Synth Site: Roland: TR-808: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Jay Jensen a hobbyist user from United States writes:
i would trade my pair of electribes for an 808

posted Wednesday-Feb-14-2001 at 12:47
nubey a professional user from usa writes:
My 808 syncs perfectly to midi, never gets off time either, I use a Roland MSQ-100, really old sequencer made for the Juno106's but has a midi to sync converter on it, and my timing with it is rock solid. Just a suggestion...

The 808 is the king/queen of all drum machines, bar none, the CR's are nice, the 909's alright too, but the 808 is smooth and hard all at the same time, and has such a weird vibe to it, I just don't see sampling really doing it justice, (as a bassdrum melody from a a sampled 808 kick comes from my E-mu sampler) Yes I have sampled it quite extensively and came to the conclusion, sampling is alright, the real deal rocks folks, it's really that simple...


Anyone want a minty 100% functional 808? with original plastic protective cover? with a sync to midi interface? Will entertain trades of: Access Virus, Waldorf XT, Oberheim Xpander, Roland Jupiter 6/8 MKS80, Novation Nova, Prophet VS. See above email address if interested.... Please, serious inquiries only...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-25-2000 at 10:59
While I ocassionally use the samples of the mighty tr808- its true, the sound is almost impossible to capture in samples- there are just too many variables that contribute to the sound that change each time you use it. If you've only used samples I feel bad for you , the tr808 is a cream machine. there are nuances in the sound created from pure analog oscillators that create a very warm, funky- electro- feel- even the simplest patterns have an organic, soulful sound without a hint of digital harshness- you'll never ever get that sound anywhere else- rebirth - don't make me laugh- it absolutley sucks in comparison. Sure the tr808 is a bitch to sync to anything other than roland gear- but when connected to a tb303 or sh 101- csq w/ sh09 etc, electro-city! If you want to sync to midi get a dr770- it does a great job of emulating the tr909- but not the 808.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-25-2000 at 05:20
The 808 is the greatest analog drum machine ever, fine.(along w/ the 909) The MPC2000xl on the other hand is a major let down. Don't advise these people to sample 808 sounds onto their 2000xl's when they could achieve a "groove" far superior to even that of the 808 itself on a sequencer like the MPC3000 (or the MPC60 for that matter) The MPC2000's and 2000xl's possess no feeling at all, and should be taken off the market and replaced by an MPC3600 that consists of all the sequencing and sampling functions of the 3000 with optional 12bit MPC60 style sampling (cause it kicks ass.) along with the extra sampling time, effects and compatibility that the 2000xl studio plus contains. But I'm only dreaming an impossible dream.

Akai sucks.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-25-2000 at 03:09
Manny Grossman a professional user from NYC writes:
First let me say that the TR-808 is one of my favorite drum machines. Let me also say that I agree that by sampling the machine, you lose some of the magic. However, recently I realized that I was quickly running out of inputs on my mixer for all my gear and the time had come to prioritize. Due to this fact I decided to sample my 808 into my MPC2000XL. I did this so I could use the 808's sounds while still having access to my sampler which is an essential piece of my studio. Basically the benefits of being able to have my sampler setup far outweighed the negatives of having to sample my 808 and put it into storage.

If you face the same dilemma, don't fret. Sampling an 808, despite what the naysayers say, is a totally legitimate thing to do IF DONE RIGHT. This includes sampling many hits of the same sound. Do this because due to its analogness, the 808 will never play the same sound the same way twice. Look at the shapes of the waves on an oscilloscope to see this phenomenon. If you do this, you will have enough variety to make a track of 808 samples that will groove.

Sample the noise after the sound decays. You will hear faint clock ticks and some hiss if the sequencer is running with no sounds. This gives the 808 sounds a "cushion" to sit on. This also contributes to its funkiness.

Sample accented hits as well as non accented hits. And obviously, sample variations of the same sound.

I certainly don't believe that sampled 808 sounds can ever be used to recreate the feel of the original machine. But I don't believe this to be the case because of the sound of the samples. I believe this is the case because of the idiosyncracies of the 808 itself. You can never recreate the sequencer, or the randomness of the circuitry. Nor can you accurately recreate the noise, distortion etc which all contribute to the character of the original. However, I feel that sampling is totallly legitimate because of what you have access to with a powerful sequencer running the 808 samples. If you use samples, you can use the 808 sounds in rhythmic ways that could never be produced on the actual 808. This includes 32nd note triplets etc... Plus you can use the 808 sounds in conjunction with any other sound in your library. In this way, the 808 is brought totally up to date.

Another positive to sampling is that the 808 will always be in sync. I don't know about you, but I find that the 808 drifts out of sync after a few minutes if hooked up via dinsync. This is annoying to say the least and disastrous if used live because in the middle of a song, you can't stop and start your master sequencer to bring the 808 back into sync.

I am an analog purist like many, but I believe that people get it wrong when they say that the 808 sounds cannot be sampled. They can, and they will still make your tracks groove. What you cannot sample are the more subtle things which only the 808 can produce and contribute to its unique feel. But don't despair. With some creative sampling, you will be able to do more with those great sounds than were intended. Don't get too hung up on the issue. Do whatever makes your music better.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-03-2000 at 12:22
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