Roland MC-808
Roland MC-808

MC-808, Sampling Sequencer from Roland in the MC series.

All user reviews for the Roland MC-808

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Average Score:4.2( 4.2/5 based on 33 reviews )
 15 reviews45 %
 12 reviews36 %
 1 user review3 %
 3 reviews9 %
 1 user review3 %
Kobese Siphiwo05/04/2018

Kobese Siphiwo's review"Enjoyable"

Roland MC-808
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 Pros!:

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.

The Cons:

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.

Challenge yourself.


AlanForPresident's review"roland sounds"

Roland MC-808
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.

theaudioandvideoguy's review"its not for me"

Roland MC-808
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!
Audiofanzine FR03/15/2009

Audiofanzine FR's review

Roland MC-808
(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!

*ARNO*'s review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" huge but a bit complicated"

Roland MC-808
A super machine that is difficult to exploit half of the opportunities, many effects, it is possible to play anything related to electro see a little more.


Really not easy when you're not used to this kind of machine!


The quality is there, good sounds that work well (once you understand to the machine).


In the adaptation challenge is really fun, fun, nice, pro ... Everything you want positive!
I used to mix rock and electro, reggae and electronica, really good!
Many very pro option allows not to lose time as automated knob for example ...

juxy_j's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" continuiter? mc 808 -"

Roland MC-808


The attention is here I say we go back or forward?

the use of this machine is not simple in the beginning and even after a year or more for sure lol, and I had gotten used to the 303 505 307 909 mc and with its large screen is not reduced by any intuitive unless experience on roland mc ... and yet, for me it is even more complicated than the 909 mc and yet it was not already at the beginning of the cake!

back? end screen if I can say lol screen as a 505 mc 1998
Require the use of a computer for further settings "software supplied with"
Disappearing cursor "FAT" to head after a "solo univision" which was essential for me on mc 909 mtn I am obliged to turn 909 mc cursor to go midi mode for mc 808, or then make it work via pc ... Damn me if I chose to work on roland mc home was to avoid computers (mtn thus not the right choice "even without the pc on c has come out something quite that + correct

I'm not that hard as this will be as bad honest,

Many complained of his is useless motorized faders "is the flashy ect ...
Personal because it helps me to really moin more joke with filters, volume ect when the modified real-time tj we know it or even if you go to another track :) thank you.
I would prefer to see the round cursor automatically rotated as it is big rectangle that rises and descends like a volume tuning is ... not serious.

lire the manual several times to understand it says go little by little with this machine is c casi do exactly the same as the 909 mc but will require more work, but the product will put you on the ass you forget moments of crisis with it.

that's basically for me


I have nothing to say they add some sound + is compared to the 909 mc
+ this + compressor and adapted to modern music.


I need to have my 808 with 909 mc to choose between the two I chose the 909,
But view its strength ect 808 is superior and a compressor + present and firmer and warm and pure kicks.

After a good control of this machine and have good songs tweak your machine you will get an unrivaled sound to others ...

I'm just saying that the mc me on the most is the mc-505, mc-909 and mc 808 bheuuuuuuuuuu the rest I have already forgotten that I had (mc 303 307 mc and D2)

He will follow up the MC at roland??? :/ The Machine style pads are rather mtn trend i / phone ect ...

For those who want to have fun or have a nice song without taking the head forget this machine :) rather watch a korg electribe esx ...

hugo-rille's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Underestimated"

Roland MC-808
Already said.


First point: the manual is quite clear and sufficient. However, it is sometimes difficult to navigate. The question that everything is thoroughly described.

If it is usual functions, everything is in front and quite quickly, EXCEPT some parameters for which we need to find "tricks" live. With a little resourcefulness and some contortions it is doing pretty well, I think.

For more advanced functions, yes, we have the software, but there are few people to say how easy it is and watch as a virtual continuation of the facade. I'm not bored, or not much!

In the end, I find it quite "open" many ways of working are possible, including mine (it is what it is not?) And I enjoy composing.

I would have liked an easier access to editing tracks etc. ... without having to deal with a shift to 13 have access to reverb and effects wheel (for example).

Anyway, this is not insurmountable monster that some were willing to describe, and overall I like the ergonomics after a period of adaptation. And I still think it is what is appropriate for me!


Already discussed below, the sounds are good as long to spend a little time, there are some effects that I love frankly, although I have not yet done the trick.

Again, I do not understand some opinion, and I doubt that these people are used to working with sound, even to hear. I analog synthesizers side, everything fits very well when it comes to synths - sometimes I like less drum kits, I finally I sample.


I use it for eight months and I am very satisfied;
over time it is built differently to my setup:
I'm using it more like groovebox but primarily as sampler, and as long as you have the RAM there really is plenty to do. I love the sound processing, it amazes me "send" without effort, faders and automation are very very very nice ...

I tried a few models groovebox, a 505 mc, an EMX ... I prefer it even though I felt sympathetic EMX.

