In recognition of the original TR-808's importance, Roland have developed the TR-08 Boutique Rhythm Composer - an obsessively detailed and faithful replica of the legendary original. Anyone familiar with drum-machines, electronic music, and hip-hop (especially from the 80s and 90s) will have either heard of the famous TR-808 drum machine or most certainly heard it used in popular music. In 2015 one publication described the 808 as "the bedrock of the modern urban-youth-culture soundtrack".
Despite many attempts at replicating the original over the years (with some drum machines even sampling the original 808's sounds), Roland have now gone back to their roots and have brought the look, sound and feel of the original 808 back to life with stunning accuracy with the Roland Boutique TR-08.
All the Boom and Sizzle of the Legendary TR-808, in a modular mini synth
In other words, that quirky analogue drum machine from almost forty years ago was, despite struggling commercially upon release (and only selling approximately 12,000 units worldwide before being discontinued 3 years later), incredibly important and influential in shaping the music of a generation.
A New Generation of 808
Despite there now being countless 808 samples available out there, they will never be quite as good as the original sound. The key can be found in the user interface, where each and every control interacts with one another to create an array of unique analogue sounds with plenty of odd quirks that help capture the spirit of the 808. It's something as recognisable and unique as the playstyle and tones of certain guitarists, giving you the ability to easily pick out an 808 (and now the Roland TR-08) when heard.
As well as this vintage sound, the TR-08 introduces a few modern touches. For a start, the sequencer has 16 sub-steps per step, allowing the creation of detailed snare fills and intricate, rolling hi-hats. There's also a track-selectable trigger out, allowing it to work alongside other instruments (like the TB-03, SH-01A, or modular gear). A discrete LED display allows for finter control of tempo and shuffle. You can also step-program or tap in each part in real-time, without having to stop to change modes. It even supports both audio and MIDI via USB connection.
Portable, Affordable & Authentic
The only drawbacks with the original TR-808 in this day and age are portability and cost: they were (unfortunately) fairly big and heavy, making them less than ideal for mobile musicians, and due to their legendary status and rarity can cost an arm and a leg on the second-hand market. As mentioned earlier though, despite there being a number of 808 sample tracks and hardware clones, none of them have managed to capture the authentic magic of a genuine 808. Until now.
The Roland TR-08 Boutique is as faithful a recreation as you could wish for, even down to the user interface and sound. The sound is thanks to Roland's propetary Analog Circuit Behaviour (ACB) technology, which has been used to carefully recreate every detail and quirk present in the original hardware, with each analogue circuit being accurately modelled, right down to the component level.
In addition to the Roland TR08 looking and sounding the part, as well as featuring plenty of modern conveniences, it's available at a fraction of the price that an original will cost you. Not only that, but it's relatively compact and lightweight too, making it perfect for making music on the go, but is of such a rugged construction that it could happily survive life on the road, or repeated studio use.
Put simply, with the TR-08, Roland have now put that legendary 808 vibe within reach of jsut about anyone who's ever dreamed of owning the iconic original.
Roland TR-08 Boutique Highlights
- Ultra-compact reimagining of the TR-808 drum machine
- Retains all of the sound, character and UI of the original TR-808
- Hands-on controls for tone, level, tuning, and decay
- Additional effects, including Compression, Gain, Tune, and Pan for selected instruments
- Step and Tap write modes for programming
- Features 16-steps and 16 sub-steps for intricate patterns and rolls
- Beats continue to play even when switching between write modes
- Easy-to-read LED display for navigation and fine-tuning
- Up to 10 separate outputs via USB audio
- Dedicated, track-selectable trigger output for controlling external instruments
- Premium-grade construction
- Lightweight and compact for portability
- Includes DK-01 Boutique Dock for multiple-angle viewing
- Operates via 4 x AA batteries or USB port
- Built-in powered mini-speaker
- Fully compatible with optional Roland Boutique accessories
Roland TR-08 Technical Specifications
- User Memory: Pattern, Intro/Fill-In - 16 bank (12x16 Pattern, 4x16 Intro/Fill-in)
- Steps: 16 Steps, 16 Sub Steps
- Instruments: Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Low Conga, Low Tom, Mid Conga, Mid Tom, Hi Conga, Hi Tom, Claves, Rim Shot, Maracas, Hand Clap, Cow Bell, Cymbal, Open Hi Hat, Closed Hi Hat
- Controllers: Volume, Start/Stop, Tempo, Bank/Tempo/Shuffle, Fine/Value, Mode Selector, Instrument/Track, Clear Button, Basic Variation Selector, Auto Fill In, Trigger Out, Accent Level, Instrument Level, Tone Control, Decay Control, Snappy Control, Tuning Control, Voice Selector, Pre-Scale Selector, Step Button, I/F Variation, Tap Button, Menu/Sub Step Button, 1st Part/2nd Part Indicator
- Power Switch
- Effects: Compressor
- Indicators: 7 Segments, 4 Characters
- Connectors: Trigger Out, Phones, Output, Mix In, MIDI (In, Out), USB port (Micro B type)
- Power Supply: Rechargable Ni-MH battery (AA, HR6) x 4, Alkaline battery (AA, LR6 x 4), USB Bus Power
- Current Draw: 500mA (USB bus power)
- Expected Battery Life: Approx 6 Hours (continuous use)
- Dimensions: 308mm (W) x 130mm (D) x 51mm (H)
- Weight: 1.3kg (including batteries and Boutique Dock)
- Accessories: Boutique Dock (DK-01, Black), Owner's Manual, DK-01 Owner's Manual, Leaflet "Using the Unit Safely), Alkaline battery (AA, LR6) x 4
|Synthesis Type||analogue drum machine|
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