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
Judy K.
November 24, 2013 @ 4:17 pm
Amazing machine! It helped my partner and I create MUSIC! The more we asked the more it gave. Was on line recently looking at new drum machines and see nothing that really compares to the "human" aspects this digital wonder can produce. Paid $450 for it in '96 and it has always been "in studio". Wish I could find a good use for it now. judyksings@tampabay.rr.com
Judy K.
November 24, 2013 @ 4:00 pm
Okay, I own one. What is it worth?
Rob Beresford
November 10, 2013 @ 4:17 am
"Roland R8 is too old and doesnt sound good. its like an 8bit sample or even less"?

R8 is actually 16ibt @ 44.1kHz (CD quality) and at the time, it was one of the most realistic drum machines on the market in terms of sound quality but that was only touching the surface.

Not only were the pads velocity sensitive but more importantly, they also had aftertouch and in the hands of the experienced, you could build the most amazingly realistic rolls and flams simply by varying the pressure of the pad.

I'll let this slide as quite clearly, you know nothing and are just trolling ;-)
Michel Vocken
October 8, 2013 @ 9:57 am
The Roland R8 is too old and doesnt sound good. its like an 8bit sample or even less.
Its over priced on ebay because it is just hideous and outrageous how many idiots there are. The new Boss ones are amazing.
R & R
September 14, 2013 @ 8:30 am
The R-8 is ridiculously fat. Absolutely huge, rich drum samples perfect for more electronic style music such as Pop, Hip-Hop and Dance music. It was originally designed to replace a drummer in studio, hence the intricate user interface and very raw sound which requires healthy doses of dynamics processing just as real drums do. It's an extremely technical beast aimed at serious pros rather than tinkering hobbyists, not easy to use and therefore not everyone's cup of tea. It does however yield breathtaking results.
 
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  • 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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