Introduced by the Roland Corporation as far back as 1980, the Roland TR-808 Drum Machine was originally intended for use as a tool for studio musicians to create demo tracks with. We have added some free 808 samples to our site for you to hear this classic device. Like previous Roland drum machines, it doesn’t sound much like a genuine real drum kit. The TR-808 came out not long after the Linn LM-1 (which was the first drum machine to use digital samples), however, the TR-808 cost US$1,195 upon release, which was more affordable than the US$5,000 LM-1.
Drum machines in general became an integral part of hip hop music as a cheap and simple way of producing a drum sound. The Roland TR-808 held specific appeal because of the ability of its bass drum sound to produce extremely low-frequency sounds.It also featured various unique artificial percussion sounds that characterized the TR-808:deep bass kick drum, tinny handclap sounds,the ticky snare, the tishy hi-hats (open and closed) and the spacey cowbell. The Roland TR-808 would eventually be used on more hit records than any other drum machine,and has thus attained an iconic status within the music industry.
As more realistic more powerful drum machines/computers appeared, the TR-808 was discontinued and it became easy to buy a used machine pretty cheaply. Its availability led to a second life as a cheap source of rhythm for hiphop artists in the mid 80s. The Beastie Boys breakout album Licensed to Ill consists mostly of hip hop rhymes backed by the characteristic TR-808 beats and samples from popular rock songs; its success led to a new surge in popularity. Free 808 Samples would come in handy we would say!
The sounds of the TR-808 were and still are very often used in drum and bass, hip hop, R&B, house, electro, and many forms of electronic dance music, albeit often unrecognizable after extensive processing. The use of the 808 drum by Double Duce on the 1985 track “School Breakdown” and 2 Live Crew on its third album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, established a foundation for sounds of Miami bass and southern rap. According to Derrick May, the TR-808 was also the preferred drum machine during the early years of techno. Distorted 808′s are common in Drum and Bass / Jungle.
Enjoy our free 808 samples!
Our free 808 samples are supplied in WAV format, suitable pretty much for all good music software, such as Cubase, Logic, Studio One, Reason, Ableton, Bitwig, Reaper, Pro Tools and even eJay probably ( lol ).