Looking for something a drum machine that could be used in conjunction with my modular setup for playing remotely. I purposely didn't do any drums in my Rackbrute 6U (yeah its too small to do any drums anyway).

Looking at the Roland TR-8S and wondered if anybody had any better suggestions in that same price range. TR-8S looks like it has a lot of cool ins/outs that could be used with a modular setup...and it sounds like it can do track out so if I wanted to I could route individual drums to my DAW (Ableton). Only thing that concerns me is that there are a lot of TR-8S for sale...maybe they found something I haven't read about yet.

Thanks for any other suggestions...

JB


I’d say the TR8S is the best drum machine available. If I didn’t already have an RD8 and some modular drums, I would buy one in a heartbeat.
Have fun and good luck!


The TR-8S was on my studio refit list for a hot minute...but it got dropped. I didn't like the sound; I thought it lacked the impact of the original Rolands. TBH, "you-know-who" probably puts out the better techno machines at this point, as they're voiced with analog circuits and/or the mid-fi internal sample playback of the 909. However, the RD-8 mkii fixes some of the level matching issues that were on the first version; I'll be watching to see if they nail the RD-9, although there's already one serious stumble in the "save" function for patterns...something which Roland NEVER had on the TR-909. They'd better be working on a fix for that!


The TR-8S was on my studio refit list for a hot minute...but it got dropped. I didn't like the sound; I thought it lacked the impact of the original Rolands.

Aside from your issue with the lack of ‘true’ Roland sound, how do you feel about it’s capabilities to integrate with a modular setup?

TBH, "you-know-who" probably puts out the better techno machines at this point

Any particular model you would reference?

JB


Aside from your issue with the lack of ‘true’ Roland sound, how do you feel about it’s capabilities to integrate with a modular setup?

-- jb61264

Integration with modular seems good to me. You have multiple assignable trigger outs as well as individual outs per channel to externally process your drum sounds. I think the stock sounds are pretty darn good, but you will probably want to process them externally either way. I think you might be able to run your external synths through the TR8S's onboard effects too, but don't quote me on that. You also get an FM synth, sample playback capabilities, and a refined live performance tool with decades of Roland's experience designing X0X interfaces.
The more I think about it, the more I want one. Haha


The more I think about it, the more I want one. Haha

You mentioned you have an RD-8...are you considering the RD-9? What advantages do you see with the TR-8S over the RD-9? Some things you're not happy with on the RD-8 that would push you away from the RD-9?

JB


With the RD8 and RD9, you are getting a much more limited set of internal sounds. I love the sound of an 808 and the RD8 sounds awesome, but I still need to process individual sounds externally. The TR8S has extremely reasonable approximations of all the classic Roland drum machines as well as sample playback capability.
I bought the RD8 mainly as a performance tool, to use the 3 trigger outs to interface with my modular. I have some decent 909 sounds in the Pique and FX Aid XL module, as well as the Blck_Noir, Crucible, and Basimilus Iteritas Alter. I don't really need the RD9. I can't say I'm unhappy with anything the RD8 offers at the price.


Save for one issue: outputs.

The original Roland units had per-instrument outputs along with some trigger outs. The TR-8S doesn't offer these, instead going with a stem-like approach with three assignable output pairs. While this might seem convenient, the fact is that having the individual outputs offers MORE leeway in sound design, which both the RD-8 and 9 have. With that, it's possible to separately process each individual output if desired.


I have some decent 909 sounds in the Pique and FX Aid XL module, as well as the Blck_Noir, Crucible, and Basimilus Iteritas Alter. I don't really need the RD9. I can't say I'm unhappy with anything the RD8 offers at the price.
-- farkas

Ahh, I forgot that you can upload different stuff to FX Aid XL...need to explore that a little bit more. I've seen a lot of talk about BIA...is it something that produces more bass/kick type of sounds?

