RE-808 DIY kit is available now to pre-order for 4,200.00 kr (about $480 USD).

65 thoughts on “DinSync.info Intros RE-808 Rhythm Composer, A 1:1 Replica Of The Roland TR-808

    1. We don’t use the term ‘rip off’ to categorize gear. If you can find an exception, let me know.

      The article makes clear why DynSync describes the RE-808 as a ‘replica’ – it’s a 1:1 clone of the original, so RE-808 parts are interchangeable with original TR-808 parts. You could pull a PCB out of an RE-808, stick it in TR-808 and it would work.

      When we categorize different types of copies of vintage gear, it’s to give readers a simple way to understand the product.

      If you’re interested in a cheap 808, a ‘knockoff’ like the RD-8 or an ‘inspired by’ design like the TR-8 is probably a better option for you than something like the RE-808.

      But if you’ve got a broken TR-808, RE-808 ‘replica’ parts could be a life-saver, while RD-8 or TR-8 parts would be useless.

      We’re not passing judgement on different types of designs, we’re giving you the information you need to decide whether or not a design is useful to you.

      1. “We’re not passing judgement on different types of designs”

        Indeed you are not – you are passing judgment on the gear based on the manufacturer: if it’s a boutique synth company then it’s a “clone” or “replica” but if it’s Behringer then it’s a “knockoff.”

        I know – Behringer is low-cost, modern/surface mount components, etc. – but seriously if it’s the same circuits it really is a “clone”, and calling it a “knockoff” indicates that it’s an inferior piece of [junk].

        So to answer Sean’s question – “knockoff” does seem to be largely equivalent to “inexpensive clone re-engineered by Behringer and made in China.” I wish do that Synthtopia would call them “clones” to remove the disparaging connotation.

        Arguably this design is more of a “rip-off” of the original than Behringer’s efforts, but I think it’s fair to call both of them “clones” and this one a “1:1 clone/replica.”

      2. Apologies, the phrase you almost almost use when Behringer do this is ‘Knockoff’….I don’t see that phrase used here? To me an exact copy without any new features or improvements is more of a ‘knockoff’ than something that has been improved and differs from the original in a good way.

        I don’t really mind if you have an editorial opinion and I think access to all types of product across different. Price brackets is a good thing….but it does seem the general attitude is Behringer bad and Boutique good irrespective of what they do.

        Personally this is a museum piece for me, I don’t want a warts and all copy, I want the best bits of the past with modern workflow improvements, but I am sure this is a product that will appeal to some.

        1. ‘guest’ and Sean

          Thanks for the feedback!

          A ‘clone’ is an exact copy of something.

          A ‘knockoff’ is an inexpensive, unlicensed copy of a popular product.

          The RE-808 is designed to be a full-size clone of the 808. Parts, PCBs, etc are interchangeable with an original 808.

          The RD-8 is designed to be an inexpensive Roland TR-808. It is a different design, uses different technologies and components, but offers a cheap hardware alternative to the original.

          Both of you are arguing that Synthtopia should use less precise terminology – for example, just calling everything a ‘copy’ or using the term ‘clone’ more ambiguously – because you take offense at the use of the term ‘knockoff’ for some Behringer products.

          What you are suggesting is that it’s inherently biased to distinguish between different types of designs.

          You will not find us stating that ‘clones’ are better or worse than ‘knockoffs’ or ‘reissues’, etc., though, because that is subjective and it depends on your specific needs.

          You will find us being specific in our terminology, because there are objective differences between different types of designs and these differences are important to many readers.

          If you can find a place where we’ve suggested that Behringer products are inferior to boutique products or a place where we’ve suggested that knockoffs are inferior to reissues or clones, please point it out.

          If not – consider that we are using specific terminology because it’s useful to many readers.

          1. “What you are suggesting is that it’s inherently biased to distinguish between different types of designs.”

            No, I’m suggesting that “knockoff” has very negative connotations that you seem to be ignoring.

