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Happy #808Day: Roland Unveils 3 New Recreations of Its Influential Legacy

August 7, 2017

For now and for the foreseeable future, Roland seems committed to making a splash on August 8, also now known as 808 Day, as it has done in the recent past. Similar to the prior 808 Days (as well as 909 Day on September 9), Roland has continued to expand on its Boutique series of Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) digital recreations and modernizations of Roland analog classics, as well as the AIRA live performance modules.

Roland’s three new announcements for today include:
Roland Boutique TR-08 Rhythm Composer drum machine
Roland Boutique SH-01A polyphonic synthesizer
Roland AIRA SP-404A compact linear wave performance sampler

Apropos of 808 Day, Roland finally brings its Boutique Series recreation of the original TR-808 drum machine to light, the TR-08 Rhythm Composer. Its scaled-down interface includes all the buttons, knobs, and switches from the TR-808, but with new enhancements like a sequencer with 16 sub-steps per step, facilitating more intricate snare and hi-hat rolls. A track-selectable trigger out can control external instruments and modular gear. An LED display enables finer control of tempo and shuffle.


The new SH-01A recreates the sound and all the interface controls of the original SH-101 monosynth. However, the SH-01A offers four voices, available stacked in Unison mode, separately in Poly mode, or also in Chord mode. Other modern enhancements include 64 patch memories for storing sounds, a sequencer that adds the ability to save and recall 64 sequence patterns to control modular synths, hardware modules, and software plug-ins via CV/Gate, MIDI, and USB via the sequencer.

Like all Roland Boutique modules, the TR-08 and SH-01A are portable, run on USB bus power or batteries, include a built-in speaker, and use Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) to reproduce the sonic details and quirks of the original instruments, modeling each analog circuit right down to the component level. The SH-01A can be mounted in the optional K-25m Keyboard Unit with 25 velocity-sensitive keys.

The SP-404A contains all the functions and features of the popular SP-404SX, including 16-bit linear sampling, 29 onboard DSP effects, smooth FX switching, 12 performance pads, and onboard pattern sequencer. But it also works intimately with the Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer, which can trigger the SP-404A via MIDI. Each of the TR-8’s 11 tracks can trigger a sample on the SP-404A, play a TR-8 sound, or both, and the TR-8 can also be an audio sub-mixer and processor for the SP-404A, using the TR-8’s Scatter feature and per-step Side Chain.

The SP-404A also comes with an SD card loaded with samples that are meant to both complement the sounds of the TR-8 and to work well on their own.

Pricing and availability for Roland’s three new products were not yet released at the time of publication.

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