Roland TR-8S: The Drum Machine from Hell



Roland TR-8S is a drum machine that needs a better book/manual to explain what it does.

I’ve spent a week trying to understand it, but things go wrong, and I’m lost with how to fix it, cause the book just doesn’t show it. There seems to be a Flam, or some Dub step that I can’t get rid of.


I knew I should’ve went with the Alesis SR18…

I just did buy it, it should be here by this coming Tuesday.

It should’ve been my first choice. I’ll have to learn it, and it doesn’t come with a USB hookup, which is why I didn’t go with it.


I bought a used Roland TR-8S for $550 from Guitar Center, and now I know why it was used… so many headaches with the assumptive expectations, and the machine falls far short of the expectations, from watching the many videos on youtube.

It’s a good machine, minus the expectations… the velocity sensitive keys have only two senses…there is a separate sense pad that is more sensitive, the senses need to be on the steps, instead of a separate pad.

It has a lot of good sounds, but I like the real drums, instead of fast tempo sounds of the modern drums… the handclaps are the worst. They sound so phony…anyway, if I knew what to do with it…the demos on what it does, are only trying to sell it with incomplete data, so they inspire expectations… and that’s the trap.

The trap of trying to figure out the minds of the developers, and why they designed it that way…instead of a knob that you turn, you have to menu dive through many menus to do something simple…like pan knobs.

I’m not badmouthing the Roland TR-8S, I just wish Ed Diaz made a tutorial about it, he a good teacher. I understand him, but he specializes in Roland Keyboards. Everyone that teaches about the Roland Drum Machine, is vague and feeds your expectations, instead of your inquisitiveness.

There are a few that made tutorials about the TR-8S that showed me the way,  and what there was with the book, I managed to learn about the complexities with the drum machine.

I still don’t understand why there is no pan knob…I mean you can assign the control knob to pan, but it takes away from the workflow.

I could relate to the person that owned it first… cause he saved me $200, I bought the Roland TR-8S, and now, I bought the Alesis SR18 for $259.  So I got 2 drum machines for the price of a very expensive Roland TR-8S.

I should’ve went with my first choice, the only thing is, I need to figure out hooking it up to a DAW, without a USB hookup.

When I get it, I’ll try to figure it out. I’ll have two drum machines to figure out, but the Alesis is more my speed.

TECHNOLOGY is our Destruction…or blessing… it could be both.


Here is a YouTube playlist of tutorials of the Roland TR-8S, that helped me understand it… it needs a few more knobs and switches to make it more intuitive, rather than the draining menu diving, which stops my workflow.