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User Review

Enjoyable - Reviews Roland MC-808

Value For Money : Excellent Audience: Advanced Users
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.