New TR-606 Drumatix expansion for Roland’s Aira TR-8?
When the Aira TR-8 Rhythm Performer shipped in 2014, it soon managed to scatter most of the scepticism about the quality of its modelled TR-808 and TR-909 sounds. Most of us had probably hoped for a “real” analogue reissue of those classic drum machines, but Roland prove that their “Analog Circuit Behaviour” technology (ACB) is quite capable of producing the “Oomph” and power associated with the legends. Consequently, the TR-8 developed into a seller and established itself as a tool of choice for beat making, not least due to its intuitive “old school” programming and the attractive price tag. But of course, we always want more…
In December 2014 Roland followed up with a “7X7 Expansion”, adding the sounds of their sample-based TR-707 and TR-727 drum machines from the 80s, along with a couple of new flavours like a 909-inspired techno kick. And then there were three. But really, there are still critical sounds missing to complete the palette: Roland had a few other drum machines worth adding to this Performer. Starting with the CR-78 (“In the Air Tonight” alert!), or the tiny BOSS DR-55 – and of course poor man’s 808: the Roland TR-606 Drumatix. Users’ expecations were running high and they voiced their wishes in the respective forums.
And then… nothing much happened. To be fair to Roland, they launched the digital/analogue crossover synths JD-Xi and JDXa and the much talked about and limited “Boutique Synthesizers” last autumn, once again demonstrating that their ACB-technology is capable of more than what they showed in their first-generation Aira System-1 synth. But for TR-8 users, there was nothing – except fiddle about with the Performer’s Shuffle knob… and wait. None of the hoped-for expansions transpired.
Now it’s 2016, and we’re going full steam ahead towards Musikmesse in Frankfurt – and I hope you don’t mind me saying, that us TR-8 owners deserve a bit of love and care in the shape of a few new goodies. If you browse forums such as gearsluts.com, you will quickly see that most want a 606 expansion. Even though I still own a “real” 606, I would prefer to have the sounds inside the TR-8. It’s simply more practical, and Roland have proven that ACB can faithfully reproduce analogue sounds. Having said that, the only thing the company should revisit are the TR-8’s analog cymbal and hi-hat sounds. They are a bit fizzy and thin compared with the real deal. Ideally, Roland would improve that at the same time. Please? Pleeeassse? With cherries on top?
Alright – I won’t give up hope. And we’ll definitely keep you posted should our desire for further expansions be heard by the powers that be…
- DR-55, CR-8000 or TR-606 Drumatix. Roland has plenty more they should add to the TR-8!: gearnews/Ralf