Roland’s TR-8S gets a free FM synthesis engine, making it “the most complete drum machine ever”

Roland’s TR-8S - itself an evolution of the TR-8 - has been updated to version 2.0, with the new firmware adding various new features to the company’s flagship drum machine.

The big news is the addition of an FM synthesis engine, which Roland says makes the TR-8S “the most complete drum machine ever”. This promises the likes of metallic hits and harmonically rich percussion sounds, and you can sweep through sonic variations using the Morph control.

You can tweak the FM depth, ratio and feedback, while the FM sounds can be blended with the classic TR tones for all-new rhythmic goodness.

There are also new effects - Saturator, Freq Shift, Ring Mod and Spread - all of which can be assigned to control knobs for sound shaping. The workflow has been improved with reload functions that restore pattern and kit elements to their stored states with quick actions, thus giving you more beat manipulation options when you’re creating sounds and performing live.

Find out more on the Roland website, where you can also download the TR-8S version 2.0 firmware update. It’s free for existing owners.

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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