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// Here’s something interesting and fun to dig.

1. The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer playing the beat to ‘Just be good to me’ by the also mighty S.O.S. Band (listen to the extended version, lay on the floor and let it all the way in… omg. A true masterpiece).

2. The surprisingly magnificent System80 – 880 replicant.
Honestly, after a little tuning using the service notes and my ear as the guide I can just barely tell the difference. Muah!

3. The quixotic and much maligned Roland AIRA TR-8. A true love of mine. Bigger and boxier sound, but it’s there baby. It’s there.

4. The Acid Lab MIAMI all analog replicant.
I opened it up and tuned it first to the 808 service notes noise/bell specs and then adjusted to ear. This would be great if there weren’t others to compare it with. As it’s own instrument, it works and definitely expresses the frequencies of the 808. But it doesn’t compare. Not truly.

5. The 1010music BitBox Eurorack Sampler.
I added this for fun. Why not? Sequenced with the Squarp Instruments Pyramid, using the midi input for the bitbox.
Sounds ok.

What’s missing:
The e-Licktronic Yocto, and the Roland Boutique TR-08 are missing from this silliness. But they will be included in my forthcoming love letter to the Roland TR-808 and discussed in detail and in context.

Hope this delights you even half as much as the whole adventure has delighted, educated, and fulfilled me.

More soon…



  1. Chris Roman:

    Oof, nice comparisons! I’ve been using the Miami a few years and agree. It’s a great machine , but doesn’t punch and sizzle like the original.

  2. Sunshine Jones:

    @Chris Roman – It’s a great little 808 clone. A fine and totally respectable analog drum machine with a beautiful circuit board.

  3. Mike Schroeder:

    The yocto is one of my prized possessions. It sits next to its brother the nava. I do think the acidlab drummatix is the best replica that’s out there though.

  4. Federico Chiesa:

    TR-8 is one of the best instruments roland ever did. It just looks bad, but is fun af

  5. Kevin Barrøn:

    Do you think those boutiques sound all that different from the TR-8?

  6. Sunshine:

    @Kevin Barrøn – Actually yes. I do.
    They are all similar, but each one has their own something.
    The TR-8 is even different again from the TR-8S, the TR-08 is a digital version of the 808 (full on replicant effect mode) and on and on…
    The differences can be subtle, but each one is its own thing really.
    Analog v digital, SMD v through hole, new v old, replicant v reproduction. All distinct and definitely different in terms of the results.
    But aside from the original TR-808 (which just hands down wins) I couldn’t, or wouldn’t say one was “better” than the other. The TR-08 is a wicked little machine. Loads of fun for the price. Sounds killer in a sound system.

  7. Gabriel Whitten:

    Can you do a comparison of the 303 vs 03?

  8. Sunshine:

    @Gabriel Whitten – I’ve done that:

  9. eskro:

    hi! ive enjoyed your ‘love letters’ very much. quick question: how did you get rid of the green rim on your TR-8 ? it already helps a lot.

  10. Sunshine:

    @Eskro – I’ve done this for all 4 of my TR-8’s.
    The first one I disassembled it and sanded the plastic, then sprayed a primer, and then when that was dry I sprayed several layers of matte black aircraft grade paint on the plastic.

    This was ok, but still chipped and needed to be touched up because of the nature of the plastic (flexible, semi soft).

    So for the others I used a permanent black pen, with masking tape to prevent myself from messing up and getting marker paint all over the panel.
    It makes it easier to touch up, and also a lot faster, and strangely seems to chip less.

    Just a Sharpie paint pen will be fine.