Feb 17, 2014
Roland Revives Some Classic Hardware

While the world of production is now heavily based on software, the announcement of a decent piece of hardware will always have a producer’s wallet itching, so the return of the Roland TR 808 and 909 all rolled into one unit is bound to cause quite a stir. The much anticipated TR8 is part of Roland’s Aria product line, and is something quite special when you look under the hood.

For those not in the know, the 808 and 909 are at the very genesis of EDM. Released in the early ’80s, both machines aimed to replicate real drum sounds, and in this respect, they failed to such a spectacular degree that by 1985 both units were discontinued. But their use in electronic music caught on, and by the end of the decade the 808 and 909 were ubiquitous in house, techno and hip-hop. From the subby kick of the 808, to the open hat of the 909, their sounds still dominate the genre.

But with original units becoming rare and very expensive, the release of an updated unit is bound to draw skepticism–is Roland giving us the real deal here, or is this just another sample-based clone? The answer is even better than expected, with the TR8 featuring a true analog replication of the original circuitry, with the company even drawing from original units and decades-old design spec sheets. The unit will be formally unveiled at the Brighton Music Conference in April, but for a first look at just how good the replication is, along with all the other modern-day features added on top, check out the below video courtesy of Point Blank.

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