Skip to Content

There’s no question that the revered TR-808 Rhythm Composer changed the face of contemporary music. From Phil Collins to the Beastie Boys, time and time again the 808 has supercharged the backbeat of pop music’s most powerful hits.

But what makes this drum machine tick? What mechanisms are the pros using to maximize the potential of this BOOM box, and how can you as a user take advantage of those secrets?

We’ve gone spelunking and unearthed eight lesser-known tools to help you fully utilize the potential of our TR-808 plugin. In this series, we’ll dive deep into the versatility of the 808 and expose fundamental processes that will diversify your workflow and let you use the 808 on your terms.



Our first video is all about Sub Outs! Ever wanted to modify a single sound within your 808-beat without affecting the kit as a whole? In this video, Ramon—our resident aficionado of all things BOOM—shows you how to divvy up your drum sounds into individual tracks to give you sonic flexibility. Check the video out below, and next time you won’t have to put Flanger on the whole kit…




For the second installment of our series, we shed a little light on our "drag and drop" feature. Looking under the hood of our TR-808, you'll find the ability to export MIDI patterns and rendered audio files directly into your DAW. Watch below and enjoy a step-by-step walkthrough of how to get your booming beats on wax in the format of your choosing.




Our next video is an edit window exposé! Programming a hardware 808 required keen attention to detail and supremely focused navigation. Our virtual 808 makes programming beats fun, easy, and VISUAL. Let Ramon, our resident percussion pundit, guide you through the functionality of the edit window, and lead you on your way to building brutal bangers with the 808.




The fourth video in our series focuses on automation. Our TR-808 offers extensive sound manipulation—just like the original hardware. Move your drum sounds throughout the stereo spectrum or add extra snap to your snare; It’s easy and will work in any DAW. Craft the drum hits that work for your composition and unleash your creativity by adding dynamic inflection to your beats.



Our fifth secret showcases what the TR-808 is famous for…the BOOM. Follow Ramon through a step-by-step process on how to make your kick drum rattle your speakers and inject the brain-bending power of the 808 bass into your tracks.



The sixth secret of the TR-808 is a brief lesson on creating a classic techno beat. The 808 can enhance any electronic composition with its diverse array of distinctive sounds. Watch Ramon create a basic template for a classic techno rhythm. Then, take his blueprint and use your creative instincts to compose a beat of your own!




The seventh secret of the TR-808 exposes the fundamentals of a trap beat. The 808 kick was instrumental (see what we did there) in the development of the trap genre. Check out the kick manipulation, the ideal tempo, and how effortless drum composition can be with the edit window.



Our eighth and final secret of the TR-808 is an in-depth look at the intro beat for these tutorials. Follow Ramon as he uses features like Sub Outs, drag and drop, the edit window, automation, and kick drum manipulation to create a modern combination of techno and trap. Thank you for watching our 8 Secrets of the 808 series. Stay tuned for more videos that deconstruct the mysteries of our legendary Roland instruments.


Need help integrating any of our 8 Secrets of the 808 into your DAW workflow? Don't hesitate to contact us HERE if you need some assistance! 

TEXT: Mike Sparks
LESSONS: Ramon Mills

Get the TR-808, TR-909, Drum Studio and a host of other legendary
instruments by subscribing to Roland Cloud today!