We’ll kick off with the most influential drum machine in the history of music, or rather a tribute to that machine. Behringer has done the one thing people kept asking Roland to do: re-release a genuine 808 drum machine.
Roland attempted it with their TR-08 Boutique but it was small and fiddly and was actually a digital model of analog sound which sounded great but seemed to miss the mark. Behringer decided to do it right with a full-sized, fully analog drum machine recreating the original TR-808 sound and workflow while making a few tweaks of their own.
The RD-808 features all the same 12 tracks and 16 drums sounds as the original with the familiar layout, tuning and level knobs. But Behringer has added a few features that bring it up to date. There’s a completely variable swing, flam per note and per voice, some randomization factors and a dedicated tuning knob for the kick drum so you can use it as a bass line over MIDI. Of course, MIDI and USB-MIDI is implemented throughout.
The new Wave Designer section offers control over transients and the shaping of attack and sustain and a highpass/lowpass filter that each instrument can be sent to individually. On the back are individual outputs on 1/4″ jacks and 3 trigger outputs to control other modular gear.
The sequencing workflow has been improved and simplified in line with how step sequencing has evolved and now the 808 is much easier to get started with.
Behringer has produced exactly what everyone has been asking for while giving it a modern spin and a ridiculously low price of $299. The original was $1195 and second-hand examples can go for much more than that.
Street Price: $389