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
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.
June 2, 2011 @ 12:47 pm
I bougth brand new, very good Rom cards, I used it for about 5 years and then bought the rack mount version. Now live I could have a possibillity of 4 different card sounds. I had a whole lot of sounds available, So what I did was put my Bass drum on 1 channel, My Snare's on 1 ect,So Live I could control each sound. And all of my sequencing tracks had a different kit, In the end what I did is use my R-8 as a controller to record pattern in my sequencer, tweek it a little and voila! no need for memory in the R-8. Unfortunatly the button are in rough shape I guest I'm a too aggresive Drummer!
May 17, 2011 @ 4:55 pm
hey darcy contact me @
i own a r8m and have great results using it via midi control

Endless Shame
May 6, 2011 @ 4:28 am
@Darcy Chubbs
Tried this? :
www.endlessshame .com
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User Rating

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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