Synth Site: Roland: R-8: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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Ambiguous Desire a professional user from US writes:
I have the rack-mount R-8M and this has been Ambiguous Desire's only source of drums from 1991-1996 (when we finally purchased a sampler). I do not understand the programming complaints, but I've been using ROLAND gear since 1988, so I'm used to it. This unit has fantastic sounds in it. I have added the Jazz Brush, Electronic, and Sound Effect cards. Throw on some effects to the multi-outs and you are set. The FEEL function is such a blessing. Our R-8M now splits percussion duties with my Akai S2000, but it will never be replaced. The only complaint I have is the PAN. Instead of 0-127, ROLAND went with L3,2,1,Center,R1,2,3. This just limits the unit slightly. But hey, use the multi-outs and you don't have to worry about the internal panning. I don't think there is a better drum module out there. The Alesis D4 comes close from what I hear, but I'm a huge ROLAND fan.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Aug-30-1999 at 18:27
James K. a part-timer user from USA writes:
The Roland R-8 is THE drum machine--easy programming, great sounds, great feel (from mechanical to human) and solid construction. Until something radically better comes along, which nothing has, I will NEVER sell mine.

One thing to address about the R-8 is the programming--which some people have considered to be difficult. Nothing could be further from the truth--I was editing complete songs on my first day. Just read the instruction manual (a must have!), as the unit isn't very intuitive at first glance and has many "hidden" features.

In fact, compared to some of the other drum machines I have used (Dr. 550, Roland 660, Sequential TOM, Sequential DrumTracks, 909's and 808's) the R-8 is the quickest for the results you can get once you get to know it.

However, once you get an R-8 you will be plagued by the same disease as I am: the hunt for the R-8 soundcards and memory cards--which can be tricky. However, I am doing fine right now with my electronic, power drum & sound effects cards.

My final opinion is that the R-8 is an indispensable tool for any studio recording musician and a fine piece of gear for the price. (Mine was 300$ with 3 sound cards, instruction manual, power cord and a memory card in perfect condition.)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-05-1999 at 03:17
Sal a part-timer user from USA writes:
I've had my R8 for about 6 months and I had a hard time programming it at first but after some time on it I found that it's quite easy. I use step-recording and in scope mode which makes programming very easy. I primarily use the Ethnic Percussion card for my mixes as it offers the good sounds that i need in my compositions. I don't think i'd give this baby up for any price! :)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jun-15-1999 at 18:09
robin turner a part-timer user from U$a ##### writes:
This machine is great. So the midi has gone a little funny on mine. But that's what you get when you buy second-hand. I have been able to do drum 'n bass with the jazz brush sound card (dnb on drum machines is really sketchy and almost always should have been done on a sampler, but on the r-8 you have enough expressive control that it's possible to pull it off well!). Anyways, this is by far the best non-sampling drum machine I've used, the step sequencer in it is top-notch, I really can't say enough about this thing...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jun-02-1999 at 03:28
Ferg a hobbyist user from Canada writes:
I don't really understand the complaints about programming. Frankly, I don't think it could be easier. Yes it time consuming because you have to build kits, but it's easier than building kits on your sampler. I just COPY sets and then alter them individually, and that works just great. And it can play bass as well.

This machine really sits well in a mix. Very strong sounds, but only if you have the right cards. I use the Dance card(010), which has some great samples, Dry (08), Jazz (05), and Jazz Brush (02), which sounds fantastic if that's your style.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Feb-15-1999 at 21:37
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