            You may not think that “knockoff” has a negative connotation, but I certainly do, and I expect many other readers do as well.

            Because “knockoff” has a negative connotation, and primarily applies to Behringer and not boutique vendors or software clones that use software emulation of the original circuits, I’d strongly recommend abandoning the term.

            I would suggest that a “clone” in the sense of synths is a device that duplicates the voice circuits, so Behringer’s synths qualify.

            In the guitar world, the term “copy” seems to be most common, although “clone” is also used. I’d accept “copy” as a possibly more neutral and less disparaging term for Behringer (and other) clones.

          2. “A ‘knockoff’ is an inexpensive, unlicensed copy of a popular product.”

            I am familiar with the dictionary definition, but where I live there is a negative connotation to “knockoff” that “inexpensive, unlicensed copy” simply doesn’t have.

            Which is to say “strat copy” is descriptive and neutral, but “strat knockoff” is negative and pejorative. I don’t see the need for the pejorative when the descriptive will do.

            A google search shows how the terms line up in the guitar world: strat copy (30m), strat clone (7m), strat knockoff (101k).

            1. Which is to say, in common usage, the term “knockoff” refers not just to an inexpensive copy, as in the dictionary definition, but to a *markedly inferior* copy, a “cheap imitation” in the sense not just of price but of quality and probably morality. (Some may argue that this perfectly describes Behringer, but I see it as unnecessary flame bait.)

              This pejorative connotation could be avoided by using “copy” instead of “knockoff.”

              1. guest

                Thanks for the feedback.

                As I understand your viewpoint, you’re saying that, while many of Behringer’s synth designs do meet the dictionary definition of ‘knockoff’, you think we should avoid using the term because it has a negative connotation to some.

                That viewpoint ignores the fact that ‘copycat’ designs are viewed negatively by many musicians. The ‘knockoff’ categorization has negative connotations to some precisely because this category of product designs is viewed negatively by some.

                That leaves us with two questions:

                “Is the ‘knockoff’ term being used accurately to describe some of Behringer’s synths?”, to which you’ve indicated you’d answer ‘yes’ to; and

                “Does categorizing different types of ‘copies’ give readers useful information?” The answer to that is clearly ‘yes’.

                In terms of comparing the RD-8 & the RE-808, there are huge differences between the approaches DinSync and Behringer have taken, and these differences are important to musicians.

                The RD-8 is designed to be an inexpensive alternative to the 808, with a few features added (like MIDI) and other changes made to make it cheap to manufacturer. This meets the dictionary definition for ‘knockoff’ designs: something designed to be an inexpensive, unlicensed copy of a popular product.

                Categorizing this as a ‘knockoff’ also aligns with Behringer’s stated product strategy: “We clearly choose to follow successful brands and products, while adding more features and/or competing on price.”

                The RE-808 is also an unlicensed copy of a popular product. But RE-808 design has not been changed to make it cheaper to manufacturer, it’s a straight 1-to-1 clone. This approach is much more expensive, because it doesn’t take advantage of advances in electronics manufacturing technology, cheaper components, etc. But as a result, the RE-808 functionally IS an 808, rather than something ‘808-like’.

                So the RE-808 is a clone or a ‘replica’, as DinSync describes it. But it doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘knockoff’.

                While Synthtopia distinguishes between various types of ‘copies’ to provide readers with useful information, you won’t find us saying that one approach is better than the other, because that depends on your personal needs.

              2. Let’s be honest. If you look for the term ‘Knockoff’ in the Synthtopia search function, it’s only ever used in relation to Behringer products. So, stating it’s used to describe inexpensive, unlicenced copies isn’t strictly true. By that definition, the TT-303 is a knock-off yet you call that a clone?

                Interestingly, there is an old reference to the term in the DinSync RE303 article as well, but used just to clarify it’s a ‘Replica’ not a ‘Knockoff’.

                1. Are you pretending that Behringer product line is not made up of “inexpensive, unlicensed copies of popular products”?

