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Roland intros new portable TR-6S drum machine with USB/MIDI + more

Roland is introducing three new drum machines to its TR and Roland Boutique series today, highlighted by the new TR-6S. While one is a software-based version of Roland’s modernized vintage drum boxes, the other two are new portable hardware offerings with MIDI/USB connections for your Mac or PC. The TR-series has been a staple in music production for decades — arguably the series of machines that popularized electronic drum programming — and have in many ways defined the sound of some of the biggest genres over the years (hip-hop, dance, electronic, pop, and more). Hit the jump for more details.

New TR-6S Rhythm Composer

The new TR-6S is said to deliver “the same speaker-pummeling, window-rattling, body-moving sound” of its larger sibling, the TR-8S. Packed with authentic recreations of legendary Roland drum machine sounds including the 808, 909, 707, 606, and more, users can mix and match the tones at will while introducing custom samples and “futuristic FM tones to create exotic hybrid kits.”

Modern music production owes a lot the sounds the TR-6S is inspired by, but also the TR-REC-style sequencers those drum machines housed as well. The TR-6S’s 6 track sequencer employs a very similar on-board recording system with “real-time recording and modern enhancements” like “sub-steps, flam, step-loop, motion recording, and more.”

With the TR-6S, you get six tracks of advanced drum sequencing and the most iconic rhythm sounds in music history—all in a battery-powered box that fits just about anywhere. And like other Roland drum machines, it’s fun and inspiring. With the familiar step-sequencer, plus dedicated faders and knobs, it’s easy to craft custom beats with visceral, hands-on control.

The TR-6S also functions as a USB audio/MIDI interface, which makes implementing it into a Mac or PC based recording rig quite easy while still offering up the hardware vibes. It runs on four AA batteries for portability or via the USB cable.

The TR-6S will be available for $399.99 in November 2020. While the specialty, Roland TR-606 recreation known as the TR-06 Drumatix is set for release in late October 2020 at $399.99.

9to5Toys’ Take:

There’s just something about this boutique-style hardware boxes that offer up new possibilities for creatives. While the tactile, hands-on expression certainly isn’t for everyone, the resurgence of these standalone boxes over the last several years has been exciting, to say the least. There really isn’t as much bang for your buck with hardware synths/drum machines by comparison to the much more feature-rich plug-in versions, but that’s why Roland is also introducing the new TR-606 Software Rhythm Composer plug-in for your DAW. It is available right now on Roland Cloud and “offers tuning, decay, and pan on each instrument, the ability to overdrive the internal circuits, a built-in step sequencer, and direct compatibility with some of Roland’s other gear including the TR-8S or TR-06.” 

And don’t forget to check out Teenage Engineering’s new time-bending OB-4 magic radio contraption.

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