Roland TR-8S - (New TR-8 with user samples and individual outs)


thanks, that clears it up for me


I just got one of these things, any tips or tricks on using/programming it or playing it live? Should I just look up tips for the TR-8 since there doesn’t seem to be much on the TR-8s yet?

I’m not sure how I feel about it, I’m a drummer and used to playing/using the Rytm which the pads and live jamming lend nicely to my style of playing/programming, but step recording is a bit weird for me and the insta play isn’t as fluid or satisfactory as drumming in a rhythm on the rytm! Besides that, I def like it more than the Drumbrute which I found to be rather unreliable, and I appreciate the variance in sound that the TR-8s provides, although it definitely doesn’t replace the need for my rytm (which I may bust out soon if I tire of this).


Use samples.


Been playing with mine for a few weeks now. It’s a fantastic machine. The big difference over the TR-8 for me isn’t even the samples, it’s the per-sound effects and the way that you can use those filters/drive/etc to punch everything up to such a degree. You hardly have to do anything to it afterwards.

Really enjoying just running the Monomachine through it and getting basically finished tracks out of it.


Through the “external in” I guess…


Yes, exactly. A little bit of the master compressor works pretty well too.


Thanks for writing this. I’d love to hear more feedback from owners now that they’ve had a while to learn it and use it. So tempted to upgrade from my TR-8.


Lucky you! I often take advantage of the TR-8 EXT. IN to run the DT through the MX1. Looking forward to try the TR-8S but the units are difficult to find in Northern Europe and remain too expensive for the time being.


You’re welcome, I was a bit surprised there hasn’t been more feedback on here. My concern about upgrading from the TR-8 was that it would be less immediate, more fussy, more complicated, etc, when actually they’ve done a great job of making it just as hands-on and as quick to work with. The screen helps rather than distracts.

The main thing I’m not wild about is the little sound drop out when switching kits (to be precise, when switching between patterns that use different kits), but I don’t think my system software is up to date - I think they’ve improved that, I need to get my act together and update it.


With the TR-8 I usually had the Machinedrum (non-UW) running through it, with the TR-8 main outs then bussed through a distortion (actually a Torcido and into an MX-1 via Aira Link) and the MD bass drum out on a separate channel. The next thing I want to do is sample loads of my MD sounds so I can create the sort of mixed drum tracks in the TR-8S that I was doing with two machines.


Cool. If you have an Octatrack, I really would love for you to try to pair it with your TR-8S. This elektronaut showed us the way, but he only had the TR8 for a couple of days. Now that you have a TR-8S I wonder how far you can push this


I’ve been surprised and puzzled as well at the lack of feedback and good YouTube videos of the TR-8S. I don’t mean Roland demos or technical walkthroughs - those have been pretty good. I guess I mean non-affiliated users just jamming on the TR-8S. I’ve been searching almost weekly for “dub techno” “TR-8S” “jams”, etc. and have not found much at all. I want to see some solid TR-8S jams with guitar pedals used on separate outs and things like that - a real hands-on setup jam. Not sure why there aren’t more on YT. Maybe people are too busy having fun to record anything for us on-the-fence types.

I’m really trying to decide between Digitakt and TR-8S for a little hardware-only jam station away from the computer.

This is exactly my concern as well. I have the TR-8 and really like it for its simplicity. I was worried the TR-8S would be too fussy. I was even thinking about pairing them up. That might be pretty awesome actually. I’d love to have TR-8, TR-8S, and Digitakt sitting in a row, but I’m afraid I can’t justify the cost of having all three. :thinking: Been trying to downsize and be more ITB for most things.

Anyways, thanks again. Hope more TR-8S owners will chime in (and make more vids)! :smiley:


I do have an Octatrack, it’s very under-utilised at the moment though. I sequence all my gear from the Monomachine, and I can do most of the same MIDI stuff the OT can in that regard - apart from conditional trigs, uneven track lengths, and having two fewer MIDI tracks.

In general though, a big part of what I like about the TR-8 is how fast the sequencer is to work with, so I’ve tended not to get too deep into that, but I have played with MIDI CC from the Monomachine - especially LFOs on things like hi-hat decay and velocity. The CC implementation on the TR-8 is really good (it’s always lacked a CC for pattern change though, as does the TR-8S).

The TR-8S does alleviate a lot of the limitations that external sequencing deals with on the TR-8, eg the small number of available patterns, differing track lengths, LFO & motion control, etc., but no doubt the potential for melding crazy Elektron sequencer tricks with the TR-8S sound engine is huge. Would be great to put some time into exploring that specifically.


Thx so much for your feedback. I know I’ll get a TR-8S down the line but I enjoy my TR-8 as it is, sequencer, sounds and all. But the Elektron sequencer adds something really cool to it. Let’s keep in touch and see where this leads.



The TR-8 is one of my favourite drum machines. It’s so much fun and sounds great. The 8S is an excellent upgrade that loses nothing of the immediacy and gains a load more features. But there’s masses you can do with the 8 if you get creative. That KiNK video where he’s jamming with a Rhodes and a looper (triggering the looper from the rimshot track) is fantastic. Also that video where the guy cranks the tempo to max and turns it into a drone machine.


I’ll try and record a few jams. My stuff at the moment is either electro or kind of lo-fi distorted house/techno, so not doing anything too crazy with rhythm or modulation but I like to use external hardware effects (Eventide Space & TimeFactor, Torcido, Bitrazer) so I can show a bit of that. I think for TR-8 owners it would be interesting to see what the internal effects bring to the 8S.


That would be great. No pressure though! I know everybody is busy. You’re right, the internal fx must be a huge part of the TR-8S. I like what I hear so far. I’m a sucker for Tape Delay. Glad they put that in there.

Think there are any internal fx that are lackluster or would be better replaced with Boss pedals and the like? Your Space and TimeFactor are a step up, no?

I’m planning on pairing the TR-8S with things like Zoom 70CDR, Boss DD-7, Boss RV-6, Boss DM-2w, monotron delay, etc. I’m currently wondering if these would be a step up from internal fx, or just give more hands-on fun-factor potential.


I love all those KiNK TR-8 vids! He probably “sold” a ton of these things. He should get free Roland drum machines for life from now on. Wonder why he’s not doing a bunch of TR-8S jams?

If I keep the TR-8 along with a new TR-8S, I’ll have to embrace the cheese and pimp it out with a bunch of colored knobs like KiNK does. Makes it look better, imho.


It’s not so much the delay/reverb send effects that I’m talking about, those are good but not that different to the TR-8 (the tape echo is great though).

What I’m talking about is the per-track INST FX setting. Every instrument channel gets one and they can all be different. There’s filters (LPF, HPF, and LPF/HPF which transitions from one to the other like a DJ filter), high/low EQ boosts, Isolator (which is like a three-band parametric EQ), Transient (which emphasises attack/release), compressor, drive, combined comp & drive, and a bitcrush.

It’s these INST FX that allow you to punch sounds up way beyond the standard TR-8/08/09. And being able to freely assign any sound to any track (just like a Machinedrum :wink: ). That means you can layer bass drums, etc etc.

Aside from all the out-there stuff you can do, the basic kit building is very strong and very flexible.