Tuesday, September 7, 2021

SOUNDWARE: Ghost Machine. Roland R8 MK2. Samples, Resamples, and RitMix Kits.


Manifesting itself from beyond the technological grave this month is Roland's then mighty R-8 and R8 MKII drum machines. 

Here we have 209 samples from the R8MKII plus the omitted sounds from the R8 plus 50 newly developed resamples which are additionally processed samples from the original sounds. In addition, there are 4 Ritmix kits and 4 soundfont (.sf2) kits. 

The R8 drum machines were sample based PCM devices and don't really carry the 'classic' label that Roland's analog TR808 and TR909 machines have. But those machines are well catered for in terms of sample libraries, so I've produced a sample library plus some beefed up resamples, and some kits for Ritmix as well as some soundfont kits which can be used by anyone with a soundfont (.sf2) player. 

The R8 had 67 samples on board which could be expanded with the use of horrendously expansive additional ROM cards. The R8MKII essentially brought the sounds from the ROM cards on board and expanded the standard sample sound count to 199. 

Both machines featured touch sensitive trigger pads and eight individual outputs. Kits could be created and stored and the usual drum machine style real time or step sequencing was available. Although it was launched a little later, in 1989, the R8 could be thought of as Roland's equivalent of Yamaha RX-5, last month's Ghost Machine soundware project. Both being each company's 'flagship' sample based machine with a similar feature set. 

The R8s had quite a distinctive look to them with the appearance of quite a large, weighty grey stone 'slab', and I remember the pads being quite effective. They hardly moved at all yet effectively transmitted the required velocity information to the sample. 

Roland R8 Sounds.

When going through the sounds for this collection I must admit I was slightly surprised at how good some of these samples are.The creators of the R8 library really focused on powerful, usable electronic and acoustic sounds. There are some really nice heavy, thuddy kick drums, tight, cutting snares, lots of nicely defined, 'edgy' cymbals and some spectacularly good sounding acoustic toms. Which meant I had plenty to work with came to developing the resample collection. Do check out the resamples, I think they sound excellent!

Famous Users.

As with the Yamaha RX-5, Prince and New Order had one (did Prince own every drum machine?) as well as Underworld, Tangerine Dream, The Human League, and Colin Towns. 

Download Link:

Use the following download link to get your samples and kits. Just download the entire folder and open the samples into whichever device you're using. If you're using Ritmix, use the 'Load Kit' function to load and play the kits. Same with the .sf2 soundfont files. 

I try to produce a 'Ghost Machine' vintage drum machine pack every month. You can keep up to date on all my soundware projects by following my Facebook Page. As well as vintage drum machine libraries you'll find synth patches for software and hardware synths, instrument sample libraries as well as loops and beats. Check it out.....


The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 

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