Roland have released a new drum machine, the TR8S. An update to their popular hardware, they’ve added some extra performance features including an SD card to load your own samples, extra sounds and kits beyond Roland’s own legacy kit and a Motion sequencer to record and sequence changes and movements in sound and tone.
The new screen allows users to dive in and edit sounds and effects and a new Performance Pad allows you to enter velocity sensitive patterns or play sounds more realistically. The SD card can also store whole kits, patterns and settings so you can take your SD on the road rather than the whole unit, or for any studio disasters.
The new CTRL knob on every sound can be assigned to various parameters including Attack amount, Delay send, LFO depth and more, depending on the kit. Users can also change it independently for each sample or globally so each sound is affected the same way.
Kits include the classic 808, 909 and so on from the TR8, but have added more genre-based styles and sounds, as well as allowing users to edit and save kits, or combine sounds from multiple kits into their own custom one. Thankfully, you no longer have to settle for multiple outputs via the built-in USB – the TR8S features eight physical quarter-inch jacks out that can be assigned to any sound, or combined as a stereo pair. Interestingly, they can also be used as trigger outs to use with other hardware, and there’s even a 3.5mm trigger to go straight into Roland’s Boutique range. The stereo quarter-inch external input allows everything to run back through the TR8S, as well as through its FX section.
It’s a hefty update that brings what was a drum machine that was popular but limited in sound into a completely new space, keeping the popular performance faders and Tune and Decay per sound but adding kits, features and functions to rival more comprehensive kit. All the better, at €699, Roland have managed to keep the cost low. The TR8S will be available in April 2018.