Plato’s 808

(This is not a review of the TR-8 there’s plenty of those go Bing/Google it if that’s what you want.)
The TR-8, that is Roland’s latest drum machine and probably one of their best in recent memory. I love mine and have been playing with it almost every day. OK well not every day but a lot. (Still not as much as I think I should be but that’s fodder for another post). The title of this post though hearkens back to your old Philosophy class and Plato’s “Forms”   (quick abstract from Wikipedia “asserts that non-material abstract (but substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality”)

In plain English, it means that if you hold a cube in your hand it’s not a “real” cube,  it is merely a representation of the “True” cube which exists in a perfect higher reality.   So Mr. Philosophy 101, what the fuck does that have to do with a cool Drum machine? Well it’s all about comments and reviews of the machine where a lot of folks Pooh-pooh the sound saying things like OMG Digital bad, analog good, It’s close but not the real thing hurr hurr. Man what a bunch of whiney babies. All these choads (Usually it seems, the same types that buy “oxygen free” speaker cables.) laughing puppets want an Honest to God analog 808 Drum machine and conveniently forget about the limitations of the original (yo 16 steps is all you got). Then they go on and on and on about “the Sound” and how ACB still doesn’t capture the nuance.  This may or may not be true, I did not own the 808, I had 606 but I played with quite a few back in the day, so I have more than a passing familiarity.  But I don’t think it really matters, in light that if you ever pick up an music tech magazine you will never find a drum sound  regardless where it came from that has not been layered, compressed and processed to the point where it doesn’t matter if it’s the real thing (that almost no- one has or a sample).  Now consider that due to the nature of analog components no two  808’s sound the same, and more than a few folks have heavily modded their to get more bass, decay etc. So now it’s gotten to point that the 808 has been elevated to the realm of Plato’s forms. There is an ideal 808 out there, but YOU  can never have it.  But I’ll tell you what, the TR-8 more than fills the bill , and for 499 retail I’m sure it will become  a new classic.

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