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).

Lookup Roland R-8 Human Rhythm Composer Prices

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50 Visitor comments
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
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.
Judy K.
November 24, 2013 @ 4:00 pm
Okay, I own one. What is it worth?
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.04 (548 Votes)

  • 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
  • Resources & Credits
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