Roland R-8 Human Rhythm Composer

Roland R-8 Image

Roland R-8

One of the very best drum machines ever. It has excellent sounds which can be expanded by adding additional sound cards (808 and 909 cards). Great rock, electronic, ethnic and industrial style drumkits! Most of the sounds are editable - tune, decay, attack, nuance, output, etc...

But its coolest tricks are the Feel Patches which give your program a human-like groove! The sounds are ROM based samples, the R-8 has 32 note polyphony, 68 instruments, 100 patterns and 10 songs! The R-8 later became the R-8mkII with more memory and sounds. It is used by Orbital, Underworld, Jimmy Edgar, Autechre, 808 State, Dave Holmes, Fluke, Human League and The Shamen.

Roland R-8mkII Image

Roland R-8mkII

A single-space rack-mount version - the R-8M - was also available. It had no sequencer but it did have the R-8 sounds and the ability to read R-8 expansion sound cards. There were also 8 individual outputs, 12 voices polyphony and 4-part multitimbral MIDI. Later, an mkII model was released with upgraded features and memory (pictured above).

Check Roland R-8 Human Rhythm Composer Prices on eBay

The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland R-8 Human Rhythm Composer? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

47 Visitor comments
April 3, 2014 @ 3:08 pm
Bought one back in the summer for $500. A steal if you ask me. Very intuitive and fun to play with.
March 25, 2014 @ 7:32 pm
Roland manuals specs show R8 as Max Voices 32, R8m as 12, and R8 mkII as 12. Confused?
Roy M
February 6, 2014 @ 9:00 pm
Good luck finding a power adapter. Roland didn't make a replacement so you pretty much have to buy another R8 for the power supply. Although I did see on ebay someone making and selling a power adapter but it's pretty pricey.
January 25, 2014 @ 12:46 pm
i am looking an AC apdator for it roland R-8
Bjorn Wahlberg
December 15, 2013 @ 10:18 am
Had one in the studio that I bought 89 and later sold in the 90's. One of the best drum machines I've had in general over the years. Same as the Juno series is one of the absolute favorites
Post Comment!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.04 (537 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 32 voices
  • Sounds - 68 Rom samples
  • Controls - tune, decay, attack, nuance, output, etc...
  • Patterns - 100
  • Songs - 10
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer
  • Keyboard - None
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1989
    R-8 mkII - 1992

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.