Roland T-8: A legendary Beat Machine
Roland has made a habit of changing the game, having made their mark on the industry with countless pieces of excellent equipment over their 50 year history. One of their greatest innovations in recent years calls back to the legendary modules of the 80s, making for a “beat machine” that does so much more than its tagline might make you think. The Roland T-8, which blends vintage feel and sound with modern power and versatility, is a more than worthy successor to some of Roland’s finest.
Featuring a full reproduction of the TR-808, TR-909, and TR-606 drum machines, along with the shapeshifting low end of the dynamic TB-303 Bass Line, the T-8 does everything those legendary units can and then some. It builds on the original formula by maintaining the tone and behavior of the 80s classics with Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology while adding plenty of new bells and whistles, and thanks to our good friends at Reverb, we’ve got the scoop on everything this tiny dynamo has to offer.
The T-8 combines drums and bass sounds under one roof, with a step sequencer, 7 instrument tones (bass drums, snare drum, hand clap, tom, closed hat, open hat, and bass), a 7-segment screen (for tweaking settings), and an effects section (delay, reverb, overdrive, and sidechain). While sampling options are limited, the T-8 has plenty of on-board creativity to compensate.
Bass drum, snare, claps & toms all have a level and tune knob; for hats, this is replaced with a decay. The bass section provides plenty of control in its own right with options such as level, cutoff, pitch, reso, decay & envelope modulation. The bottom row of buttons (or an external MIDI keyboard) can be used to play parts live or to record notes, accents, and slides. The T-8 is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which delivers up to 4.5-hours of use on a full charge.
The core of the T-8 is its fantastic 32-step sequencer, which allows you to program different sequence steps for different sounds. Turn the keyboard button on when the bassline is activated to play melodies on the sequencer; design fills, switch between patterns and even add triplets and double notes!
Check out the video below for a complete walkthrough!
The Roland T-8 is available on Reverb; new units retail for $199, while prices and condition for used machines vary. Get yours here:know more
Image credit: Roland (Press)