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.