Roland’s TR-808 drum machine has finally been inducted into the NAMM Hall of Fame

Roland TR-808
(Image credit: Roland)

Few electronic musical instruments are as iconic as Roland’s TR-808, so it seems entirely appropriate that this is one of the latest products to be inducted into the NAMM TECnology Hall of Fame.

You might ask why it took so long - is the 808 any less notable than Line 6’s POD, which has been in the Hall of Fame since 2018? - but at least Roland’s classic drum machine has now taken its rightful place.

Commenting on the induction, this year’s judging panel said: “Roland’s TR-808 programmable drum machine became part of the foundation of music movements in hip-hop, rap and electronica. And although made in 1980 - almost 40 years ago - the once $1,200 TR-808 remains a highly-prized studio tool today, with working units valued in the $4,000 range.”

The 808 has transcended the music production world to become a cultural symbol, having been referenced in songs, album titles and band names. If you want an 808 today, Roland offers both a digital hardware emulation, the TR-08, and a plugin version on the Roland Cloud. Non-official reboots include Behringer’s RD-8 and D16’s Nepheton.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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