The DJ-808 lets you sequence drums as part of your DJ set.
Announced via a live-streamed event this morning (September 9), the DJ-808 looks like a standard four-channel Serato DJ controller with one key difference: a drum machine called the TR-S with a sequencer that looks as if it’s been transplanted from the iconic TR-808 drum machine.
The drum machine element also features controls for tuning, decay and pattern switching like Roland’s recent TR-8 model. It contains software emulations of four of Roland’s most popular drum machines: TR-808, TR-909, TR-606 and TR-707.
The TR-8 will also allow artists to create beats spontaneously, locking rhythm in sync with the Serato DJ software. Two USB ports also allow owners of existing Roland AIRA gear such as the TB-3 or System-1 synth to jam along seamlessly.
Serato makes a bold claim that the DJ-808 “will change the way you create music,” but there’s not really anything on the market like this. Other controllers allow you to trigger samples from pads, but not an onboard sequencer.
The controller includes the features you’d expect from a DJ controller: velocity-sensitive trigger pads, effects and jog wheels. It also includes a voice transformer based on Roland’s AIRA VT-3 unit.
The controller is just the first of many products to be revealed by Roland today, with updated versions of the TR-909 and TB-303 synth expected to be among the announcements.
A price and release date for the DJ-808 have yet to be announced.