Oh my god two posts right next to each other.
So, I had a dream last night about what Roland could do should they decide to recreate the famed TR-808. The changes are subtle, but I think they would be helpful.
Firstly, the actual circuitry of the old analogue 808 is the same: same booming bass drum, same snappy snare, same not-sure-why-they-called-it-that cowbell. And, of course, everything else, including sequencer and individual outputs. Even the variations. Heck, I even still want the orange-to-white step keys. But if it's the same, what changes are there? Well, I partially lied. And, no, these ideas are not in any order. It was a dream, not a well-thought-out plan.
One thing I've always loved yet hated about the 808 was that the bass drum was always a sine wave. I want this thing to be used in rave music too, so why not give it a selectable waveform: sine-square-saw?
Actual drum samples would be a great addition, especially so that more people could use it. Let's face it, the 808 is really only used in electronic and hip-hop/rap music. I want a cheap rock band to be powered by an 808, but it sounds like real drums.
Make each instrument pannable. I've always liked differently panned drums, and you can do some neat stuff with it.
I know some parts of the 808 had this, but an AR envelope on each instrument would be awesome. I know, how would you do a realistic swell in volume on a tom or snare with just an AR? Well, since even the original 808 said "computer controlled," I don't see why those instruments can't have a rolled crescendo controlled with the Attack control. But, this poses a small problem solved with...
An actual sequencer! The way the old 808 worked was a sequencer that sent gate pulses to each instrument. We could set these up to be full gate controls spanning however many steps, but increasing in volume like a normal AR patched to a VCA. Maybe you could set the time between hits and it would just send those gate pulses at increasing volume, again over the selected number of steps.
Also, having a swingable sequencer would be fun. Yeah, I know not much music is swung, but hey, it's interesting!
Oh, and MIDI capability. This is the new millennium.
So yeah, that's just what I remembered. Questions? Ideas? Comment! And, uh, Roland, if you're reading this, first thanks and second PLEASE DO THIS!! Heck, since the original sold for around $1200, why not sell this one for $600 or so? Sure, it has more features, but consider what you do now and compare that to this idea. Heck, I'll even help you out if you choose to design this.
And uh, new TB-303, anyone?