TR-8S and TR-6S owners rejoice. New firmware includes an ACB emulation of the CR-78 and a new instrument made from pitched 808 booms. And they’re free!
Roland TR-8S and TR-6S Firmware Update
Hardware firmware updates are the gift that keeps on giving. It’s so great when manufacturers continue to add new features throughout a product’s lifespan, like with Novation’s Bass Station II or the MiniFreak and MicroFreak from Arturia. Roland’s TR series of Rhythm Performers, the TR-8S and TR-6S, also periodically get new functionality, like the FM drum engine from a few years back.
The latest firmware updates arrive today with not one but two new instruments, and they’re both fairly substantial. Firmware 3 for the Roland TR-8S and firmware 2 for TR-6S include an ACB model of the CR-78 drum machine as well as a TR-808 Chromatic Bass instrument for playing pitched 808 booms. Trap and drill producers, are you listening? And the best part is the updates are free.
The first of the two new instruments, the CR-78, is an ACB (Analog Circuit Behavior) model of the 1978 drum machine, CR-78 CompuRhythm. The world’s first mass-produced programmable drum machine, it had presets like Rock, Disco and Bossa Nova, and—if you had the WS-1 programmer module—you could make your own beats. It was extremely popular, appearing on records by Blondie, Phil Collins and Hall & Oates, and was a precursor to the TR-808. It’s charming and disco-tastic.
The version in the new firmware includes every sound in the original drum machine and nearly all of the presets. It also has new patterns and “advanced sound design capabilities made possible with the modern ACB approach,” according to Roland. I’m a big fan of the CR-78 so I’m excited to hear how it sounds in my Roland TR-8S.
TR-808 Chromatic Bass
The other new instrument, TR-808 Chromatic Bass, allows users to create pitched basslines with the 808 boom in their Roland TR-8S and TR-6S. This is a common trick in trap, drill, Miami bass and countless other genres.
The update package also includes a revamp of the free TR-EDITOR for macOS and Windows. “The latest version includes a compact UI option that frees up screen space for using the editor along with other applications on small computer displays,” says Roland.
If you already own a TR-8S or TR-6S, head over to Roland to download the new firmware and editor. If you haven’t bought one yet now might be a good time, especially if you do trap or drill. Or 1970s disco.
Roland TR-6S Rhythm Performer B-Stock
- Roland TR-8S and CR-78: Roland
- Roland CR-78: Roland