Roland TR-8S Professional Rhythm Performer Drum Machine w/ Sample Playback – Store DJ

Roland TR-8S Professional Rhythm Performer Drum Machine w/ Sample Playback – Store DJ


Hi everyone and welcome to store DJ my
name is Luke Bowditch and today we’re having a quick look at the Roland TR-8S
Rhythm Performer Now that 8S is Roland’s 303 day
released for 2018 I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands I want a little bit
ahead of time and I’ve really been enjoying the unit so let’s check it out.
Now, many of you will be familiar with the Roland TR-8 was released as part
of Roland’s AIRA range. Now I own a TR-8 myself and I love it. It does
straight up Roland TR style drums and programming; it’s really immediate really
playable it’s a great machine, it’s worth noting that this is not replacing the
TR-8 the TR-8 is going to remain available
but this is now another option – the 8S So, the million dollar question what’s
the difference? Okay well surely you’ve noticed a stylish new layout of the
machine it looks very cool but the other standout of course is the ‘S’ on the end
of the product code and that stands for ‘sample’ so we now have a TR machine that
also plays samples, but that’s not the end of it, there’s new features
throughout the unit and you could think of this more as a TR-8 Pro. Okay so
let’s have a look at the sounds here. Of course you’re gonna get all of your
classic Roland TR series sounds but then the unit departs in a couple of ways the
first is that you can save any of the sound settings including the effects
settings into an instrument and that means you could dial up a compressed 909
kick or a bit crushed 808 snare, but due to the unit’s sample capabilities
you’re not restricted to these sounds it actually ships with a lot of other drums
as well as sounds that are not drums bass tones and synth stabs and so on, and
you can save your own variations of these in the unit or you can load your
own samples by SD card and save them as well It’s worth noting at this point that
you’re not restricted to a standard kit shape if you will
doesn’t have to be bass drum, snare drum, three toms, you can load any sound into
any instrument and this really frees up kit development a lot and you can have
all bass drums if you wanted or basses and snares, whatever you like. And you can
also group sounds so you could have two instruments firing off together you
could have a nice tight kick drum with a sub bass boom underneath it to give it
that extra oomph and this is possible in part due to the standardized features on
each of the instruments – so you have tune decay and control. Now tune and decay a
pretty self-explanatory tune will put the pitch higher or lower, decay will
make a sound longer or shorter. It’s worth noting that tune is what allows
you to play pitched instruments on the 8S, but more on that later. The control
is what we particularly want to have a look at here. This is quite an important
feature on the unit – you can assign control to all number of things: it could
be an attribute of the instrument itself like say, the snappy control on a snare
it could be a send to one of the master effects so the delay or the reverb, or it
could control the effect that’s assigned to that instrument. And speaking of
effects there is a whole range onboard: everything from bit crushers
drives, distortions, compressors, transient shapers, eq’s and filters, flanges and
phasers. And there’s a really broad implementation with the effects – you
can use them to mix your kit get a nice finished, polished sound or you can use them
to jam with as well and you can jump in right away and start turning pots with
your effects on and they’re going to sound great but you can also delve into
the menu and change the settings if you like. So, something like the compressor
sounds great on drums but if you want you can get in and change settings like
threshold, ratio and knee. And all of the parameters we’ve discussed so far you
can automate with the motion recording controls and so this can add real life
to your patterns you know things like filter sweeps across your steps
or evolving effects. This is also how you can automate the tuning to create things
like melodies and b-lines. Another way to automate your sounds is with the
onboard LFO. Now there’s an LFO in each kit and it’s quite easy to assign a
parameter in a sound to the LFO and you get instant movement. I really like to
use this one on decays on high hats. As this is a rhythm machine, let’s have a
look at the patterns. So there’s eight variations per pattern now on the 8S
and you can easily copy and paste between them so you can quickly build up
the track, that’s super handy. One of my favorite features on here is a really
small one but it’s very cool and that is the ability to set the last step per
instrument. So it’s a 16 step sequencer but you can have most of your
instruments going on 16 steps but you can select one or more to only go for
six steps or eight or ten whatever and that will give you poly rhythmic
patterns. Poly rhythms are super cool – you’ll catch
them in underground house techno electronica. If you’re not across them
definitely get onboard. Another new feature on the pattern side is sub-steps
and this is great for all the hip-hop and trap heads out there in particular. This
gives you the ability to add notes in between the sixteen steps here so you
could add it on a 32nd a 32nd triplet or a 64th. Now this is
great for snare rolls and for skipping high hats. Also definitely worth a mention is the
velocity-sensitive pad here – this allows you to play notes that are louder or
softer depending on how hard you hit the pad. It also allows you to play notes
while you’re in TR-REC mode which i think is great
so you can be In TR-REC and punch in the notes where you know they should be, or
play them in if you like as well. If you’re a hardware based producer, the
TR-8S is a great option that also plays well with others. Of course, the TR’s
heritage is all about hardware production and this is a proper Roland
drum machine, with heaps of hands-on control and it’s made to be played. If
you’ve owned a TR before you know what it’s about and this is the next
chapter. The 8S is a flexible unit, with both classic TR and new sounds, and
it’s onboard sample playback capabilities and effects will free up
your existing gear for other duties. It features six assignable outputs as well
as the main outs, so you can map your drums across a desk. You can also use
them as additional trigger outs to control external gear and there’s an
input for side chaining. If you’re a producer who works in a DAW
or computer-based studio, the TR8S is a great option to get some of that TR vibe
into your productions and get your drums up and running quickly. Now there really
is something to be said for Hardware drum programming and if you only ever
work in the box it’s surely something you should check
out. Now while you’ll get all of the classic TR range sounds, the ability to
mix and match them with your own sounds and treat them all with Roland’s onboard
effects, can really give you your own signature kit that’s always ready to go.
And when it’s time to track your drums into your session, the on-board USB audio
interface will give you easy, digital, multitrack recording at full resolution. So what if you want to take things on
the road? For live performers and DJs the TR-8S has a load of advantages. Just
imagine turning up to a gig with all your drums already mixed and sounding
great you’re ready to go and of course you won’t need to bring extra effects
for your drums because they’re onboard. And if you normally bring something for
sample playing as well or you can probably leave that at home too.
The pattern setup and variations give you lots of choice where you can
pre-program some stuff and then also jam and improvise as well there’s also a lot
flexibility around how your kit is configured so you can have it set that
when you dial up a pattern it will load the kit and the tempo or you can leave
them unlinked if you want to move more smoothly in between tracks. With all of
the added versatility of the TRS it’s worth mentioning the screen. Now, on the
TR-8 there was no need for a screen, but on this with all of the extra
effects and assignments and different kits that’s really helpful. What I love
it for, is I’m a big fan of delays and echoes and with the screen, I can check
the time division on the delay before I dial it in. So there you have it, just a
quick look at the Roland TR-8S and some of the things that make it unique and a great option for a range of
different rhythm duties. What I love about it, is it sounds fantastic and
while it feels quite familiar, it’s also very flexible and customizable and you
can get in there. Now if you want to find out
more about the unit you can come visit us in store, or just click the link below
for more information. My name is Luke thanks for joining me see you next time you

14 comments

  1. Great review – no one else has mentioned the LFO, that is very cool.
    2 qs;
    Also, does it work with the MX-1 via Aira link?
    Can you perform an 'unmute all parts'if you have a few things muted and want to get back to full on…that how I like to do things!

  2. A must have. Thats what i have been waited for. Awesome machine. Nice for jamming. Glad i have not bought a Digitakt or Rytm. Much better workflow here.

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