Roland | TR808 | Drum machine | analogue | analog_this

Roland TR808


The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer (a.k.a. the “808“) was one of the first programmable drum machines.

Introduced by the Roland Corporation in the early 1980s, it was originally manufactured for use as a tool for studio musicians to create demos. Like earlier Roland drum machines, it does not sound very much like a real drum kit. However, the TR-808 cost US$1,195 upon its release, which was considerably more affordable than digital sampling machines such as the US$5,000 Linn LM-1.

Drum machines became an integral part of hip hop music as a cheap and simple way of producing a drum sound. The Roland TR-808 held specific appeal because of the ability of its bass drum sound to produce extremely low-frequency sounds.

It also featured various unique artificial percussion sounds that characterized the TR-808: a deep bass kick drum “tinny handclap sounds”, “the ticky snare, the tishy hi-hats (open and closed) and the spacey cowbell”.

The machine’s successor was the Roland TR-909.

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Brand Roland
Dimensions 508 x 305 x 105 mm
Type Drum Machine
Release Date 1980s