Image via: Roland

Roland’s TR-8 is getting an upgrade with a lot of much-requested new features.

Roland is updating its flagship TR-8 drum machine. The new TR-8S, which is released later this month for $699/€699, updates the 2014 TR-8 model with features including sample import, eight audio outputs and improved pattern chaining – all functions that a lot of users have been asking for.

The biggest change is sampling. While the TR-8S includes the sounds from all of Roland’s famous drum machines – the 808, 909, 707, 727 and 606 – it’s now possible to upload your own stereo and mono samples via SD card with controls for controls for setting the and playback direction, pitch, decay, start and end point.

Anyone frustrated by the TR-8’s meagre pattern memory will be pleased to hear that the TR-8S is also vastly improved in this respect. It can store 128 patterns (each with eight variations and three fills), with eight dedicated buttons for triggering and chaining patterns, allowing you to build more complex rhythms.

While the sequencer buttons remain the same, Roland has added a trigger pad that can be used to set velocity per step. The sequencer also allows other parameters to be set per step, or for automation to be recorded in a similar manner to Elektron’s Digitakt drum machine.

There’s also eight analog audio outputs – not quite one for each of the drum machine’s 11 channels, but still an improvement over the TR-8, which only had four audio outputs. Six of these can also be used as trigger outs in case you want to power other synths or drum machines.

Another welcome change is the loss of the TR-8’s Scatter control. The effect is still there if you want it (as a fill effect), but it’s joined by a more comprehensive set of hardware effects that includes simple delay and reverb alongside tape echo, compressor, sidechain and LFO.

The TR-8S is $200 more than its predecessor, but the new features – which appear to fix everything that was wrong with the original model – are almost certainly worth saving up the extra money for. Its closest rival in the same category is the Elektron Digitakt, which has a powerful sampling engine but doesn’t have the dedicated audio outs.

Read next: Buying a drum machine: What to consider and where to get the best deals

Latest

Latest

Share Tweet

Privacy Preference Center

Required Cookies & Technologies

Some of the technologies we use are necessary for critical functions like security and site integrity, account authentication, security and privacy preferences, internal site usage and maintenance data, and to make the site work correctly for browsing and transactions.

gdpr, woocommerce_cart_hash, woocommerce_items_in_cart, _wp_wocommerce_session, sucuri_cloudproxy_uuid_*

Site Customisation

Cookies and similar technologies are used to improve your experience, to do things like:

- remember your login, general, and regional preferences
- personalize content, search, recommendations, and offers

Without these technologies, things like personalised recommendations, your account preferences, or localisation may not work correctly.

wp-settings-*

Personalised Advertising

These technologies are used for things like:

- personalised ads
- to limit how many times you see an ad
- to understand usage via Google Analytics
- to understand how you got to our web properties
- to ensure that we understand the audience and can provide relevant ads

We do this with social media, marketing, and analytics partners (who may have their own information they’ve collected). Saying no will not stop you from seeing our ads, but it may make them less relevant or more repetitive.

_ga, _gid, gat,_gads,_fbp