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#375323 - 11/15/13 12:33 AM Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill?
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1661
Loc: USA
After I read Duane's post about the "drum boxes," I started thinking again about the Roland TR-808. I had one and when I advertised to sell it (when they were in vogue), it was snapped up within 24 hours.

I still have my ROLAND CR-8000 and TR-707 DRUM MACHINE but I don't think they sounded as good as the 808. Then again......I still have my YAMAHA RX7 which I thought sounded the best of anything in those days!

I've been reading ever since about how the 808 was (and still is?) labeled the "king" of drum machines (mostly used for recording?).

Can anyone tell me why it was branded this way, and does it deserve the title "king?"

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#375340 - 11/15/13 07:05 AM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: Mark79100]
musicforyourday Offline
Member

Registered: 09/30/10
Posts: 733
Loc: So California, USA
Rappers and HIP HOP Guys love the 808.
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#375403 - 11/15/13 11:18 PM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: Mark79100]
Nigel Offline
Admin

Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6295
Loc: Ventura CA USA
The TR-707 and TR-808 are too different to really compare them. The 808 was the last and greatest hi end analog drum machine. That's why it gets used so much for both hiphop and electronic dance music because it is 100% synthesizer sounds which can sound very fat.

On the other hand the 707 was the first budget affordable digital drum machine from Roland. So it had pretty lo-resolution (8 bit) samples as was often the case at that early era of digital audio technology. But I liked the 707 a lot back then. And there were some nice factory rhythms built in.

They are very different animals. It totally is about what sound you want to make.If you want that electronic dance beat pumping then you absolutely can't go past the 808. But on the other hand if you are trying to sound like a real drummer ... forget about the 808, that is what a digital drum machine is for.

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#375429 - 11/16/13 09:47 AM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: Mark79100]
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 12677
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
Funny ... at one time, Roland actually thought that the 808 sounded like real drums. Whodathunkit? It became the cult-classic standard for electronic kits.
smile
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#375431 - 11/16/13 09:52 AM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: Mark79100]
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10598
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
I had the 707 for a short while...good sound in it's day...I was too lazy to program it, so it got sold with some other gear.

I like how it's done on our arrangers.

Ian
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#375440 - 11/16/13 11:48 AM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: Mark79100]
Fran Carango Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9559
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
Wow Ian...the beauty of the TR-707 was ..programmable..

The TR-707 and the mono synth SH101 were the staples of my set up in the 80's..

I sold the pair for $150...now look at the street prices..


My last 808 I sold to Caruso music for $900 ..
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#375441 - 11/16/13 12:14 PM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: Fran Carango]
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10598
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Originally Posted By: Fran Carango
Wow Ian...the beauty of the TR-707 was ..programmable..



Yes, that's true, Fran, but at the time I was just not willing to put the time in on it...if I remember correctly, it had some sort of matrix display for programming the drum hits per measure.

For my purposes, a preset box was all I needed, I think I used a Yamaha RX-120 for s short time. I had a DX-7MkII with the Grey Matter E! board, and it had a sequencer/arpeggiator that we used linked to the RX-120...it was when I was doing some segues for the local radio station.

The 808 was never a favorite, although, we have pretty decent replications of it on our arrangers...I was more into the standard drum kit sounds.

Ian
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Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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#375446 - 11/16/13 02:02 PM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: Uncle Dave]
rosetree
Unregistered


Originally Posted By: Uncle Dave
Funny ... at one time, Roland actually thought that the 808 sounded like real drums. Whodathunkit? It became the cult-classic standard for electronic kits.
smile


It was the same with the Korg M1 acoustic piano - at the time it was regarded as incredibly realistic (compared to the FM-based acoustic pianos of the DX7), and later it became the "House piano".

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#375448 - 11/16/13 03:26 PM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: ianmcnll]
Nigel Offline
Admin

Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6295
Loc: Ventura CA USA
Originally Posted By: ianmcnll
Originally Posted By: Fran Carango
Wow Ian...the beauty of the TR-707 was ..programmable..



Yes, that's true, Fran, but at the time I was just not willing to put the time in on it...if I remember correctly, it had some sort of matrix display for programming the drum hits per measure.
Ian


Well the matrix was to program a 1 measure pattern then for the song you would simply make a pattern list. It was very simple to program actually. I still like that matrix interface. It was much the same with the TR-808 as well only it was analog not digital.

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#375488 - 11/16/13 08:40 PM Re: Roland TR-808 drum machine.....King of the Hill? [Re: Mark79100]
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
The 808 was THE sound of rap and hiphop, D&B and much early synthpop. And, being analog, allowed a fair degree of manipulation of each sound it made, something the 'digital' recreations can't really do.

Hence the fawning reverence for it. Roland didn't make that many, and many got tossed when newer beat-boxes came out before the hiphop community adopted it and made it the de rigueur sound of rap and hiphop. So second hand value has skyrocketed.

But unless you are into rap and hiphop, it is a side note for the rest of us. Quickly ditched for the more realistic 909's and earlier 707's. And none of them made it to records as much as the LinnDrum, or the Oberheim DMX's, until the 909 became THE sound of house and new disco.

Me, I was always a fan of the Alesis HR-16's... But it's only nostalgia. I wouldn't trade any of them for my BK-9 now..! Short of audio loops (with all their inherent problems), it's the most realistic drums in any keyboard I have yet heard. And, being a Roland, it has enough 808, 909 and other retro beat-box sounds to allow you to cover those styles easily.

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