JB


The original Roland units had per-instrument outputs along with some trigger outs. The TR-8S doesn't offer these, instead going with a stem-like approach with three assignable output pairs. While this might seem convenient, the fact is that having the individual outputs offers MORE leeway in sound design, which both the RD-8 and 9 have. With that, it's possible to separately process each individual output if desired.
-- Lugia

I noticed that when looking at the RD-9 page that it has an out for each drum sound...I need to read up on the 'stem like' approach of the TR-8S...may be good enough for my amateur ass at this point ;)

JB


The BIA is wild. It can do all sorts of different percussion, bass, and lead sounds. It's got a modern digital/FM kind of flavor, so I have to work to get it to fit into the analog sounds I usually focus on. Definitely check out some demo videos.


Suggest you check out some of the Akai MPC lineup. For example MPCX is built to fit in nice with other gear, including 8 configurable CV/Gate outputs, so it can be a hub for other stuff including your modular. Plus its a killer groovebox+


I have not found a portable drum machine that really sounds as good as modular drums. A friend loaned me his Elektron Rytm MK2 and while it sounds ok and has many nice features not quite the same. I say invest in one drum voice like VPME Quad Drum or Endorphin.es Queen of Pentacles and be done with it. That is my plan for my mobile Doepfer 6u case. Now for modular drums, I love running my Jomox bass drum module through Hexinverter Mutant Hot glue with distortion and compression. Hands down best kick drum bass sound ever!


+1 to sacguy71's point that modular drums sound pretty damn good. I DO own several of the nicer "groovebox" hardware pieces. I kind of always love some parts and hate others--I generally like the sounds, but don't like the sequencers or internal song data structure...

In the last few months I decided to go ahead and jump into Eurorack percussion. YES it is expensive and takes up HP in a rack. BUT I get to use my favorite sequencers AND the sounds are very good. Tiptop's versions of 808/909 I think are very strong and also decently priced per unit. THOSE things give me the kind of bouncy electronica percussion sounds I've been looking for yet never achieved with other stuff including loads of software.

The Jomox bass drum just recently arrived for me, I have yet to get it plugged in and tried out. I heard so many people praise it, I decided to give it a swing, as a strong yet versatile kick is very important in my setup.

Save to say, there's a bunch of good options in Eurorack. Furthermore if all one needs is kick snare hat, that is not too spendy on $s or HP. Worth a thought...


I may not be one to ask, because I chose Erica’s Techno System for my drum machine ; ) It is really worth it for what it does, and it is a joy to play. What it does NOT do is set and forget. It’s much more its own instrument/mini studio. That said, I’ve thought hard about getting Queen of Pentacles or Quad Drum Voice to add to my regular rack, leaning towards the latter because of its size and convenience. I also have a TR-8S which I love but don’t integrate with my modular unless it’s going into a sampler.


Curiously, no one mentions Dfam. It's an amazing machine, solo or in conjunction with a modular.
Here, a performance among dozens of others on YT.


+1 on DFAM and I recently bought one and love it. For my mobile modular rig my plan is to use my Make Noise Shared System once it arrives with DFAM and 1010 Music Bluebox mixer/recorder. That will be all that is needed for live jams and sessions at clubs for me and not hard to carry around.


Curiously, no one mentions Dfam. It's an amazing machine, solo or in conjunction with a modular.
Here, a performance among dozens of others on YT.

-- Sweelinck

My son just got a DFAM so I might have to give it a try sometime when he is not using it.

JB


DFAM is really cool and can do more than just drums. It’s really a complete stand alone synth voice that is modular.


DFAM was my first purchase when I got back into making music a few years ago. It's definitely a fun, quick, groovy idea machine though a bit limited when it comes to traditional drum sounds. I ended up selling it to fund a polysynth, but recently realized that I've been subconsciously rebuilding it much more expensively in my rack. Haha
I'd say it's a modern classic if you aren't hoping for 808/909 sounds and workflow.