TipTop Audio has released another in their line of Roland TR-808 modules for the Eurorack system. I own all of them so far and they are all stellar. I believe I read Gur used to repair or clone real 808s so he really knows what he is doing. This time the Rimshot and Clav are covered in the new RS808 module. The sound is right and besides the flexibility of being in the modular environment the module has slightly more variation than the original.
“The RS808 is the TR-808’s analog Rimshot and Clavs sound generator in Eurorack format. It’s a low-cost module that brings back that classic sound, but with even more variation and control, continuing to expand your Tiptop Audio modular drum machine. The RS808 comes with two switches that give a total of 4 different positions: two are the classic Rimshot and Clavs sounds as found on the original, and two are unique to the RS808 module adding a range of snappy “click” sounds the circuit is capable of producing. Two control knobs were added, each have different effect for the selected sound. In general, these controls can be categorized as Pitch and Snap as they control the frequency of the oscillator and decay of the envelope generator. The RS808 is an exact reproduction of the original circuit which sounds like a fresh machine coming off the assembly line back in the 80’s.” – tiptopaudio.com
Since we are waiting to hear the Roland Aira to see if they will deliver a new TR-808 here’s a classic track featuring the king of drum machines. Perfect High from Peppermint Lounge has the elements of an early 80s new wave track I love. Sad lyrics, meloncholy arpeggiators, pads, stuttering samples, vocoder and a TR-808. Produced by Jörg Burckhardt and written by Matthias Elvers in Germany in 1983
“Because getting high was all he cared to do.” – Peppermint Lounge
So Roland is teasing something new for NAMM. It looks like a new drum machine and they have a promo talking about the origin of the TR-808. If the new AIRA is analog I’ll be excited. It also looks like this is one of eight products in an AIRA line. Will this be a return to the classic Roland we love? These machines will have to have the punch and tightness of the originals not just less than imitations.
UPDATE: Analogue Ryhthm Machine, 6 Analog and 4PCM-based Drumparts, Loop- and Step-Sequencer, Stutter-, Active Step and Step Jump-Functions, Multitouch Trigger Pad / Step-Button, LED-Display, Build-in Speaker, Sync I/O 1/8″ Mini-Input female Mono, MIDI In, Headphone-Out 1/8″ Mini-TRS Stereo, Power via 6x AA Battery or optional Power Supply (KA-350; not included), Dimention: 193 x 115 x 45 mm (WxHxD), Weight: 372 698 Euros”.
UDATE 2: People are pointing out the specs above are from a Thomman image which is probably a hoax. We will see!
“Roland Engineers discuss the initial concept of the TR-808 which was conceived and built in 1980. Although it was designed to create “backing tracks”, creative musicians started to use the Rhythm Machine as an instrument and music changed forever. Now the evolution begins again.” – roland.co.uk
There are tons of plug-ins and sample libraries but I always post updates when they come from UVI. Every time I use their Emulation II I come up with great sounding songs. Their new release is called Urban Suite. It’s actually 5 completely different plug-ins and a huge sample library. Beatshaper and Prime8 are drum machines. Beatshaper is a wide range of samples and Prime8 is a Roland TR-808 emulator. As with more really good modern sample libraries these are attached to interfaces that allow the samples to be manipulated and sequenced. Like using external hardware it’s fun to jump out of your DAWs traditional interface for sequencing now and then. Urban X is a layered sample playback and synth with effects. Even though I’m known to like synthpop I grew up and learned a lot about music through classic rap. So I am please to tell you Scratch Machine brings scratching and a scratch library into the DAW zone. This one plug-in alone would be worth it for many people. Finally there’s a multitrack looper called Beat Control for building full tracks. $199 available now.
“Urban Suite delivers 5 new instruments and a massive sample library tailored for contemporary music producers, perfect for hip hop, R&B, trap, glitch, beat, experimental and more… There’s no way to accurately reproduce the experience of scratching without a turntable but we’ve come pretty close with Scratch Machine. Grab a keyboard or pad controller, load up one of the classic sounds like ‘Fresh’ or even a Speak’n’Spell and let loose! All sounds were recorded directly from decks masterfully controlled by our resident turntablist and scratch artist DJ Quartz—over 10,000 samples in all.” – uvi.net
My brother got me a Blue Lantern Asteroid BD for X-mas! Here’s two videos and a direct recording for you. It’s teamed up with some Tiptop Audio 808 modules and a Metasonix R-54. No other effects were used. Everything is being triggered by an Innerclock Sync-Gen IIls. I think they all sound fantastic!
“Introducing the new blue lantern modules analog drum kick. This design was sitting in my pc for over 2 years, and i am barely getting around to releasing it. Shame on me. This drum kick module can cover a good range of analog drum kick sounds. I included the essentials in bass drum control and sculpting. You can go from chi-town muddy drums to Detroit techno drums really easy. The key feature i included is that the decay will go long (almost infinite) when fully clockwise. there is a trimmer to adjust and fine tune the decay knob. I already calibrated for the best setting.” – Blue Lantern
This is how it all begins with a little honest playtime. One of these kids will go home and dream of drum patterns. They will hear 808s on records and know where the sounds came from. They will realize how special that machine they played with was. One may become the next Hawtin. I started young obsessing over a TRS-80 Color Computer. When I hit my teenage years, fell in love and heard Depeche Mode it was all over. I knew my calling.
“During computer class some of the grade 3s decided to teach themselves how to program a 30-year-old Roland TR-808 drum machine.” – Selwyn House School
I start my songwriting with the drums. Touching actual buttons and watching flashing lights go left to right as the sequencer plays is more fun than pushing around a mouse. My iPad is getting a lot of attention these days for the fun factor too but the sound is not exactly the same.
“The famous Roland TR-808 was also launched in 1980. At the time it was received with little fanfare, as it did not have digitally sampled sounds; drum machines using digital samples were much more popular. In time, though, the TR-808, along with its successor, the TR-909 (released in 1984), would become a fixture of the burgeoning underground dance, techno, and hip-hop genres, mainly because of its low cost (relative to that of the Linn machines), and the unique character of its analogue-generated sounds.” – Wikipedia
So I’ve had my iPad for about a week and I can say it actually is a very different experience than the iPhone. Case in point the are drum machine Apps above. Funkbox on the iPhone is ok but I never really used it past a novelty show off item. On the iPad I can sit comfortably and knock out loops with pleasure. The iElectribe really knocks you out. It feels like hardware. Fanboyism aside if you have not had a chance to play with these and you make electronic music go do so.
I’ve said many times the Roland TR-808 is the king of all drum machines. It has the sharpest deepest kick with the most attack, snares and hats that sound like lighting and a sequencer that makes any beat sound incredible. I love this machine so much I think I subconsciously liked songs because they had an 808 on them (all before I even knew what a Roland TR-808 was!). I love this video above where a bunch of classics with 808 drums were recreated on an Korg Electribe SX. I own everyone one of these songs on 12″.
“Recreations, again by ear, of some classic early 80s beats that were originally made on a Roland TR-808 drummachine. This became the signature sound for freestyle music and later for house. Mantronix – 808 Beats, Shannon – Let the Music Play, Freeez – IOU, Man Parrish – Hip Hop Bebop, GLOBE & Whiz Kid -. Play that Beat Mr. DJ, Nineteen – Paul Hardcastle (iTunes link), C.O.D. – In the Bottle, Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing” – Harlem Nights Music