Software Rhythm Composer

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The Boom, Snap, and Sizzle of the Most Famous Drum Machine Ever—Now in Your DAW

The TR-808 Software Synthesizer is a detailed replica of the legendary TR-808—one of the most revered and sought-after electronic music instruments of all time. The plug-in version offers the sound and behavior of the original plus new features that virtually modify the hardware for more sound choices and faster, more fluid programming.

“It’s almost impossible to imagine the modern musical landscape without the distinctive sounds of the Roland TR-808 drum machine.”
—Rolling Stone
A Legend in the Making

In 1980, the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer was released as a quick and easy songwriting tool for musicians. At the time, the high cost of memory drove Roland engineers to use analog synthesis instead of samples for its sounds. Through a series of happy accidents, they utilized unique transistors, creating a one-of-a-kind sound that set the 808 in its own sonic universe. However, it didn’t exactly deliver “traditional” or “realistic” drum sounds, leading to it being dismissed by many at the time, with only about 12,000 units ever made.

The Thing That Goes Boom

Once a few adventurous musicians and producers got their hands on the TR-808 and started tweaking those knobs, the world began to (literally) feel the impact it would leave on music forever. For decades since, the sizzling hi-hats and snappy snare, the clicky rim shot, the unmistakable cowbell, and yes—that booming bass drum—have been heard on worldwide hits and underground classics.

That 8 Oh 8

Increasingly revered by musicians and producers around the globe, the TR-808’s influence only continues to grow. New musical genres make heavy use of the 808 sound, with some utilizing it as the main instrument and defining sound of the style. Its influence is so deep that it’s been name-dropped in famous songs, had albums dedicated to it, had bands named after it, and even been the subject of a feature-length documentary film. For some younger music fans, the 808 is no oddity—it’s simply “what drums sound like.”

Plug In Your Own TR-808

Original TR-808 units sell for huge sums on the used market, and its sound is often imitated with sample-packs and knockoffs. But the 808 is a complex beast and far more than the sum of its parts. Using our proprietary Analog Circuit Behavior technology, we’ve painstakingly recreated the original analog circuits that are the essence of the TR-808’s sound. Our TR-808 plug-in sounds identical to the original—with all its nuance and detail—while adding some groundbreaking new features:

  • Tuning and decay on each instrument and the ability to overdrive the internal circuitry update the 808 for modern sounds
  • The classic 808 step sequencer expands with lanes for each sound, so you can program faster and more fluidly
  • Each pattern has eight variations for evolving sequences that keep things interesting
  • Drag and drop audio or MIDI patterns directly from the 808 into a project
  • Adjustable flams, sub-steps, and soft hits create detailed fills and ratcheted sequences
  • Each instrument has its own “last step” and shuffle settings so you can play with timing, experiment with complex meters, and dial in just the right groove
Hardware Integration

Our TR-808 software instrument integrates seamlessly with our TR-8S Rhythm Performer and TR-08 Roland Boutique hardware. Transfer TR-8S patterns directly into the TR-808 plug-in or create beats on the go and send them back to the hardware. Or you can use the TR-8S or TR-08 for direct hands-on control of the plug-in.

Join Roland Cloud today for the famous boom and sizzle of the 808 along with a host of other legendary Roland instruments. Curious to hear what came after the 808? Check out its equally influential sibling and a dance music staple: the TR-909.

Maximum Polyphony
11 voices
Sampling Frequency
44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz
Step Sequencer
11 instrument parts
16 steps per 1 measure
8 (A - H) variations per 1 pattern
INST tone
* Slashed instruments are selectable.
Memories per bank
128 patterns
128 memories
*User can make new user banks.
Plug-In Formats
VSTi 2.4(64bit)* Windows only
VSTi 3.6(64bit)
System Requirements (macOS™)
Operating System
macOS 10.14
macOS 10.15
macOS 11
Host Application
VST instruments (VSTi) version: VST 3.6 compatible
Audio Units (AU) version: Audio Units V2 compatible
AAX Compatible
Intel® Core™ i5 or better
Apple M1 chip
2 GB or more
Hard Disk
400 MB or more
1280 x 800 or higher/16.7 million colors or more
You'll need Internet connectivity to authenticate this software
System Requirements (Windows®)
Operating System
Microsoft® Windows® 8.1 (64-bit)
Microsoft® Windows® 10 (64-bit)

*This does not work with the Windows® RT.
*This does not work with the Windows® Phone.
*This does not work on the virtual machines such as Hyper-V, Virtual PC, or Boot Camp.
Host Application
VST instruments (VSTi) version: VST 2.4/3.6 compatible
AAX Compatible
Intel® Core™ i5 or better
2 GB or more
Hard Disk
400 MB or more
1280 x 800 or higher, 24 bit Full Color or more
You'll need Internet connectivity to authenticate this software.
* Although Roland has tested numerous configurations, and has determined that on average, a computer system similar to that described above will permit normal operation of the TR-808 Software Rhythm Composer, Roland cannot guarantee that a given computer can be used satisfactorily with the TR-808 Software Rhythm Composer based solely on the fact that it meets the above requirements. This is because there are too many other variables that may influence the processing environment, including differences in motherboard design and the particular combination of other devices involved.
Microsoft Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

VST is a trademark and software of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. 
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If you have questions about operating your Roland product, please check our Knowledge Base for answers to the most common questions.
You can also contact our Product Support department by phone or email.
In addition, we have a library of Owner’s Manuals and Support Documents that you can download and reference.

Owner's Manuals