Why the Roland TR-626 is the ultimate 80s drum machine – Review/Tutorial/Workflow

I think the Roland TR-626 is one of the best 80s drum machines out there.

Check out my track here to hear it in a full production:


What’s not to like?
– Individual outs
– Tunable drums (the 707 can’t do that)
– Good MIDI specs
– Almost all the percussion sounds from the 727
– Great overview and easy to program
– Great classic kicks, snares, hats and claps

It’s also way cheaper than the 707 on the market right now. Get it!

Listen to more of my music on: http://www.espenkraft.com

My tracks pay homage to all synth-pop acts of the 80’ies like Howard Jones, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Thompson Twins, Tears for Fears, Ultravox, OMD, Euryhmics, Duran Duran, Giorgio Moroder, Jean Michel Jarre, Jan Hammer, Alphaville, A-ha and many more.

My synths, samplers and drum machines:

Roland JX-8P synth
Roland Alpha Juno 2 synth
Roland D-550 synth
Roland TR-626 drum machine
Roland S-10 sampler
Roland MKS-20 Piano module
Yamaha DX7 synth
Yamaha TX802 synth
Yamaha A3000 sampler
Yamaha RX11 drum machine
Akai S1000 Sampler
E-MU Emax II sampler
E-MU ESI4000 sampler
Novation MiniNova synth
Elka EK22 synth
Elka EM22 synth
Korg DW-8000 synth

This is my old school setup.

I’ve been a Cubase user for years and I have a fully rigged DAW for more modern work.

I use Audient ID14 and pipe ADAT optically from two Yamaha 01w digital mixers into Cubase.

Please join me on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/espenkraftmusic/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/espenkraft/

Please subscribe on my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/EspenKraft


Fantasy product says:

Excellent demo. I wish I hadn’t sold mine many years ago :/

robbelliii says:

If only Roland would have kept the grid display from the 707. That display has proven its value and is ubiquitous on most VSTs even today. Which sounds do you prefer from the RX11 over using the 626? Toms? Thanks for another great video. Nice touch with the old cemetery, must have been very cold filming that part.

Synth Waves says:

True 80’so sound. Curious if it alows longer patterns than 2 bars ?

Rob Schroeder says:

Again a great video Espen. What do you think about the TR-505? I have one and I love it!

CN300 says:

Best demo ever 🙂

Pekka Grönfors says:

Great vid as usual! Can you do a video on the separate outputs?

Doug Powell says:

Is there a virtual instrument that emulates this sound?

Juris Perkons says:

i wonder, if “80-ties” in music will ever disappear, like, ever? 🙂 Or is it truly became a bit like Mozart, Bach, Strauss, in some way 🙂 I think it is.

flimbosquest says:

Thanks for sharing! I like the punchy sound, especially from the snare drum :-). I like the Roland drum machines from that era (505/626/707/727), because they are relatively easy to understand, and you can get decent results quite quickly. (It still depends on the user, though, as you demonstrate here :-)). The later machines, the R-8(/MKII) and R-70, also great sounding, became a little more complicated to master, in my view. Thank you for another inspirational video, Espen!

Dreamers Avenue says:

Great drums and awesome video, Espen! 😀 Inspiring!

soepil says:

Great and informative video – you don’t need the manual after watching this! 🙂
I own both this and the TR-707 and the drums sounds are not identical to the TR-707, but very close. I don’t know about the TR-727.
The TR-626 is definitely the better option, as you say, with both drum and percussion sounds.

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