Roland TR-808

8:24 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Musical Space: Rap Probably Wouldn't Have Existed Without It

Beastie Boys circa 1980s.
Credit Courtesy photo

When it first appeared on the market in the early 1980s the Roland TR-808 could be purchased at about a quarter the price of competing brands. Imitation drums sounded cheap, too.

These were not digital samples, but simple analog circuits. The bass drum sound was a strange, deep, ringing thud; the snare was a high, papery snap; the cowbell was an obnoxious clank.

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