                  There is no other major music gear company that specializes in knockoffs to the degree that Behringer does.

                  Why does this fact make your head explode?

          3. Synthtopia seems to have eaten my comment but I was going to say that where I live, “knockoff” has a pejorative connotation that “inexpensive unlicensed copy” simply doesn’t have. “Knockoff” is a borderline insult (implying an inferior imitation) whereas “copy” isn’t.

            This is seen in the guitar world, where (for example) a google search of “strat copy” yields 30M results vs. 7M for “strat clone” but “strat knockoff” a mere 101K.

            1. You’re such a keyboard hero defending one of the worst instrument companies on this planet.

              Musictribe builds junk aka knock offs and they simply steal what they can steal.

              Deal with it or keep attacking Synthtopia for having some backbone.

              Your whataboutism is just a tactic used by trolls. 😉

          4. “A ‘knockoff’ is an inexpensive, unlicensed copy of a popular product.”

            I suppose you might not call it ‘inexpensive’, but is this thing actually licensed?

            1. As noted above, we consider the RE-808 a ‘clone’, because it’s functionally an exact copy of an 808.

              If design changes were made to make it cheap to manufacturer, it would no longer be functionally an exact copy, and it would the meet the ‘knockoff’ definition.

          5. “If you can find a place where we’ve suggested that Behringer products are inferior to boutique products or a place where we’ve suggested that knockoffs are inferior to reissues or clones, please point it out.”

            You suggest Behringer products are lower in quality every time you use the word ‘knock-off”. If you want to be specific about language, than you should also be aware of the connotation of words, And in colloquial use, “knock-off” is interchangeable with “counterfeit”. Which almost always also means lower quality. So stop hiding behind “it’s useful to many readers”.

            BTW, I learned on this site that the Yocto is an 808 clone and that the Miami is ‘a boutique drumcomputer, inspired by the TR-808″. How consistent.

            1. Thanks for the feedback, Mike.

              While you suggest that “knock-off” is interchangeable with “counterfeit’, that’s not accurate, legally or colloquially.

              A counterfeit is, by definition, an illegal copy of something. It’s a forgery, and it’s illegal because it’s designed to trick you. For example, a fake Rolex or counterfeit money.

              A knockoff is an unlicensed copy. It’s not trying to trick you, it’s not illegal, it’s just designed to be a cheap alternative to something. For example, the Cheerios alternatives you see at the grocery store. ‘Donut Shop’ coffee.

              While you suggest that these terms are interchangeable to most people, they aren’t. You and most other readers would probably agree that you buy knockoff brands all the time. But how many readers would say that they buy counterfeit products?

              And in the world of electronic music gear, ‘counterfeit’ products don’t really exist. The only example that comes to mind is sleazy eBay vendors mislabeling replacement parts.

              We trust Synthtopia readers to be intelligent and to understand that when we bucket a product as a ‘knockoff’, that means it’s an inexpensive, unlicensed copy of a popular product – not a fake or forgery.

              And we see this confirmed in comment feedback – the readers complaining about us using the term ‘knockoff’ aren’t arguing that many of Behringer’s products are not inexpensive, unlicensed copies – they are taking offense at the term ‘knockoff’ being applied to Behringer’s products.

              1. Mike is correct that “knockoff” has a negative connotation.

                Perhaps Synthhead is not aware of the negative connotation of “knockoff”, or considers it a neutral term, but it simply isn’t (at least in the context of musical instruments.)

                “Copy” is a more neutral term, and it seems to be the most popular term to describe the myriad Fender and Gibson imitations in the guitar world.

                “taking offense at the term ‘knockoff’ being applied to Behringer’s products.”

                I can’t speak for others, but personally I’m not taking offense. Rather, I am irritated by the use of an unnecessary pejorative (“knockoff”) when a neutral term (“copy”) would do.

                1. guest – Your attitude seems very elitist – like you’re trying to be the language police, like you think you know better than everybody else what information we want to know or that you somehow know what type of gear is best for everybody.

