Roland Boutique TR-08 (808)


Nah not what I mean at all. The MIDI sync does not govern the triggering of individual instruments (drum sounds). That is controlled by the sequencer. The master clock of the sequencer is laggy when clocked from an external source. Hardly surprising. There really aren’t that many devices out there that are totally rock solid. And these are no different

The latency over the USB is found when you press play on the machine, the time it takes the audio to appear at the USB outputs has a very large latency. Regardless of whether you are syncing the device internally or externally

What you are referring to is part of the whole ACB thing.


I understand the difference, I was just wondering if you were hearing a delay in triggering the sounds as sync lag. I’ve not tried USB audio into a computer, I always record the outputs.

I don’t think the hit timing on the TR-8 has anything to do with the ACB modelling, really, it’s a timing option that can be turned on and off.


Interesting, I use mine with midi and audio over USB and have no latency or sync problems at all, but I’m using them with the MX-1 and not a computer - could the problem be with the computer?


Still confused about the MX-1. Does it allow mixing and eq of individual channels from the TR-08/9 or is it only getting the main stereo bus over USB from the boutiques? How does one set it up?


The MX-1 takes the stereo bus only. I think the only way to do separate outs over USB with the MX-1 is to go out via Ableton, do the track assignments there, and back in with the MX-1 in DAW/external mixing mode. But you’ll get latency.

I’ve not yet tried taking an assignable out from the TR-8 as an analogue input in combination with the USB audio… that might work… Not possible on the boutiques though.


Thanks. Even though I agree that it’s a shame that the TR-09 only has a single analog stereo output, they’re also sufficiently cheap to consider buying a second one simply to get more outputs… :wink:


Well I have the Rytm, A4 via OB (sync and audio) and the TB-03 over USB (sync and audio)

I’ve tried the TB both on its own and as an aggregate device paired with two different interfaces (MOTU and Focusrite). And tried clocking both ways. TB->Interface and Interface->TB

The aggregate device doesn’t make it any worse or better. It only adds a small amount of latency to what I’d normally be getting from either interface

It doesn’t seem to matter how I try to sync the TB (internally, externally, mid or trigger) the audio over the USB is about a 1/64th note later than audio from OB or any other VSTs I have running

I can’t jam the TB with my other gear unless I monitor the physical outputs.


What exactly is the timing option you mentioned? I’ve not heard of it before. But if it’s there to make them feel “more genuine” then it’s definitely part of the ACB design




In setup mode (switch on while holding PTN SELECT) it’s toggled with pad number 7.

“TR-808 timing” is the default option. In this mode, any drum sounds that are sequenced on the same step are not triggered at exactly the same time. They are triggered one after another - very close to each other, but it does add a bit of movement to the rhythm, depending on how many sounds are sequenced on each step. If you switch it to “precise timing”, all the drum sounds that are sequenced on one step will all trigger at exactly the same time, as you would expect on a modern sequencer.

ACB = Analogue Circuit Behaviour = Roland’s term for modelling the individual components in a circuit in order to more accurately replicate the behaviour of the whole circuit design (supposedly). I don’t think the TR-808 timing option has anything to do with modelling specific circuits, it’s just a bit of code that delays the triggers by a small, specific amount of time.


can anyone with a Roland boutique synth confirm/deny that the sequencer responds to external MIDI start/stop commands via the Elektron boxes?


They definitely respond to start stop commands


Interesting. This is definitely part of ACB behaviour. The sequencer of the 808 was as analogue as the rest of it I’m sure. And here the behaviour of the sequencer has been modelled in code. Albeit optional code if you will. From another post I found about this with a video:

"Innerclock did their litmus on it and found that, by default:

“Even with Swing set at Centre/Zero the Tr-8 has a significant 16th swing - mostly very accurate but pushing and pulling by 50 samples (1.04ms) either way against a straight grid with a slight wobble at the Pattern A/Pattern B transition point.”

They also tested the TR-808 (scroll down on the same page). Roland don’t kid around with emulations:
Internal sync, maximum variation between any two consecutive Sixteenth Event intervals:
TR-808 = 99 Samples [2.06ms]
Tr-8 = 101 Samples [2.10ms]

(External sync is different however: TR-808 gets tighter, Tr-8 remains as is, or worse in one of the cases)"


I was trying to find that video. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I don’t know if it’s considered ACB or not, but it’s there.


The loose clock that the ACB models is quite impressive to me. I used to be obsessed with old sequencers & their different grooves, and I’m a huge fan of humanization algorithms.


I’m eyeing this more closely, and will try one out in the week now, as the dealer’s getting a batch.

I’m looking at creating a micro rig now, with the SH01A and just a drummer to boost, which might be this one or it might be that I’ll return to the Tanzbär (friend’s got one, so I can borrow his for reference).

What I remembered from the Tanzbär, when I had one, was apart from the fact that it sounds awesome, and very much has a character of its own, it’s also a quite versatile tool for sound design. When you put a max decay on the maraccas and triggered it on all steps, you got a noise source, for example. And tuning the toms made for excellent bass tones, as well as high frequency leads and arpeggios. Not to mention the built-in reference tones for actual bass and lead, which could be used to great effect for emphasizing harmonies within the drums. And the implementation of p-locks, I actually prefer before Elektron’s.

But it’s not as direct, not as convenient in size, price and just fleshing out a track, and it doesn’t run on batteries, and while the 808 sound has been used to death, it still sounds spectacular when you place it right.


You might also enjoy the Lite edition.


Really? You tried it? I loved the original Tanzbär and think I might miss a few of its features that I loved. But certainly, what I’m hearing from the Lite version is not bad, not bad at all.


So I picked this up yesterday, and have played with it a few hours. I’m surprised for reasons I wasn’t expecting. Note that I’ve never had my hands on a real 808 or 909, and am not familiar with the workflow of these instruments from before.

I didn’t expect to have to read the manual, just to get a track going. The basic interface remained totally incomprehensible to me, until I’ve read a page or two and got a grip of the basics.

I didn’t expect it to sound so damn good. I was expecting quality, of course. But it really sounds outstanding. There’s so much nuance in this little thing.

I wasn’t expecting such an original sequencer (obviously, since I had trouble figuring it out). But once you get deeper with the relationships between the 1st and 2nd pattern sections, the fills, the sub-triggers and the individual step counts per section in a pattern, there’s a lot of things going on here that spawns new ideas.

Once you get into the interface, it pulls you in. I felt like a mad scientist, pulling all the switches, turning the knobs, tapping away. There’s an oddly compelling balance between it all, where you push, twist and flip things around while the sequencer’s jamming away. It’s not just buttons, or just knobs, or just whatever. It’s the mix of it all. And that also generates ideas.

The sound sculpting’s a bit bleak, until you dive into the menu and find panning, decays, a small compressor on the kick and snare, and stuff like that. While I do miss the Tanzbar p-locks, what the TR-08 has going for it, makes up for it.

It works stupid well with the SH01A, both sonically and in terms of interface. I can def see why Roland’s pairing the two in their communication. With the SH01A in four voice mode and the TR-08 banging away, you’ve got material for hours.

All in all, a very attractive little piece.


Yeah, there’s more to it than meets the eye. On the TR-8 though, most of that is available on the front panel (panning is a shift command in instrument select mode), which is one of the reasons it’s such a good live instrument. You can do a lot with the gated reverb and delay too.

Sorry, I’ll stop going on about the TR-8 now. I do like the look of the -08, for some reason it appeals to me more than the -09 boutique did.