Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer Drum Machine (Discontinued)


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Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer
Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer

The Roland TR-8 is a modern recreation of the iconic Roland TR808 and TR909 drum machines, both of which helped shape what we know today as modern house, dance, techno and hip-hop music. Marvin Gaye, Rick James, Beastie Boys and many more have put these drum machines to good use and helped fuel its popularity.

Note that this model has been superseded by the Roland TR-8S.

Up to now, working TR808 and TR909 units are highly valued, so it is not surprising to find that TR-8 has done well in the market. With its unique interface, built-in effects, and wealth of pads, sliders, buttons and knobs, the TR-8 allows for everything from the simplest electronic beats, to complex ambient ones. Another noteworthy feature of this unit is called "scatter", which lets you modify and twist your grooves in real-time.


  • 16 backlit velocity sensitive pads
  • 16 Kits and 11 instrument types
  • Custom dream kits based on TR-808 and TR-909 sounds
  • Large Tempo knob with Tap Tempo button and continuous Fine and Shuffle adjustment knobs
  • Dedicated Accent function knob
  • Per-step reverb and delay effects with dedicated knobs
  • Built-in per-step Side Chain function for rhythmic ducking and gating effects
  • Scatter lets you freak and tweak your grooves with real-time control and perfect sync
  • 7 segment, 4 character LED display and 16 per-step pads full-color LEDs
  • Real-time pattern creation up to 32 steps
  • Pattern copy and pattern randomization for rapid, spontaneous creativity
  • Two assignable analog outputs and full parallel outputs via USB for total mixing flexibility


The statement "Old school is back" is a spot-on summary of the general sentiment of users and experts regarding the TR-8. The majority found the sampled sounds of the TR808 and TR909 to be more than satisfactory, even experts commented that they would not be able to tell the difference in a blind test. Value for money, build quality and overall fun factor were also mentioned by reviewers.


Experts did not appreciate the relatively small number of patterns available, and they also complained about the lack of output options. There are some experienced users who found the TR808 and TR909 sounds to be lacking, or to be specific, they are not feeling the analog vibe. Still they appreciate the quality considering the price difference between the TR-8 and working vintage specimens.


If you are into '80s pop and dance music, or you want an affordable alternative to the venerable TR808 and TR909, then you might be able to get this one second hand, or you might like to check out the newer model, the Roland TR-8S.