                  We get that you think everybody should use a different term for copycat synths than we use for copycat cereal brands or copycat clothing. You’ve made that clear.

                  But instead of actually explaining why synths need to be treated differently, you’re just repeating yourself over and over.

            2. The more Behringer fans try to come up with “gotchas”, like this, the more it’s clear to me that Behringer IS making knockoffs in a way that’s unique in the industry.

              The RE-808 IS a clone or replica. If Roland released it, people would be drooling over the ‘808 reissue’.

              The Yocto IS an 808 clone – the circuits are exact reproductions of the original. But it’s like $1000, which is nobody’s idea of cheap.

              The Miami IS a “boutique drumcomputer, inspired by the TR-808”. It’s not a replica, like the RE-808, because it only clones the drum voices, and it’s not designed to be cheap, either.

              The RD-8 IS a ‘knockoff’ – it’s built to be a ‘cheap 808’, it’s styled to be a ‘cheap 808’, that’s how they market it and that’s why it’s popular.

              We get it, you’re offended to see your gear called a ‘knockoff’. Get over it!

      1. what turned me off from B is that they pay people to do specifically this. i mean, harassing poor synthhead, for shame! companies that have no human values make products that have no value to humans

    2. You could consider some factors:

      1. Is the company copying an existing design that is currently being sold by the original manufacturer?
      2. Is the company acknowledging that it is copying another’s design?
      3. Is the company compensating the originator of the design when it is appropriate?
      4. Is the head of the company a thin-skinned a-hole who punches down on anyone who criticizes him or his company?

      If the head of that company was to have some kind of Dickens-esque visitation from a series of ghosts, and then have a change of heart, I’d be the first to welcome him to the fold of humanity. I won’t hold my breath.

      1. I can’t speak to (4) but 1-3 (answered in the negative) apply to most guitar brands that make fender and gibson style guitars.

        Note “when it’s appropriate” is a big thing. Patents are limited in time for a reason. If you build a better mousetrap (or a great musical instrument) you get exclusive rights to the design for 17 years (in the US at least) but after the patent expires anyone is free to use it. The system is designed to enable that, which is why patents are public.

        If a patent hasn’t expired, then Behringer needs to pay royalties. If the patent has expired, it is entirely appropriate for Behringer (or anyone else) to use that patent without paying any royalties to anyone.

        What many people may not know is that design patents also expire. This is beneficial, because design patents could otherwise be used to claim royalties against an invention whose utility patents had expired. However certain parts of a design may still be protected by copyright or trademark.

          1. Minor update – for guitars I’d say the answers are typically (1) yes, they copy models that are still being sold, as well as vintage designs, (2) usually the manufacturer avoids using Fender or Gibson’s trademarked names, but dealers might call them “Strat style” or”Strat copy/clone” or even “brand x Strat” (3) usually paying royalties isn’t appropriate

    3. I think it’s fair to call this Dinsync kit a 1:1 replica, and it’s a DIY kit, so it’s a labour of love.

      The “knock-off” thing also upset me initially, because where I come from it has the connotations of a cheap fake Rolex. There’s a strong negative sentiment here around the kinds of people who buy and wear a cheap fake Rolex. It is arguably classist snobbery mixed with xenophobia. For this reason I try not to joke about people who wear knock-off clothes or jewellery.

      However, I do think that “knock-off” is not entirely undeserved because Behringer insists on going with this aesthetic of copying the layout and typefaces but changing it a tiny bit. I try not to care about visual aesthetics, but this does bother me. I’m not saying that the freebass/jomox/bass-station/drumstation etc were all beautifully designed but they managed to sell without almost-copying the branding.

    1. I don’t think Behringer tried to replicate any parts or components from the TR-808 with the RD-8. They cloned the drum voices with SMT parts and put them in a box that looks 808-like.

      So the RD-8 is more ‘808-y’ than a full-size clone. That’s probably why there are some noticeable sonic differences with the RD-8 mk1.

