Today Roland announced its new flagship drum machine, the TR-8S. Succeeding the Aria TR-8, which came out in 2014, the TR-8S brings sound libraries from five classic machines — the 808, 606, 909, 707, and 727 — and expanded performance capabilities, informed mostly, Roland says, by customer feedback over the past several years.

The TR-8S is a rhythm performer, designed with live sets in mind. There is a lot new with this version in comparison to the TR-8, but immediately noticeable is the sleeker and lower profile, along with RGB color faders. The faders can have individually customized brightness, glow, and color, useful for distinguishing sounds or grouping sets of sounds together.

Another essential update: the TR-8S comes with all the sounds from Roland’s iconic 808, 606, 909, 707, and 727, along with additional modified versions. These are not sample packs, but instead use Roland’s Analogue Circuit Behavior (ACB) modeling so that everything “sounds and behaves exactly like the original hardware.”

On the back, there’s stereo and six assignable audio outputs, a dedicated trigger output and trigger track to control external analog gear, a multi-channel audio/MIDI interface, and an SD card slot for importing your own samples and backing up files. If you load in your own samples, the TR-8S allows for a maximum of 600 seconds of 44.1 kHz mono audio, with a per-file limit of 180 seconds. This, combined with the massively enhanced on-board library, means there is not only a wealth of sounds immediately available, but it’s effortless to add your own to really personalize the hardware.

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