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Roland TR-808 - Revenge Of The Wannabes

Offworld Network did an excellent comparison between TR-808 clones. The video starts with a short history of the classic drum machine, before comparing it to the modern TR-08 and TR-8 as well as iOS drum apps.

Video Description:

Comparison test of the Roland TR08 , TR8 and a few ios TR808 apps for iPhone & iPad. All recorded direct to Audacity through the Focusright Saffire 6 USB interface. No FX, No EQ, No compression added.

November 13, 2017  | person_outline Tim Webb
The differences I can hear between them are mostly resulting from just not well-matched sounds.

I don't know which of those models use sampling, and which might use circuit modeling. On the case of one that uses sampling, I think the differences would probably be more due to what kind of ability you have to adjust the parameters of the DSP affecting the samples. With circuit-modeling, I imagine you could get more of a similarity both with sound and with editing.

A few years ago, I did some experiments with the sub-harmonic series. The series of frequencies starts with X, and then goes 1/2 X, then 1/3 X, then 1/4 X, 1/5 X, etc. So if you started with a frequency of 1200 Hz, the first sub-harmonic is 600, then 400, then 300, then 240... etc.

The sub-harmonic series is not periodic (not-repeating) the way the harmonic series is. When you play back all those waveforms at once, it is a complex and wonderful sound. At high rates, it is the classic 808 cymbal. I don't know how they generate this with analog functions, but it is a wild sound.

Anyway, I do love 808 sounds, and it doesn't really matter to me if they come from an analog synth, a sample, or a modeler. The whole concept of replacing acoustic drum sounds with comparable synthetic tones is here to stay.
November 13, 2017  | favorite_border stub
I’m honestly not a big 808 fan. It’s a nice unit, sure but I’m not entirely sure it deserves its overwhelming popularity. That said, I really enjoy the workflow of MV08 and the interface.

If I’m buying a new drum machine, I’m getting something to sculpt new sounds not something that’s be sampled a gajillion times...

One mans opinion.
What you say makes good sense. I especially like what you said about sculpting new sounds.

For me, I really don't care about 808 hardware. And what I like about the sounds is that I don't care that much about them. In other words, I can just listen to the rhythm and the groove and not be bothered by the sounds. It's a great reference-- great for a metronome.

In a way, for me, it's like the fender rhodes sound. I can practically ignore the sound altogether and just listen to the music, because the tone is so easy on the ears and undistracting. Same with 808 sounds.
November 14, 2017  | favorite_border stub
I gave some thought to the TR-08 when they were announced but after looking around a bit settled on a compromise purchase of the Roland JD-Xi. It has all their x0x (6,7,8,9) kits on one device in the form of PCM waveforms, 4 parts for each sound, all highly tweakable. Also a 1x64 or 4x16 pattern length sequencer. No regrets at present, though I've read a few horror stories about the build quality of the keyboard, which could be a concern when used as a velocity sensitive drum machine. I suppose it could be MIDI'ed up to the seemingly indestructible Arturia Keystep if necessary.
For the more than idly curious, download the Parameter Guide from the Roland website.
November 14, 2017  | person_outline a1
Thanks for the heads up Tim.
November 16, 2017  | person_outline Offworld network
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