Get to know Roland’s TR-8S in detail
First released in 2014, Roland’s TR-8 Rhythm Performer made waves. The Japanese brand’s hybrid drum machine used digital ‘ACB’ tech to synthesise sounds from their iconic hardware beatboxes (the TR-808, 909, then the 606 and 707), packaged in an affordable desktop format.
With 11 individual drum channels, DJ mixer-style upfaders, an ergonomic layout and that classic x0x-box 16-step sequencer, the black and green groovebox was as at home in the booth as in the studio. Its success inspired Roland to pump out loads more hardware recreations of their famous ’80s hardware, including the dinkier Boutique range.
Fast forward to 2018, and Roland have launched a ‘MkII’ version of the TR-8: the TR-8S. Far more than a simple upgrade, the ’8S takes everything good about the first version and ramps it up to 11. Now no longer restricted purely to those ACBmodelled drum machine sounds, the TR-8S can also play back built-in or user-imported samples (hence the ‘S’), alongside a raft of new sequencing features, effects, additional outputs, automation and much more.
This souped-up performance machine can do a lot – so let’s explore it in depth…