The legendary Roland TR808 has a lot of clones, copies and pretenders. It’s everywhere, you can’t buy a software drum machine without a TR808 sample set thrown in. But this kind of over exposure doesn’t worry French manufacturers 8raw8 who want to build you an uncompromising TR808 clone lovingly by hand.
TR808 in sound but not in looks
It doesn’t look a whole lot like a Roland TR808. In fact it looks nothing like it but that’s OK as long as the functionality is there. Although the one main glaring omission is the lack of sequencer pads. That’s because it’s not a drum machine – it’s an “Expander”. The 8raw8 is a hardware box of terribly authentic analog sounds. If you want it to play you have to connect it up via MIDI to a computer or other MIDI sequencing device.
The 8raw8 features 11 analog drum voices with accent with a separate output for each and a master output. There’s ultra fast MIDI processing, an aluminium chassis, and Moog style knobs on quality Alpha pots. It’s built with “Through Hole” electronic components which I guess is a feature in that it’s easier to modify than a surface mount design. And they include two modifications beyond the original in BassDrum tuning and a HandClap VCA.
On the MIDI side each voice is triggered via a MIDI note and another triggers the accent. There’s no velocity data as that wasn’t present on the original and is exactly what the accent is for.
8raw8 are selling these boxes for €599 and considering they are built by hand, and that TR808’s go for about £2500 second hand, then it’s a bit of a bargain. The website misleadingly says they are out of stock but as they are built to order I wouldn’t let that put you off.
More information on the 8raw8 can be found here.