What I like best is the opening: whatever place I give luis, it makes me very well, sometimes it is the nerve center of my live, sometimes effects processor, right now I sequence a shruthi -1 with and meets all, it gives flexibility to the mutable and nice effects.

I consider the money pretty amazing report: prices fall, each selling his and it seems that nobody is happy with. I'm afraid whether people who are not really looking to play music. The frustration they feel about their machine seems more due to their talent:

It is a machine that does everything we ask him, I'm almost never felt blocked me. Any "limitation" can be circumvented in one way or another and, in general, it makes the creative user: at first, I thought the evening, outside etc. ... and have always ended up finding a creative solution bringing "by mistake" alternatives.

It is a choice I would do, for sure,
I think the average rating opinions AF is too low,
the price is affected: it is a good thing.

Bogab's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Good product."

Roland MC-808
8 motorized faders
Same characteristics as the MC-909 for squenceur and sampling section (44.1 kHz / 16bit)
New sounds and patterns
622 waveforms
128 voice polyphony
CompactFlash slot for memory storage
USB port for storage and import files AIF / WAV
16 pads, D Beam Controller
Editing software included (PC / Mac)


Not enough used to be able to give information about it, but the manual is clear and full apparently.


Used for only one week, no time to traverse enough.


Machine buy a little on a head shot and therefore uses a week, from sorry blow to the lack of information.

D4p0up's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" An excellent machine that suffers from its name"

Roland MC-808
16 channels / Sequencer multistep 3 Recording Modes / Sample-based synthesis or a Roland synth made in multilayer powerful.

Connection Midi / Audio / USB / CF (bridge Midi possible)

Motorized faders, Pads, rotocoder "classic" Roland, Section effects, optical remote controller, etc ...

Specifications are detailed on the website of Roland. It is a complete machine, mixing in a form factor of a sampler groovebox multilayers, a powerful synthesizer, a sequencer and powerful aid to live performance (Chord bank, arpeggiator, one button call pattern, etc. ...).

There's no denying it, there are many functions. E is not around in 10 minutes.


Side "I can do anything" makes configuration pretty winded. The functions accessible with the machine itself is very limited, the user can change a few synth patch paramètrse as the filter, or LFOs rates.

the essential functions of composition are available live, but the advanced user will always use the supplied software, heureseuement comprehensive, patches and to refine his songs.

Auto faders are a very good initiative, they can easily change a patch or a beat live without losing other settings. This is a great addition that makes the machine very comfortable to use when we had the bar winded millions of features.

this machine can not do without a PC for advanced editing, but provides all the functions to lay a pipe in 30 seconds.


The sounds are very good. Basic presets are basic, but with a little tweaking and synthesis of knowledge can be drawn from large sound system lutitimbre classic Roland. When the sampler, with the addition of some RAM, it very well decrease its function.

effects are correct, and are used easily.


I use it for almost 4 years now and I am fully satisfied.

Its bad credit / reputation is mainly due to purists who thought buying a groovebox 1990 under the term, and felt prisoners. This is not a groovebox primary meaning of the term, but a studio work including sound sampler, synth and sequencer with other systems seen in the live well.

It's a Swiss Army knife of impressive live setting allows the well to make any beat with ease. on the other hand, are accessible from the front that controls that can be reasonably fit to live in a benefit. The rest of the setup is done with a PC. This phase can be quite tedious but ultimately, we can not really blame him for doing his job poorly.

Instead, the controls available on the machine are a synthesis of all she can do. those who do not find their happiness were wrong machine: it does everything, but does not allow the same freedom in facade on a more specific device. to dig, push in the software menus.

You just have to have that in mind to get a view of the beast.

This choice I would do without hesitation, although I admit having to use a master keyboard in order to fully enjoy the features of the beast.

Tybowz's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Top"

Roland MC-808
there enormemment sounds and different styles, but many like ..
after, are very solid surprising for a sampler!
effects are well over 47 effects but there are many twenty useless!


It is clear that the mc808 is not very easy to use, but after some days of battle and laminated pages of the manual, you quickly understand how it works.
The most amazing is that even after 2 years are still being discovered functions or tricks! what's it good!
it is certainly not easy! but must also stop being lazy!


Admit that the sound is not bad for a sampler. Maybe the battery kit is a bit **** ch has long but you can always import with usb cable!
the 16 small pads (which I love) are not velocity sensitive.


I used it for 2 years.
I started music at the machine with mc808.

The +:
if you're a minimum "gifted" you leave something flapping in 2minutes watch in hand. the "r-rec" is pretty nice. motorized faders its super cool! the dial is much better value than small plastic buttons that are "CLAC" when you press on it .. storage of sample by inserting a compact flash card is the TOP. and then I forget ..
motorized faders make noise (when you are in or with the headphone and the need to avoid the noise) is not that great. the d-beam controller is useless. the console is a good 15minutes démmarrer when you have a compact flash card filled enough.

value for money is indisputable!
now I'm on ableton live, so good .. but YES I would do if this election!