Behringer RD808


The static sample thing does do my head in a bit. I used to set up round robins on my MPC but unless I’m making jazzy sample based stuff I don’t tend to bother any more very often. Usually just humanise and mess with velocities. I think it’s the sort of thing that bothers music makers more than listeners Never really considered round robins that way with OT, good tip. gotta say you’ve got me more interested in this though, it is pretty cheap as far as gear goes. Haven’t had anything knob per function in a while


what’s the problem with the envelopes?


So yeah, a Sweetwater rep emailed me and said that you can’t automate the tuning of the bass drum in stand alone… That’s definitely a strike against this thing…


I don’t want to derail the thread to another tangent too much, so I’ll try to tie in the RD808 at the end.

But yea, I hadn’t thought about the OT doing round robin in this way either, until I found this free TR-606 sample pack for Ableton.
It uses single shot samples, but made a Drum Rack with multi-sampled Simpler/Sampler patches with them and employs an Ableton Live “Random” MIDI device with the same amount of choices as there are samples in a given Simpler patch. So a random LFO on an OT sample chain can do the same.

I only find the need for round robin, or an analog drum machine when I am using straight 16th notes on anything, which is usually high hats as I am philosophically opposed to the formula of snare drum roll/builds. P-locking the attack helps mimic the analog envelope behavior a little, so does a small amount of micro timing .
If it is a non round robin sample drum rack in Live, I’ll M4L LFO filter, attack, and even saturation.
Another spot that round robin is handy is when you are layering claps and snares on the same steps. A little nudging helps here also.

So all of this makes me wonder… what kind of Humanization features does the RD808 have? If anyone who has watched all the videos that might remember could chime in? I don’t have the time to dig through the videos to find such details (wish they’d post some specs or a manual already)


I certainly feel this way. I think if your melodies, bassline, arrangement, and all that other foundation stuff is taken care of, then it’s fun to dive into all the little analog behavior minutiae, or going to extreme lengths to humanize sequenced samples (which I do most of the time), but analog vs. samples, or even vst, ain’t exactly make or break for our listeners, if we’re honest with ourselves. imho.

Still, it’s kind of like pro athletes doing perf enhancing drugs. Maybe true analog behavior is that last little 2-3% might give an advantage over someone/something else, or perk up a listeners ear just a tiny bit more.

I’ll admit, for me, owning hardware and analog gear is just fun, not necessary at all, and feels like a visceral link to music history and songs and artists that have inspired me in the past and sent me on this crazy 20+ year journey.

Do I need that RD-808 to write a decent song? Nah. But seeing that chunk of metal on the desk, hearing those classic 808 sounds, getting a vibe going, might give an extra 3% more inspiration over my usual 808 kit in Ableton. For $299, I might have a few jams, make a couple EP’s, then sell. Okay, I’ve talked myself into it. Damn.


I wonder if Behringer copied the sequencer behaviour of the 808 or not, I know that Roland did on the TR-08 because it is key to getting the right feel, not sure if they did it on the TR-8/TR-8s.

The impulse length for the trigger is quite critical, and fairly easy to scope out and replicate, but the behaviour of multiple simultaneous triggers would be a bit more challenging to emulate as it requires emulation of the way that the old NEC microprocessor in the 808 handles these events, it simultaneously triggers them based on the rising edge of the master tempo clock, meaning that effectively any sounds required to sound are triggered at exactly the same time from the master clock not the individual microprocessor pins.

Most modern analog drum machines work by sending the triggers directly from the individual pins of the microcontroller, often using bit masking or other techniques to try to ensure that any triggers on the same step are simultaneous, with varying degrees of success depending on what else the microcontroller is doing, and various other factors.

I think this technique used in the 808 accounts for a big part of its feel and sound, so it will be interesting to see if they went to the trouble or not.


It is not only fun, but it is where the distinctions are made.
Idiosyncrasies are all throughout distinctive music.

Distinctions that contributed to an artist’s sound:
Prince pitching a snare or clap on the LM-1 sounds different than trying to do it with something else.
Aril Brikha’s filter modulation that used the MPE of the Ensoniq SQ-80.
808 snare accent on Plastikman’s Spastik.

Techniques can also be distinctive. Like how ADULT. would work to remove any human characteristics from their instrumental arrangements.

All of these characteristics, when combined with other aspects of the instruments, contribute to a unique sound.

