Pro Audio

The Roland TR-808 has turned 40 and celebrations are in full-swing

“Four decades, one sound.” The legendary Roland TR-808 celebrates it’s 40th birthday with free plugins and never-before-seen content that explores the legacy and continued influence of the iconic drum machine.

No clue what the fuss is about? Defined by its idiosyncratic sounds — like the deep, booming bass drum that laid the backbone for many hits over the decades — the 808 became a cornerstone of the emerging electronic, dance, and hip hop genres. Eventually, it was wholeheartedly embraced by the mainstream too.Roland TR-808 plugin

Roland celebrates 40 years of the iconic TR-808 with an online birthday bash. Learn its history and influence, plus, gain access to free plugins.

The birthday celebrations are broken down into 4 parts. In Part 1, you can watch the exclusive documentary ‘Building the Beat’ and explore the origins of the 808’s innovative design by engineer Tadao Kikumoto.

Parts 2, 3 and 4 chronicle the initial production of the TR-808 through to its use in ’80s music and beyond. It’s so ubiquitous that you’ve probably heard the TR-808 in all it’s glory and not even realised it. The 808 provided the Sexual Healing for Marvin Gaye’s 1982 hit, David Byrne rocked out to its psychotic pulse on Psycho Killer for the 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, even Kanye West used the 808 on every track of his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak.  The enduring musical legacy is chronicled in a curated Spotify playlist.

Once you’ve completed your historical tour, you can get hands-on with the TR- 808 by downloading the plugin version which is free until the end of August.

It’s hard to believe that a little drum machine — manufactured between 1980 and 1983 — would have such a lasting impact, but this bombastic groove box is still going strong.

Visit Roland for all the details.