      The DinSync projects actually recreate the circuit boards of the originals and use the original parts. So they’re exact clones of the original and will sound indistinguishable from the originals.

      1. In addition to cloning the drum voice circuits with SMT parts (as they do), Behringer apparently made their own clone of the 662 audio chip.

        Given that original ICs may be hard to find, I’m happy that Behringer is trying to create replacements.

        In addition to things like classic Curtis audio chips, I’d like I’d like to see Behringer create a replacement for the C64’s famous SID chip, which can basically now only be sourced from C64 systems.

        1. Bladieblabla. You know exactly why Musictribe uses Cool Audio to undercut the market even further. It’s a race to the bottom that will destroy even more companies and provides Musictribe more power over the market. Great idea for a parasite that doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Is that your mindset for everything in life?

          1. No need for the ad hominem attack.

            I don’t see other companies sourcing new SID chips. I’d like to be able to buy one that isn’t ripped out of a C64. The patents expired years ago, so anyone can make them. That’s how patents are supposed to work.

    2. Behringer cloned the 808, DinSync replicated the 808. all parts of the RE-808 will be interchangeable with the TR-808. try to put parts from the RD-8 in a TR-808?!

  1. No one slammed the x0xb0x, it’s the same concept here. I bet this sounds way better than Behringer’s, and honestly, when it comes to the 808 that’s what it’s all about, the sound.

  2. you’ve heard of “knock-off” well how about y’all “knock it off” and stop clogging the comments with asinine and unhelpful nitpicking lol.

    1. Word up, classic old school vs new school, times- they defiantly …, I mean definitely keep on changing, I’m old, I find the DinSync more interesting, I also could not stand classical music when I was younger cause it felt played out and didn’t inspire the change I was after within the music I felt inside me. I like to think that I’ve grown to appreciate both sides of the coin but that might be a little pretentious as music equipment doesn’t pay my bills

  3. what does it matter if it’s a “ripoff” or “knockoff” companies are recreating a classic piece of gear that nobody here could afford (maybe some can) the purest in the group can save your money and buy a 40 year old piece of equipment. most if not all now just use samples of an 808 that are a “knockoff” or ripoff” so explain the difference to me. just except it’s a new day and the people creating these new options are only doing their best to honor a treasured piece of history.

    1. You’re right, Griffith.

      Also, there’s some lying going on in this thread. The notion that B clones (the best word for it) are somehow lower quality, physically and sonically, is in at least some cases simply false.

      Sonically, there are endless demos showing that they are close to the originals, and when not, it’s because B has added features to modernize the sound.

      And physically — I have a Barp Odyssey. It’s in every way better than the original, even though sonically very close. And most definitely better than the recent Korg clones, which are in fact cheaply made, though they cost 3x as much. It’s a steel tank, and will outlive me.

      So let’s cut out the lying, and appreciate that there’s a company that is giving new generations access to ancient gear.

  4. I find some of Behringer’s behavior beyond appalling, but – perhaps hypocritically – do own an RD-8, Pro-1 and Model D. They sound pretty good to my ears and I like the thought of young musicians and producers having access to close copies of these instruments when they never would’ve stood a chance of affording them before.

    Value Synthtopia a lot, but the specific use of “knockoff” has started to feel kind of puerile and grating over time. There was a recent post where the word appeared maybe six times. For all the attempts at justification, I remain unconvinced that there’s really a solid one beyond wanting to snipe at the company (and there are reasons to want to snipe at them, maybe just be honest about that).

