The pursuit of perfection and authenticity has brought 4 black buttons to the RD-8 MKII and a lot of redesigning under the hood.
Update 25/3/22: Back in stock at Thomann.
Originally published 28/6/21
I’m pretty sure the original RD-8 was supposed to be the most authentic version of the TR-808 ever produced but apparently, there’s always room for improvement. Behringer has announced the RD-8 MKII and other than replacing the 4 white buttons with 4 black buttons you’d be hard pushed to spot any differences between this and the original.
Behringer says the differences are in the components and the new RD-8 has been re-designed from the ground up to dramatically improve the sound of the voices as well as the noise and phase response across both the main and individual outputs.
The most important development is the recreation of the 40-year-old BA662 chip with Coolaudio. It’s this chip that provides the most authentic sound generation and it wasn’t in the original RD-8.
What else is different is hard to say but you have to assume that they took on board the criticism of users and went back to the drawing board to make the RD-8 sound better. I thought the RD-8 sounded pretty decent in the first place. I am slightly disappointed that they didn’t take the opportunity to bolt in some extras like effects or different filter types, something to make a MKII an attractive upgrade for more than just a slightly more authentic than the previously authentic sound.
The RD-8 MKII will directly replace the RD-8 for $329 and is shipping now. Will it be worth the upgrade for current RD-8 owners? Difficult to say. I mean the video of the new one sounds a lot like an 808 but so did the video for the other one. It’s going to require a bit of an independent side-by-side comparison. But it won’t matter for long because the RD-8 MKII will be the only one available. I’m going to hang on to my RD-8 for its authentic Behringer sound.