Roland’s popular TR-8S drum machine has just received quite a significant update, V2.0 adds a simplified FM synth under the hood that enables users to synthesize drum, percussion and melodic sounds rather than use samples or the inbuilt classic TR-style sounds.
Obviously the TR-8S doesn’t have an interface suited to wrangling the immense possibilities of a full-blown FM synth, but Roland have cleverly implemented some simplified controls and a sound morphing system that opens up its own unique possibilities. These FM sounds can also be blended with the pre-exisiting classic TR sound synthesis engines as well as the Sample engine. That’s quite an interesting depth of sound design possibilities for a box of this kind — of any kind actually, that kind of power is usually reserved for the full editing possibilities of a DAW.
Additionally, V2.0 adds some new effects; Saturator, Freq Shift, Ring Mod, and Spread, which can be assigned to control knobs for shaping sounds on the fly. There’s a number of other workflow improvements too which can be found in the firmware changelog here. Alternatively, check out the detailed V2.0 rundown by Loopop below.