Get MUSICIANS TIPS & FREEBIES
Free TR-808 VST needed? We got you. Try RC-808-PLG, the excellent Free TR-808 emulation VST available for your next beats.
TR 808 Story
Unlike the previous models (CR-78, CR-8000), the TR-808 (TR for “Transistor Rhythm”) was intended for professional use, including studio modeling. Its design was supervised by Makoto Murio, it was designed by Mr. Nakamura and Mr. Matsuoka.
With its robust construction and elaborate programming, the 808 is distinguished by its step-by-step editing system via its 16-key keyboard, which will become the standard on drum machines. Its direct competitor, Roger Linn’s LinnDrum, which uses percussion samples rather than synthesized sounds, is sold at four times the price1.
In 1982, it was used in Marvin Gaye’s hit songs Sexual Healing and Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force.
About 12 000 copies of the TR-808 were made when its production was stopped. Indeed, the arrival of the MIDI standard made it obsolete. Moreover one of the key components (a defective transistor providing the typical sound of the 808) became unavailable after the stock recovered by Roland.
The TR-909 was released in 1984, followed by the TR-707 in 1985, Roland’s first fully digital drum machine.
It is on the second-hand market during the 1980s that the TR-808 knows a revival, thanks to musical trends such as new beat, hip-hop, house or electro. This revival of interest is mainly linked to the qualities of the machine, simplicity of programming, solidity, and especially very dynamic and very typical sounds.
The objective is no longer to simulate a drummer or a percussionist as well as possible but to produce rhythmic lines with their own color.
Since then, the TR-808 has been extensively sampled, cloned and copied, and has become a classic among electronic instruments.
In the 2000’s, its notoriety elevated it to the status of a cult instrument, described as a “legend” or “icon “.
In 2014, Roland announced the release of the TR-08, a drum machine that simulates the TR-808.
The TR-808 generates 16 unrealistic sounds inspired by :
- bass drum
- snare drum
- hi-hat (open and closed)
Although this lack of realism does not allow for the simulation of a drum set, its uniqueness inspires many artists. The bass drum (used by many actual producers) and cowbell sounds are particularly characteristic.
TR-808 Features :
- 12 polyphony voices
- 16 tones (switchable), some of which are configurable
- 1 sequencer of 64 bars and 12 pieces : 768 bars in total
- 4 bars intro/fill in in 2 banks (A and B)
- Accentuation common to all sounds
- External synchronization via DIN sync
- 11 separate outputs, 2 mixed, 3 triggers
- 3 AA batteries for memory
Free 808 emulation VST : RC-808-PLG
Created by Analog Mania, the original creators of the TR-808, RC-808-PLG is an emulation of the unreleased version of this legendary Roland machine. Available for Mac and PC, it contains several features to create your own perfect drum : it will delight many.
- 8 partials per voice
- 16 Instruments
Download Free RC-808-PLG VST : here
All-in-One Unlimited Access : Royalty-free Samples Library, AI Mastering, Plugins, Acapellas & Instrumentals Extractors
Never Miss Our Latest Musicians Resources, News & Offers