I think there is a lot of value in digging in and discovering what one box can do that no other can. Guitarists are on the same hunt, but for a unique tone, with various pedal configs.

It’d be great if the RD808 has something distinctive.
I think the AR’s use of samples along with analog filters and VCAs give it a unique sound.


Sure, I agree with all that you’ve written. I think I was just pointing out a rather self-evident point in fact, so I probably shouldn’t have said anything at all - that worrying about 808 samples vs. 808 analog is icing. But hey, icing is delicious!


and I wasn’t disagreeing with you , either, only expanding. :slight_smile:


At the moment for most analog drum sounds I prefer samples, but it can change to just using analog drum machines (or digital) depending on what I’m doing, and then other times I might go through a phase of using loops from drum machines. The Octatrack is pretty amazing for working with samples and I think it lends itself well to working in a number of ways, like chains, sample locks and slices of loops, and then of course the realtime fun from invoking the scenes and crossfader.


On one of the Moot Boxie videos from NAMM he says that you can automate via midi cc, which I was surprised about.

I imagine it’ll be one of the only sound sculpting parameter that is accessible via midi as they are making a point of saying you can make basslines with it (Rather than sample and use a sampler to play chromatically).


Exactly this - recording and chopping up DIY analog / acoustic drumloops! Something I’d love to do more often going forward.

But its not just the electronic music people that obsess over dynamic drumsound - the biggest complaint from my brother (who used to be a metalhead) wrt electronic music was “the drums sound too static and dull”… some Rockers seem to hate the robotic oneshot drum sample sound :nyan:


This may put a wrinkle into Behringers planned release of the 808 next month.

You can trademark the look. I don’t think you can trademark the sound. (Harley Davidson tried; though i’m not sure if that would be the same thiing.) Don’t know if Roland might have any (enforcable) patents on the 808 either.

I guess the look trademark would also apply to software versions of the 808 that looks like an 808. (Any IP lawyers out there reading this?)

ADDED: I see there was a thread created for this:


I friend of me, a drumer, use to make fun of me when we were playing together, acting like he was a drum machine, but i never told him he actually sounds like an human trying to be funny and not like a drummachine.


This is exactly why Propellorheads pulled their Rebirth RB-338 from the App Store in 2017.


How do you guys think Behringer will act after this? Will they release it and risk a lawsuit or will they back off and don’t release it? Or will they just change the look of it?


The story of my teenage years in rural Scotland being the only chap who was excited by this fancy-dan new rave sound that was emerging… Anyway, maybe it says something about me that some of my favourite rock stuff is Big Black and Godflesh (especially the early stuff done with an HR16)…


A ‘registered’ trademark is a legal phrase meaning that the trademark has been applied for - the article isn’t clear on whether the trademark has actually been granted. In theory Behringer (or anyone else) could challenge the application (i.e. object to the registration), or challenge the trademark in court if Roland attempt to enforce it once granted.

IMO Roland might have a tricky time registering the application (or enforcing a registered trademark) given the amount of time they’ve taken to register. If they’d taken out trademarks in the 1980s the story might be different, but as there’s been innumerable clones on the market (software like Rebirth in the 1990s and Pulse Code’s Boom 808 and 909 in the 2010’s; hardware like Cyclone and the numerous x0xb0x units), it could be argued that these clones have ‘diluted’ the ‘distinctiveness’ of the trademarks Roland is applying for (or attempting to enforce), making them ‘generic’ enough to be unenforceable.

Regardless, there’s a lot of money at stake so it will be very interesting to see Behringer’s reaction. Both companies have prior form - Roland sued Beheringer over the design of their stomp boxes which used similar colours and layout to Boss stomp pedals. They ended up settling:


From what I understand, they may be able to avoid the (would be) trademark infringement by simply changing the color layout of the 16 step buttons.
Maybe Acidlab Miami style 2 color, or all one color.

Like @switchmode said, it’s gonna be interesting…


Thanks for your answers @Switchmode and @AdamJay I’ve thought of this long before Roland made this move and thought that how can these companies that have made the original products just let Behringer clone their products without any argument. But it seems harder for companies to protect old products than I thought.

Personally, I hope that Behringer can release every clone they have announced because I think they are doing an amazing job at giving us accurate synth clones and drum machines for amazing prices. And I am happy to hear that that Rolands move should not be a problem for Behringer in releasing their 808 clone if they just change some of its appearance. But who knows, it’s going to be really interesting to follow this!