  5. If you feel “knockoff” is too negative and unfitting for what what B makes I think it’s fair to say other descriptions don’t fit either. “honor a treasured piece of history”, “giving new generations access to ancient gear” hardly fit B’s incentives, and “steel tank” could be categorised as overly positive. B is as commercial as they come and their recreations are simply driven by the amount the expect to sell in a low price, high volume strategy. I respect that, because recreating these instruments cheaply is not an easy task. But If a piece of gear would have historic significance but little customer demand, I doubt they would revive it for the sake of honor as other ’boutique’ companies have done. B is hardly a company that excels in brand loyalty and engagement like e.g. Lego. So what are the odds that customers passionately defend their brand. Many comments here reek of affiliation, trying to influence public opinion. And imo it’s not needed. They make coveted recreations for an unbeatable price that will sell no matter what. And the way they do it will trigger some negative connotation. That’s part of the deal. I do not identify with how B operates and choose not to buy their products but understand anyone that does. Just don’t pretend to be Lego when you’re Lepin.

  6. Copy would be a better term to use. I understand the animosity toward behringer but a feel that it is unfair to label their stuff as knockoffs. TBH it makes Synthtopia look like it has an unconscious bias regarding Behringer that in tern makes it defend its wording in such a way as to not truly appreciate its viewers, who can quite easily stop reading this site and move to another rss feed with neutrality.

    1. potc

      Thanks for the feedback!

      The majority of the complaints we’ve received about our use of the term ‘knockoff’ have come from first-time commenters, like you, and from people that only come to the site to complain about the use of the term.

      TBH, it makes it look like the majority of this feedback is coming from people with a specific agenda for visiting and commenting on the site.

      Beyond that, we have a handful of long-time readers that disagree with our use of the term. We try to address this reader feedback thoughtfully, as we have hopefully shown in the comments on this post.

      Behringer has stated that being controversial is part of their business strategy. Behringer’s strategy of making knockoffs IS controversial and divisive.

      So it would be wrong to think that avoiding controversial and divisive topics would make our coverage of Behringer more neutral, more accurate or more newsworthy to readers.

      1. I think Synthtopia’s terminology in titles and pots is very clear, informative and helpful. And synthhead’s comments and explanations have very effectively clarified and contextualized these choices.

        I’m very grateful for those efforts.

      2. “TBH, it makes it look like the majority of this feedback is coming from people with a specific agenda for visiting and commenting on the site.”

        A bit of an ad hominem attack that is likely unjustified; personally I can say that I’ve been visiting (and posting comments on) synthtopia for years and it’s one of my favorite blogs! I own two pieces of behringer gear (a dead USB interface and a stereo mixer) and I’m not part of a Behringer astroturfing conspiracy. I just agree that “knockoff” is visual noise when “copy” would do.

        1. Wow. It is surprising that this explanation is somehow not satisfying. It may be difficult to imagine that words can have local connotations (sometimes negative), but those connotations are not universal.

          A manufacturer can choices (some, very sophisticated) to mass-produce a popular device; finding ways to cut costs, possibly add features, etc. In marketing, choices are made to copy some visual aspects of the original, in order to capitalize on the popularity of the original. That is a textbook definition of a knockoff.

          In another scenario, a manufacturer takes a device and literally copies everything about it. That is a copy.

          Ok, now back to the real world, any morality ascribed to the use of “knockoff” is in the beholder. I’m just restating that which has already been said much more clearly by our wonderful moderator.

      3. I agree with potc’s comment, but I do appreciate synthhead responding. It seems that you now understand that a number of readers, including some long-term readers of the site, consider the term “knockoff” to be unnecessarily pejorative (at least when applied to musical instruments) in a way that “inexpensive unlicensed copy” is not.

        1. One last comment: some guitar clones of the 1980s are sometimes called “lawsuit guitars.” (Since there were actual lawsuits and/or legal threats against imitators such as Ibanez.) They’re often terrific instruments. Tokai actually eventually ended up manufacturing Fender-branded guitars in Japan. I’m not recommending that synthtopia adopt the term “lawsuit synths” however, at least until there are some actual lawsuits.

      4. not true. ive commented on this site for years, i wrote a comment about you suspiciously not calling this one a “knockoff” and you made the comment “for moderation” and then never posted it. Then you post that only new people are making comments, when you delete the others. Incredible.

  7. why do people find it necessary to make every single comment section here about behringer
    don’t like what you’re reading? close the page and move on

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