For which specific applications or uses have I chosen this product?
Used for sampling, creating melodies, and experimentation( R&B, Hip-Hop, Lo-fi and Soul)
In what context do I currently use this product?
I use the machine as a standalone unit connected to my lexicon to Cubase through KRKs 8", mainly as a sound design platform, and to work on indie tapes (beats)
Have you tested other comparable or competing products before purchasing this one?
I had the MPC 500, and I really didn't like it, I felt ripped off that in the modern era we still need to basically use a machine from the 90s. Roland has updated faster than Akai in this regard(adding auto chop in the update was great!). My MPC would sit for months unused because it was frustrating to have to chop samples manually I would just use fruity or Magix(cringe). I've also used Reason,Cubase, Fruity and Ableton extensively(geeking).
What are the pros and cons of this product?
The machine is extremely versatile, allowing you to tweak your sound quite well. I've read people saying that the D-Beam is useless? No, you can filter on the fly and record that as a take, I mean come on!
Also I really enjoy the fact that it's just a bit simpler than the MPC and allows you to do the same things quicker.
I love the sounds, and after the firmware update the sounds are a little crisper, I've read people whining about the sound quality( I love the sound for the lo-fi effect, and I'm, buying a lot of cheap equipment for new tapes and lo-fi will always be cool. You can also really tweak sounds.
The sounds: I love sine waves and other tweakable parameters and sound wise the 808 is a smorgasbord.
Minimal tutorials, you literally have to scour the internet looking for ways to load samples, chop, update ram, use the unit, etc.
The unit is complicated and does have a learning curve, but with an understanding of mixing, recording and music theory, one can totally explore unlimited possibilities. I think instead of looking at it as just a groovebox, think of it as 40 years of advancement in one unit, you can create sounds from the disco era(JMJ), EDM, and sample for Hip-Hop(JMT) or dance. What more could one ask for?
You have to Learn to work with sound to enjoy this unit fully.
I've been making beats and music for about 12 years now and only in the past 4 years can say I have professional grade music. This piece of gear has really tweaked my sound in the way that I want, through allowing me to take the sounds I want and mix them how I want. I'm using mostly sampled drums and synths, so the multi-sampling function is a real dream, having said that I must say that the 808 is not for everyone, if you have a passion for old synths, and sound mashing and molding this is for you. Clap Trap creators should stick to Fruity or Logic for quick fixes.
Having this unit is a real dream come true for me, I can finally make those dark atmospheric beats. I mean Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind(Jedi Mind Tricks) used a four track recorder, and I can't remember the sampler he used, but he had a lot less than 200Mb of Ram.
The roland MC 808 is a device that I had a chance to use a few times before when I was searching for the right sampling sequencer for me. After using it for about an hour or so, I must say that it was pretty good. It seems to have the capabilities of almost any other sampler that is out. Its pretty big and it has a lot of knobs and sliders at first glance, but after you open the manual and start to understand the boards interface it will all kind of make since. So after you figure a few things out you will be up and running right away, plus it was made by Roland and they always bring quality products to the tables though this is one of the first samplers I have used by them mostly just the keyboards I have seen from Roland.
Like I said with the quick start guide, it will get you going in the right direction pretty quick. Its easy to understand and is right to the point. But just navigating through menus and to get the specific stuff you are looking for can be a hassle with so many knobs, buttons and submenus. it’s a pretty complex machine. Its hard to compare it to the MPC though because the MPC is known for its pads and layering of drums. The nice big square pads just don’t exist on the Roland MC 808. Which is pretty much a deal breaker if you ask me because sampling and chopping on pads is a huge part of my creative and musical process.
One of the good functions that it does have is the auto fader functions which took me a while to figure out how to get them to fade automatically for a while so I had to pick up the manual for that. The sounds a pretty good though just like most sounds that Roland produces.
Overall, it’s a very good sampler and im not surprised that so many people like it. Its more of an all in one sampler though and can be pretty dependent and doesn’t need to be synced with a computer for you to really finish a project which I like.
The Roland MC 808 is a groove box that was created about 6 or so years ago. This groove box never really had a chance to reach its full potential in my opinion. it’s a great piece of equipment be was over looked because of all the other drum machines on that market that are so powerful. The Roland MC 808 can take up to 512 MB similar to an MPC. I supports a flash card memory as well. Has all of the functions like the chopping, auto chopping sampling as well as full patch editing.
Pretty easy to understand but I did have to pick up the manual just to get some of the basics down because I have never used one of these before when I was at a friends house. Me being and MPC user, this didn’t work for me. Sorry to say, but it will give you NO satisfaction if you use an MPC. I just couldn’t get in my groove with this groove box (no pun intended) . It cost about 1200 dollars brand new when it came, that was around the same time the MPC 1000 came out for 200 dollars cheaper. I just cant see why anyone would choose this over the MPC.
Sounds good, doesn’t provide that gritty sound that I love but it does exactly what someone would want it to do, load up your kits or samples and start creating songs. Not really sure about the song mode on this, I didn’t get that far because I got frustrated with its basic features not being able to compete with the MPC.
Overall, I say it’s a great piece of gear. But if you are coming from an MPC don’t get this. If you have this or want to get this now that’s fine you will love it. But once you get your hands on a MPC this thing will no longer matter!
(Originally written by Libreesprit/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
See Roland's website
Comprehensive and clear user's manual. It includes a quick start guide explaining all main functions. With lots of references to other chapters. So you'll need to make a lot of copies if you want to have everything you need without having to look it up in the user's manual.
Easy configuration if you understand Roland's concept. Many button combinations (Shift + ...) but all basic functions are easily accessible from the front panel.
The factory presets sound "modern" but I'm still looking for more authentic sounds (for Latin instruments for example).
Until now I haven't found a sound bank for the 808, except for the sounds of the included and VERY intuitive software.
The effects are good enough to color the sound, but if you want more accurate effects you'll have to use an external multi-effects processor.
I've been using it for six months (about 2-3 hours a day).
Great product if you take the time to understand it, but it will still remain complex if you don't know music theory because it's a music instrument!
I don't know much about music theory so I had to work really hard to learn how to use all functions.
It's a great product that allows you to produce good music.
Value for money is ok.
The SD card offers enough storing capacity and the sample memory can be extended (see Roland's website).
Would I buy it again? Yes because its versatility allows me to spare the use of any additional synths. The motorized faders and additional functions are a delight.
If you want an easy and ready-to-use device, don't buy it! But if you like sound tweaking and creation, buy it!