Roland Brings Back the TR 808 and SH 101 for Their ?Boutique? Line of Products

Every genre of music has its hallmark instrument. Rock music has the electric guitar. Bluegrass has the banjo. Classical music has a piano. For dance music, the drum machine has to be the instrument synonymous with the genre. For decades, producers around the world have used a variety of synths and drum machines to crank out their best tracks for the dance floor.

While a number of drum machines held in high regard amongst dance producers, there’s not a drum machine more well known than the Roland TR 808. Everybody from house to hip hop producers have been using the TR 808 since its inception in 1980. Despite being discontinued in 1983, the TR 808 served as the prototype for many other drum machines and has left an undeniable impact in the world of music production.

If you’ve never owned a TR 808 and want to get a chance to try one out for yourself, you’re in luck. Roland has announced that they will release a “boutique” version of the TR 808 along with SH-101 mono synth later this year. The exact release date hasn’t been set but rest assured, demand for the classic drum machine will help expedite the waiting process for the product. The setup of the TR 808 will be similar to the original but with some great upgrades.

Using their analog circuit technology, Roland will update the TR 808 with new controls for compression, gain, pitch, and panning. It will retain the 16 step sequencer but with an added bonus. Along with the step sequencer is the “sub steps” function that can help create different drum rolls with the sequencer. Last but certainly not least, the updated TR 808 is expected to have a USB output capable of using up to 10 different audio channels with a trigger output function to help control any external instruments being used with the TR 808.

While the release date for the upgraded TR 808 is to be determined, we do know the price that they will go for once they’re on the market. According to Roland’s official website, the TR 808 and SH-101 will retail at $349 when they are released later this year. If you’d like to see both of these updated machines in action, check out the video below.

So what do you guys think? Producer friends, what do you think of this update? Will you be adding this classic drum machine to your arsenal?