Roland Boutique TR-08 (808)


IMHO, the most interesting feature of both the TR-08 as well as the TR-09 is that they replicated the human interface in all its details. Also, note that the sequencer on the TR-909/TR-09 is completely different than the one on the TR-808/TR-08 in terms of features and interface.


I was curious about this. No TR-09 for me, then. Never much cared for that sound anyway.

In fact, if I throw in an SE-02 into the mix and use the Deluge as the recorder and mastering unit with additional samples, fx and potential ambience to boost, I think I’ve got a nice little setup. The boutiques for composing and building the tracks, the Deluge for finishing them.


I owned the original large Tanzbär for a while and I also had a Tanzmaus before the TR-09 took over its role. I much preferred the build quality and the aesthetics of the Tanzmaus, and I appreciated its compacter size compared to the big Tanzbär.

Since the Tanzbär Lite comes in the exact same case and has the same sequencer controls, I assume this will be the same for that box. You obviously do miss out on some of the features of the bigger one, of course.


It is interesting to try one if you ever have the opportunity, just to see how the interface and the sequencer setup differs. Roland really was a master in coming up with musically interesting human interfaces back then.


They’re not bad now, either. The boutique line is certainly a kind of accomplishment when it comes to just interfacing with music. Suddenly, you’ve got a great electronic rig that runs on batteries and fits in your backpack, interfacing with each other and with straight on recording into the computer to boost. That generates possibilities and ideas.

Though I’m curious to see where the original boutiques are headed. I’d really like to see a sampler in this format, not a revamp of the SP-303 but just the philosophy behind the SE-02 poured into a Roland boutique. You know, like Elektron and Roland teamed up on this one.

But it’s not like I’d mind a boutique SP-303, of course. Not at all.


I’d be interested in a Boutique W-03… :wink:


This interests me - so you prefer the sound of the TR-09 to the tanzmaus?

Looks like nothing short of a Nava will do for me in that case… I was kinda hoping the tanzmaus could pull off 909 duties adequately…


Wouldn’t you want a 909 emulation for that?


Absolutely. The TR-09 is a TR-909 in a smaller box. I always wanted to own a TR-909 and now I finally can afford one.

Don’t get me wrong, the Tanzmaus sounds great and absolutely has the same sonic character and can play the same musical role as a TR-909. It’s also more flexible and can go much further in terms of sound design.

But a TR-909 clone it ain’t; it’s the same thing as with the SH-101 vs. Intellijel Atlantis discussion I had in another thread lately.

It might very well be able to do so for you if you’re looking for a drum machine that can play the same role in a musical context. It won’t do if you want the exact same sound as a TR-909.

And if you’re looking for the same sequencer and human interface, than even the Nava won’t do because it has a completely different sequencer.


Thanks for your thoughts. All I care about is the sound, I want to use an octatrack for sequencing anyway… I am one of those who prefer the elektron sequencers, way more features and nicer usability. There aint no negative shuffle, conditrigs, copypaste/pattn polymetry or microtiming on the og 909, I`d only miss the flams.

I gotta try one of those TR-09s one day… perhaps it handles better than the Tr-8 which I tried but felt it handled too differently to the og units. Not nearly as many sweet spots with the parameters on the Tr-8 IMHO…


You might change your mind once you get one. The TR-909 sequencer most certainly is part of the appeal and the TR-09 has a few interesting tricks that might make it nice to build at least some patterns there and then sample then as loops into the OT.

Compared to the OT, the TR-09 has a more direct way to set accents, globally on specific steps with an adjustable level, as well as individually on the BD, SD, toms, and the closed HH in addition to that.

You can enter “backbeats”, essentially giving you an additional 16 steps each one a half step delayed for a total of 32 steps per pattern. You can very easily change the last step of a pattern during performance. Shuffle is quicker to change because it can be set using the buttons as well as dialed in precisely. You indeed get flam with adjustable spacing, which is also quicker to add than repeats or microtiming adjustments on the Elektron boxes.

Of course it’s not nearly as deep, but it’s slightly different which can be really refreshing and inspirational. No reason to only ever use a single sequencer. :slight_smile:


Yes, I am aware of these things. Have been using an og 909 quite a bit back in the day, although never owned one… I personally do not miss the UI in the slightest. YMMV as usual though!


Hey can anyone answer some questions to help sway my gas for an 08.

  1. Am I correct by saying the cymbal sounds Really crap compared to an 808 ?
  2. Does it output midi notes from the pattern (to sequence another device, like the tr8 does)?
  3. You cant play/sequence eg. low tom and low cnga at the same time, is this how the 808 was like ?
    Has anyone got a drumstation to compare it with. I like mine except wish it had a sequencer. I’m tempted to try and sequence the drumstation with my tr-505, but cant be assed . My Octatracks probably best option, but I’m rambling on now off topic :ram:


Ok, so now I’ve explored the Trigger Out track and used it from the TR-08 into the SH01A.

Dear lord, how awesome this is. A four step pattern within the SH01A can suddenly sustain a beat for I don’t know how long. That you can put trigger tracks on the fills and variations as well, makes it even more fantastic.

I’m seriously starting to love the boutiques now.


Soon you’ll want a TB-03 just as a sequencer for your other boxes.

Also note that all of them still allow note input while their sequencers are tunning…


Nah, that’s never gonna happen. I’ve never been a fan of the TB-03 sound.

I’m more concerned about what’s next. Roland’s really finding their groove with this format. If they’re doing more original work down the line, and the SE-02 is indication of their ambition, I could be in some serious trouble.

And I thought I was cured from the gas.

  1. No idea
  2. Yes it does. I’ll try and find it. There was a video on Reddit synth page of some guy using to sequence a kit on an iPad app. He was using the camera kit midi thing. Presumably it just sends out all note data on one channel starting on C0 or C1 or something.

Edit: Here’s the link for the vid. It was a TR-09 and not a TR-08. But I’m sure it still applies


The fact that the TR-0* boxes also work as MIDI seqs just makes the flam and timing limitations even more frustrating. These could be brilliant tiny battery powered drum sequencers and controllers if they were fleshed out a lil more… Just adding flam for all intruments and negative shuffle would be a big deal.


Yes. You can’t sequence them at the same time, but I think you can trigger them through MIDI.


Well I had to get one :eight::zero::eight: and I’m pretty impressed.
I’ve never used a tr-808 but have grown up listening to many.
I might do a tr-08 vs Novation Drumstation video.