Machinedrum UW vs. Roland TR-8, a Drum Machine Standoff

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Machinedrum UW vs. Roland TR-8
Machinedrum UW vs. Roland TR-8

There is a lot of drum machines out there, but we decided to talk about the two that would probably be the ones that brake the brain of todays buyers. Machinedrum UW vs. Roland TR-8, let the battle begin.

Machinedrum UW

Lets start with the one that's more expensive, thus has more to deliver in some way. Machinedrum UW is a drum synth, sampler and a sequencer. All digital, it lets you make a wide range of drum sounds, and in a very high sound quality. 

The creation of the sounds is based on a number of virtual drum synths, called  "machines". Each of them has a role of making one type of sounds (kick drums, snares, claps...) but they are grouped by the type of synthezis that they use. We will not go far into the technical details, lets just say that it gives you a lot of possibilities. It can create a lot of analog sounding drums, and also lets you go completely abstract, and create digital drums that are hard to classify, in a sense that some of the sounds that you will get trough experimentation with the parameters can't be described as a tom, a clap or a snare. In this sense this drum machine has no match.

As for the sampling, the built in sampler gives you basically an simple MPC in the same box. You can sample what ever you want, all in 12 bit quality, and then edit the samples, arrange patterns, basically a full range sampler. This option alone gives it a lot of clean advantage over the Roland TR 8.

When you look at all the features, it seems that this one wipes the floor with Roland, but lets wait to see the other competitors advantages.

Roland TR-8

Lets see what the newest incarnation ot the TR series has to offer. Many of you are familiar with the older members of this family (TR-707, TR-808, TR-909...), if you are not, I can only tell you that they are the most iconic drum machines, if we are talking about techno and house music for sure. This digital drum machine emulates the two of the most popular older cousins (TR-808 and TR-909), and it is really good at it, most of the people can't tell the difference. The card that Roland is playing here is its popular legacy and a couple of new features.

First advantage of the TR-8 is a recognizable set of sounds, that resides in the numberless legendary tracks, from the beginning of electronic music till now. Also there is a fact that a lot of new producers want to have that classic sounds in their arsenal, but they have a hard time finding the original machines, and getting their hands on them. 

A lot of people that do live acts will surely prefer the Roland machine, cause of its interface, that is more oriented to using it as an instrument in the live setup that most other drum machines. It has a slider for every drum sound, and a knob for the each parameter, has basic effects that are step oriented, and also an easy to use "sidechain compression" on the external input channel (strictly speaking it is not a real sidechain compressor, but it does the job). That is its second big advantage, the ability to manipulate the drums very fast.

KiNK, testing the TR-8

The third important advantage in its name, as it stands for long lasting devices that you can still see in use, some of them decades old. To be honest TR-8 belongs to a new AIRA series of machines, that are yet to be proved to be as lasting as the old ones. Also there is a price that is fairly lower than the Machinedrum, but I will not take it to serious, cause when a young producer has a 500$ for one machine, he will find a 500$ more for the other, if he likes it better.


I will let you decide, the question is what you want to achieve, as someone said, it would be nice to have them both in the mix.