​​​​In celebration of the 808 day, Roland has made its virtual TR-808 drum machine plugin available to try for free until the end of August.
​​We recently covered another 808 plugin (learn all about the SC-808 plugin by Yoshinosuke Horiuchi) and posited how many different emulations of the 808 does one truly need. However, if you’re going to be adding another one to your arsenal, it might as well be from the original source.

​​Roland has been quietly going digital over the last few years, releasing not only expansions for their hardware devices, such as the Fantom series of keyboards, but also creating emulations of some of their most iconic, classic gear.
​​They’ve opted for a subscription-based model – you can use all of these devices inside your DAW for $20 a month.

​​Their TR-808 emulation is an in-house made plugin that models the original drum machine down to its unique circuitry. This likely makes it the most faithful TR-808 recreation on the market, and it does sound the part. A blind test would likely prove that the difference between this and its hardware counterpart is unrecognizable.
​​While the plugin’s interface closely resembles the 1980 classic, a few brand new features have been added. For example, the 808 plugin sports a much more capable and easy-to-read sequencer and savable patterns and kits. The sequencer offers eight variations per pattern for longer sequences, with adjustable flams, sub-steps, and soft hits.

Apart from the minor functionality tweaks, the plugin looks and sounds just like you’d expect from an official 808 plugin developed by Roland. It’s a no-frills and no-nonsense virtual take on the classic 808 hardware.

​​I do feel like this promotion is a bit of a missed opportunity on Roland’s part, however. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to get the 808 sound, with many options being completely free. Making the plugin available indefinitely after you get it from their manager would’ve been much more likely to get users into their ecosystem.
​​As it stands, Roland’s official TR-808 plugin is a bit of a hassle to set up, and with a limited payoff. After all, you can only use it for free until the end of August.

Have you ever wanted to try the authentic Roland TR-808? To hear the real original sounds? Do you want to get to know the drum machine that changed music?‍ Take advantage of this limited-time offer and test drive the TR-808 plugin today. Enjoy from August 8 to 31, free of charge — no membership required!

You have to download and use the Roland Cloud Manager app, create a new account, and activate the software. If you want to continue using the TR-808 plugin after August, you have to either subscribe to Roland Cloud’s Ultimate tier, which costs $20 a month or buy a lifetime license for $149.

​​Whichever way you choose to do it, however, we hope you enjoy the month of 808 for free.

The official Roland TR-808 plugin is available in VST, AU, and AAX plugin formats for digital audio workstations on PC and Mac. Only 64-bit plugin hosts are supported.
​​Free download: Roland TR-808 (Available for free until August 31st, requires Roland Cloud account and manager)

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About Author

Emanuil is a writer and Bedroom Producers Blog contributor with a keen interest in music production.


  1. This is like the saying, “too little too late”! These days there are so many great freebies in the plugin world, that to actually offer something for free, as in a free plugin, it really should be free indefinitely! Of course I can’t fault them for offering this for a limited time, but honestly, if they want to have some “long lasting” recognition for their plugins, it would be much better to offer stripped down versions of them as free offerings from time to time and in that way keep people in the “loop” talking about them. (They aren’t exactly the “Adobe” monopoly of the plugin world, so to think that their name alone would sell their plugins could prove to be not the best of choices.)

  2. “You have to download and use the Roland Cloud Manager app, create a new account, and activate the software. If you want to continue using the TR-808 plugin after August, you have to either subscribe to Roland Cloud’s Ultimate tier, which costs $20 a month or buy a lifetime license for $149.”

    And for these reasons, im out.

  3. don’t forget the ts-808 from “Tactile Sounds”. yes, it’s only in 32bit still, so I hope you’ve got J-bridge or something.

      • Don’t forget Sampleson’s SUB which is 64bit and Mac compliant :) and if you want more accuracy RC-808 from the original tr808 makers I believe

  4. Well..this blows…after reading the whole thing and finding out it’s not really “Free”. Damn subscriptions…when did that became a thing with software? that was only for magazines or so I thought!

    • I kinda love subscription models. My Plugin Alliance annual subscription gets me well over 100 plugins for the price of one or two nice plugins. But you and Emanuil are right, Roland really missed the boat with this “offering”. Gonna have to pass.



    What a nice & humble little gesture in these times of crisis. May a second wave of this virus is urgently needed to HUMBLE certain kind of people & mindsets on the planet. *RANTOVER* Would have loved to get this as a free one, yet just another marketing ‘stayhome’ gag as it seems. *PASS*

  6. Dude. Bedroom producers doesn’t usually promote demo versions.

    Just went to the hassle of downloading this thinking it was free. : -)

  7. I tried Roland Cloud for a month and found most plugins good looking (lacks scaleable UI though), well sounding and extremely heavy on the CPU.

  8. Guys at Roland seem to be living in their own bubble or something. Not even my computer feels like installing manager apps, let alone me, plus account creation and whatever. And all for what? to simply try out the most common plugin of all for a limited time?!!! I don’t mind to do this when its an innovative or unique piece of software. Thanks for creating the 808 anyway.

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