Steffi gets the groove going on the Roland TR-8S

If you still have not decided whether to go for Roland’s new drum / rhythm machine, we are pretty sure you will be convince after watching this video with Steffi. No talk, no commercial bullshit just pure awesome rhythms.

Dutch-born Steffi is a major force in contemporary electronic music, and by the way did we mention her devotion to hardware. In other words the perfect artist to try out what Roland’s latest release is truly capable of. Watch her live performance as she brings some of the sounds of Ostgut Ton and Panorama Bar to the Roland AIRA TR-8S.

Considering the magnificent assortment of miscellaneous musical hardware components that fills the room, it becomes clear quite how much effort any project will entail. Steffi said in a recent interview: “It’s a lot [of work],” says Steffi as she looks around to take it all in. “This is my cockpit, and there is so much to be done because I have two albums, some remixes and a load of singles to choose from,” she adds. “And I always have to see what works live, because not all tracks will work well in this format. I just have to prepare all the material.”

The TR-8S is essentially a “greatest hits” of past Roland drum machines, bringing nearly all of the iconic TR drum sounds into one box. This includes recreations of the 808, 909, 707, 727, and 606, along with several modified versions of those machines. There’s a ton of additional onboard sound content, and the machine is equipped with an SD card slot for importing both mono and stereo user samples.

For us it is truly impressive how the TR-8S really sounds like an 808 or 909, there are basically no compromises on the sound.

How Roland has managed to pull this off is impressive and when trying to find out how you basically get this statement from the company:
“it’s ACB [Analogue Circuit Behaviour] modelling, entirely new technology we have not used elsewhere. There are no samples.” ACB faithfully captures the sound and feel of some our most revered classics, using original design specs, consultation with original engineers, and a detailed, part-by-part analysis of each analogue circuit in our own pristine units.

ACB is drastically different from conventional methods of modelling, and reproduces each analogue component by thoroughly analysing each detail of the original design drawings. By combining the analysed components in exactly the same manner as the original analogue components, detailed characteristics of the original musical instruments emerge and can be reproduced completely.

This analysis requires knowledge of the design and development processes of the original analogue instruments. It is not possible to reproduce the original sounds just by logically analysing the analogue circuits. This is because the original engineers used a design approach which maximized the capabilities of the analogue components. Throughout the development of ACB, we cooperated with the original engineers who designed and developed these iconic instruments. With their expertise, we could ensure that we fully reproduced the ideal state of their creations.

Utilizing the enormous calculation power of state-of-the-art DSP, ACB not only precisely emulates the analogue-specific characteristics or our classic gear, but also delves into areas the original engineers tried to go but ultimately abandoned.

We, of course, realize that there will always be those for whom only analogue is acceptable, whether because of an innate desire to melt solder and transform or because of pure stubbornness. Fortunately, for the vast majority, a drum machine is about having instant control over the right sounds. The TR-8S ticks those boxes with a fat, wide felt‑tip!