Roland Boutique TR-08 (808)


Are the TR-08 and -09 pretty similar, feature-wise, and the interface/workflow? Do you have a preference (assuming you still have the -09) ? Did they make any improvements on the workflow with the -08? Better features? What are your thoughts, generally, regarding the two drum machines?


I still have the 09. I think the Boutique workflows keep getting streamlined with each new box. So the 08, in my opinion, is pretty easy to use and navigate compared to say the JP08. I’m thinking things like copy/paste, triplets, etc.

I enjoy both of them. They’re fun to use. Makes me feel like I’m in the 80s


Is the menu-diving all that different between the two? Does the TR-08 have any features that make it substantially better/easier/more fun to use?


Both the TR-09 and TR-08 are pretty much exact replicas of the TR-909 and TR-808 in terms of controls and features, both with a few voice control parameters added that you can change by diving into the menu.

This means that the TR-09 and TR-08 are just as similar and different from each other as the TR-909 and TR-808 are similar and different from each other.



Depends on whether you think the TR-808 is substantially better/easier/more fun to use than the TR-909! :slight_smile:


I was wondering about their play-ability, similarities and differences, as two similar, successive Roland boutique drum machines… besides the obvious distinctive characteristics of the originals. Curious if they improved / streamlined the UI with the -08, made it easier to navigate / learn / play, as they’re roughly similar interfaces? Thanks for the (edit: patronising?) response…


Sorry, I don’t understand your question. If you want something modern that’s as easy to navigate, learn, and play as possible, and that behaves in a consistent way, then you should consider the TR-8.

There are a lot of differences between the TR-808 and TR-909 in terms of how you operate them, in the features they provide, and in the way their sequencers work. Of course there are also a lot of similarities, but a lot of the details are different.

These differences translate directly to the TR-08 and TR-09. The stuff that has been added to the originals is consistent between the TR-08 and TR-09, but very little has been added, so that’s not really relevant.

Both are extremely playable and a ton of fun, just like both of the originals.


The TR-08 has much more menudiving options than the TR-09. You can adjust the pitch and decay of almost all sounds, unlike on the TR-09, where you can adjust those settings only on some sounds (rim/clap/hats/cymbals)

As for the workflows, they are somewhat similar but differ from each other. To get a feel how they work, I recommend checking youtube videos that show how the og units work.

I’d say the 808 is more ”jammable” out of the two as far as workflow is concerned, with the A/B selector and ffills… The song mode on both is a bit esoteric IMO, haven’t dived in (mostly because I intend to seq with my OT for more complex/elaborate programming as then I can also automate the params)


The Boutique branch of the Roland forums is a bit of a ghost town so just wondering if anyone here knows: In Pattern Write mode, is it normal behaviour for the active / triggered steps for a particular instrument to be illuminated only when the sequence is playing?

Could have sworn they lit up as I originally entered them step by step (without the sequencer runnjng).

Only had it for a week but on the latest OS and scoured the manual (and the original 808 one, too) in vain for something definitive about this.


In Pattern Write mode, if the sequencer is not playing, the trigs (steps) change the pattern. The sequencer has to be running in order to see what trigs have been placed.

Maybe someone else can help me. How do you write your own custom Intros and Fills

I’ve only been able to access what seems like pre-programmed fills thus far

Anyone any tips on this?


In pattern write mode, select the fill # you want to edit (while stoped).
Also there is a “909” mode in the sub menu that might change how the sequence recording works (I havnt tried it, I will later).


Does it have what all modern drum machines should have: the ability to trigger patterns from MIDI notes or program changes, in sync with an external sequencer?




I guess if its MIDI sync timing sucks then that feature would be useless anyway.


Midi timing seems rock solid to me. Maybe others have timing issues or I’m not noticing…

There is an issue with the start/stop when an external sequencer has a count-in. Google search: count-in akai roland boutique


There is a massive latency using the usb outs for audio. The midi sync is usable. It could definitely be tighter. It’s a shame it doesn’t have Trigger input like the TB. Trigger is far tighter than midi. Although you do have to manually reset the sequencer that way


Thanks. I could have sworn I originally entered the steps while the sequencer was stopped but I must be mistaken.


Nice one. Got it now. Thanks


One thing that I don’t understand… no option for an external power supply? I gotta use batteries indefinitely, cuz I’m sure as hell not plugging this thing into a computer. Anybody want to buy a brand new TR-09 (I got it last Monday) ?? $275 plus shipping (US only)


Any USB power supply or powered hub will work fine.