Liveschool trainer Michael Di Francesco (Touch Sensitive) was benighted with the very first Roland AIRA TR-8 Rhythm Performer to land in Australia and he invited us over to his studio (pictured) for a tweak. Using 2 pieces of kit from Roland’s new AIRA series (which employs their newly-created form of digital emulation to re-imagine their classic instruments) we quickly found ourselves immersed in a non-stop, trance-inducing hardware jam – switching between 808 and 909 drum sounds on the TR-8 and squelchy aggressive acid synth-lines on the TR-3.

These are very playable units to say the least – it was literally hours before we stopped. If only we knew about the USB recording before we started, there were a few EP’s in there for sure!

Anyway – the point of this blog post is we then got geeky and started looking at how the units can integrate with Ableton Live and Push, and it turns out there’s a lot of great ways they combine to work together. We made these 4 quick videos to highlight some of the integrations, and made a drum rack you can download that will connect Live or Push directly to the TR-8.

For more info about the Roland AIRA TR-8 visit Roland’s website.


Part 1 – The Roland AIRA TR-8’s on-board Sidechain Compression

You can send any sound through the TR-8’s inputs and use it’s onboard sounds or patterns to sidechain the incoming sound. The sound being sidechained in this example is coming from Michael’s Memory Moog – and it’s just as easily to do this with a sound coming from Live.

Part 2 – Digital Multitrack Recording from the Roland AIRA TR-8 via USB

Not only can you multitrack record directly from the unit over USB you can also use it as a soundcard for Ableton Live. Pause and think: this means you can replace your current sound card for live shows with one that’s also a drum machine with onboard effects and hardware parameter controls, all without the need for a mixer. Handy.

Part 3 – The Roland AIRA TR-8’s Onboard FX

A preview of the in-built reverb and delays. There are also kick and snare compressors and a global Scatter effect not shown here.

Part 4 – Integrating the Roland AIRA TR-8 with Ableton Push

We’ve made a Drum Rack that let’s you control the TR-8 from within Live. This means you can take a beat you made with Live’s Core Kit 808 and seamlessly swap to using the TR-8. And if you have Push you can control the TR-8 directly as well via the same Drum Rack. Download it here.


What else?

We stopped there because we really were just dropping in for a lunchtime jam and ended up staying all day. There’s plenty more possibility with integrating Live and the TR-8 (we’re keen to make a parameter controller using Max For Live) and we haven’t even started on the TR-3. Arghhh. Too much to do, so little time!!

Let us know in the comments how you’re using it or if you have any requests…


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