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Rating and Reviews: Roland TR-8 AIRA

Get the sound of the TR-808 and TR-909 in one drum machine! Build beats with the 32-step sequencer and TR-REC mode -- then add on-the-fly glitches and fills.

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"retro drum machine from the future." submitted May 9, 2014

Brandon from zZounds
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Musical Background: Guitarist. 10 years experience playing, 4 years teaching lessons.
Music Style: Metal, Prog, Industrial, Experimental, Noise, Rock, Blues
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Overall: Roland has really bought back the original feel and sound of the 808 and 909 drum machines in a modern instrument. The new features and controls are overall smoother and straightforward than its namesake predecessor. Each knob and fader moves smoothly and really gives you a realistic analog feel and response when moving them in real time while the drum patterns are playing. Recording parts while it plays makes it feel like a real performance tool instead of a run of the mill drum machine. The bright lights flashing in the dark make you feel like your using a retro machine from the future. I gave it a full run through with a short performance I recorded. I utilized the Scatter function (which is probably the coolest function of this device) to create noise and ambience. Also, playing over the pattern I selected, I was able to change the drum set of sounds and instruments while it was playing. Then using the depth and scatter functions I was basically talking to Aliens. Overall, I would recommend this product to anyone looking for a new production tool for industrial, electronic, noise, rap, etc. Roland wins again. (I had no issues with the device/no reason to contact Roland but I hear good things about their service)
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"Smart Machine" submitted June 29, 2014

By Johnny P in Semmes, AL
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Musical Background: I am Pianonut.
Music Style: All music.... I like pop and Rock.
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Overall: This is for someone that likes music. If you like to create music, this is the machine for you.
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"Missed Opportunity" submitted July 9, 2014

By Fossil Man in Lowell, MA
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Musical Background: 30 years of production
Music Style: electronic
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Overall: Although the concept is great, the execution is poor. The build quality, look and feel are great, but there's so much missing, that it doesn't really matter. Where are the separate outputs for individual drums, like the original machines had? This was one of the most important features, so you could process each drum as needed, either while tracking or mixing. And where is a Trigger Output? That was also on the original machines, and is essential for interfacing with other analog synths. Without these features, this thing is really no better than the software emulations, which are super cheep and more useful in today's DAW workflow. So if you're just looking for the "sound" of 808s and 909s, then that's where to go. It's a real mystery how Roland could leave these features out.
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