equipment - detail
This is my favourite drum machine overall, it was also the first one I bought. I think I got the last one in the shop when I bought this as the Roland R70 had just superseded it. I remember comparing the two and thinking the R8 was in a different league for ease of use. I had to have one! As a drummer I was well impressed with the pattern grid display, for someone who knew nothing about programming beatboxes it made the whole process a lot easier to understand.
It has excellent MIDI and editing facilities, you can use controllers to change sounds as they are playing and even setup sounds on a separate MIDI channel to span the entire keyboard range. This is great for tuned percussion and the like and doing unnatural pitch sweeps! This sort of thing is usually only available in a sampler.
I have all of the 11 ROM cards for it and they provide more decent samples to use with it. The sounds themselves have a certain quality about them, even though they are samples. I think they sound better than the equivalent ones found in the DR-660 or the drum sounds on the JD-800 cards, they sound too 'polished and clean', while the ones in the R8 (and the SPD-8) have a more natural quality to them.
I have used this in many of my tracks and if I'm programming beats rather than playing them into the sequencer from the electronic kit I will always use the R8. It is so easy to knock something up on it and is often used as a 'scratch pad' to get a decent rhythm going for a track.