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).

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47 Visitor comments
May 24, 2009 @ 4:46 pm
R-8 really is something. The sequencer is great and the fact that the human feel patches can be customised to your liking makes this very interesting. Especially when used on hihats the human feel shines. My only beef is that 100 patterns really isn't enough. I also wish it had mute buttons for the sounds.
May 10, 2009 @ 10:52 am
Still got mine. I bought in the store originally. I only miss 3 cards, dance, sound effects and metallic percussions. It's a great drum machine and I still use with my octopad on my drumkit. Needs a bit of cleanup though.

This drum machine was really used all over the place, I've heard in tunes, tv commercials, movies. Reall amazing drum machine when it came out.
January 20, 2009 @ 8:55 am
Mucky, I paid about $300 American for mine. I think I sunk about another $150 into getting all the sound cards for it. Without a doubt, the most expensive sound card you'll pay for is the Dance Card. I had to get it and the Electronic card separately, but was able to get all of the rest in a lump sum at auction.

Worth it. Worth it. Worth it.
January 12, 2009 @ 7:21 pm
Sounds clean and real and cripsy like S-760 sampler.
I'm currently watching a Euro movie with D-50 and R-8 and it sounds great!!!!
January 2, 2009 @ 6:20 am
how much should one expect to pay for 1 of these cheeky little beauty's
theres one for sale and im wonderihng wether or not im gettin ripped.
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Rated 4.04 (536 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

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