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…

 

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with our latest free tutorials, samples, video interviews and more.

Learn more about Producing Music with Ableton Live.

liveschool produce music