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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50 Visitor comments
alex
June 3, 2012 @ 4:37 pm
@ryko
"My old synths are filling my garage up; too noisy and too unreliable, unlike the software versions I now use"

haha noisy is that bad ? for me not i hate clean sounds lets get dirty. ;)

who needs more soulless steril productions ???
sam
May 21, 2012 @ 4:10 am
@ryko
"My old synths are filling my garage up; too noisy and too unreliable, unlike the software versions I now use"

so how about instead of hording them you sell them off to people that will actually make music with them?
Rkyo
April 18, 2012 @ 6:17 am
I bought an R8 when we failed to audition a drummer who was good enough. Then I bought an R8 Mk2, which I still use every day. It's the only bit of vintage kit I still use. (Apart from the effects board in my Akai S3000SL, which I use for real tine effects on the R8 - I haven't used it as a sampler or synth for ages though. Ha.) My old synths are filling my garage up; too noisy and too unreliable, unlike the software versions I now use. The best bit of the R8 is the ability to play melodies in 'Multi' mode assigning a sound to all 12 pads tuned in semitones.
Swen
March 15, 2012 @ 5:23 am
Oh Brandon, you got bad chances after all I know. I own a R5, a R8m and a R70, and I'm looking for a R8 MkII for years now. I saw 4-6 going over Ebay, but here in Germany the go up to 400€ and even more.
Too much for me, given the fact that I already own most of the sounds that are in that box. You should take a look at the R70, which might be compared to it. Or go for a normal R8/R8m,the rackmount will do since the sequencer and feelpatches are of no use if your working with a DAW, and get yourself as much of the soundcards as you can. This should do if you don't need the bigger memory.
Ike M
September 26, 2011 @ 12:51 am
I was one of the first in the ATL to use this monster of a drummer. By far, this was one of the best drum machines I ever owned!
I used to tune the percussion instruments and use them as guitar licks down in the mix, as well as using the 808 kick and toms for musical sounds.
This machine was built like a tank and I bought the R8 MkII as soon as it was released in 1993. I still own both to this day.
It was so easy to use and program. The pads were not as comfy as Akai MPC pads but they got the job down. Separate outs as well. Sweet drummer.
 
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay 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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