You’ve landed at the right page, however we’ve been asked by Roland to remove the AIRA TR-8 samples.
The Roland AIRA TR-8 is expected to be available for sale in March 2014, visit the Roland site for details on pre-ordering here:
Stay up to date and grab the rest of our free sample packs here, including the classic 808 x Fairchild 670 Compressor and many more.

For your music-making pleasure, we’ve taken the most hotly-anticipated drum machine of the year and ran it through a $40,000 compressor to create this Ableton Live sample-pack. This is the brand new Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer – the flagship unit in their new AIRA range.

Thanks to Liveschool trainers Adam Maggs (Ableton), Anthony Garvin (Studios 301) and Michael Di Francesco (Touch Sensitive) for putting these together.


The Roland AIRA TR-8

When we heard that Roland were producing the new TR-8 drum machine as a homage to their infamous TR-808 and TR-909 machines, we were excited to say the least – but definitely skeptical due to it’s non analog insides.

With the Roland TR-8’s digital pedigree is causing heated online debate, we can confirm it definitely packs a solid punch. We found that it’s sounds not only stood up well against the original machines but that it’s added capabilities such as sidechain input, onboard effects (reverb, delay and compression) and others, make it a better overall machine in many ways. And while the sounds themselves are great, it’s the playability and overall feel of the machine that really adds that extra dimension.

Even though the TR-8 has it’s own onboard compressors for the Kick and Snare, we thought we’d kick it up a notch and add some analog character in the recording process…

Roland tr-8 drum samples

The new Roland TR-8, the source for the drum samples.

Roland TR-808 vs AIRA TR-8

If you think this sounds familiar – yes, we sampled the original (analogue) TR-808 last year by running it through the same Fairchild 670 compressor. You can download both packs below to compare – but it is really a fair comparison of the TR-808 vs the TR-8? Well, yes and no..

Yes, Roland have created a brand new technology for emulating their classic 808 and 909 machines via digital with the TR-8 – and we think they’ve done this brilliantly. But also no, it’s not a direct comparison – the actual recordings are completely unique for the following reasons:

  • the TR-8 is both an 808 and a 909 emulator, so these recordings contain 909 sounds as well.
  • we recorded parameter settings according to what sounded best to us, not for the sake of deliberately copying settings from one unit to the other. This includes both the drum parameters and the compression settings.
  • the Fairchild was completely re-valved before we made this recording so part of the sound of the earlier 808 sample pack is the character of the unpredictably worn components.
  • the TR-8 was able to be recorded digitally first before being resampled.

So it’s best to think of these 2 packs as having their own character which you can use in your music according to taste. We might do a precise showdown in the future, but this is not the point of these recordings.


Sampling the Drum Machine

The Roland AIRA TR-8 samples were recorded in multitrack via USB (one of the great features of the TR-8), then sent out through an Apogee Rosetta 200 to the Fairchild 670 compressor/Limiter, before finally being captured to Ableton Live via an Apogee Quartet interface.

The recently re-valved (all 20 tubes replaced) Fairchild 670 Compressor/Limiter at Studios 301 is the only one of it’s kind in Australia – a much revered 30kg behemoth (as you can see below it takes two people to safely lift it) with 20 valves and 14 transformers it’s adored as much for it’s colour and sonic character as it is for it’s famous compression and limiting.

studios 301 fairchild

Studios 301’s Fairchild 670 Compressor / Limiter gave the Roland Tr-8 Drum Samples some extra analog flavour.

Anthony explains the sampling process with the Fairchild 670 in this video:

Download The Drum Rack and Sample Pack

We took the processed Roland AIRA TR-8 samples and consolidated them into a simple but musically-useful Drum Rack for Ableton Live 9.

  • There are 32 pads: 16 for drums and 16 for tuned basses made from the 808 kick.
  • To the left of the pads are the Bass macro controls that manipulate all 16 bass cells as if they were one instrument.
  • To the right of the pads you can access Drum macro controls for all 16 drum cells, allowing you to shorten, pitch, or swap samples for each drum.

These settings were also designed so players using Ableton Push can access and control all parameters quickly and easily using the device navigator buttons and 8 control dials.


roland tr-8 drum rack

The Roland Tr-8 Ableton Live Drum Rack, here we’ve highlighted the KICK drum cell – you can see the macros for the KICK’s sample selector, pitch, length and volume control on the right.


Roland AIRA TR-8 Samples x Fairchild 670 Compressor (includes drum rack)

Roland TR-808 samples x Fairchild 670 Compressor (includes drum rack)

Studios 301 have also posted the uncompressed vs compressed files which you can download via their blog here.


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