Roland & Serato Unveil The DJ-808
Having teased it over the last few weeks, DJ software giant Serato and musical instrument giant Roland have today announced the first DJ controller from Roland, the DJ-808. A professional 4-channel DJ controller with built-in drum sequencing, vocal processing, external instrument connectivity and full Serato DJ integration.

Developed via a close collaboration between both companies from the very beginning, Serato’s software expertise has been combined with Roland’s hardware pedigree to create what the two companies are claiming is the most advanced piece of DJ hardware yet. It is certainly the first time that music production and DJ hardware have been fused in this way, opening new creative opportunities for DJs who want to integrate live performance elements into their sets.

Commenting on the new product, Serato CEO Young Ly said, “Serato’s collaboration with Roland opens the door to an exciting new wave of DJ hardware that brings production, live performance and DJing even closer. The DJ-808 combines Serato DJ with the iconic Roland TR-808, and is the first controller from the new partnership. We’re the leaders in DJ software, partnering with Roland, a company with such a rich heritage and legacy in instruments and music production is very exciting. We’re bringing our collective experiences and knowledge together to create the future.”

While Roland’s CEO Jun-ichi Miki added, “Roland is proud to bring its rich history of musical instruments to the field of digital DJing. Serato, a world leader in DJ software, is the perfect partner to share this vision for the future of DJ performance. The fusion of Serato’s core audio technology, such as Pitch ‘n Time, and the classic sounds of Roland’s legendary drum machines, have created the first and only instrument for the producer DJ. This is an exciting first step for Roland into a new world – a world that will inspire the next generation of performers.”

Key features of the Roland DJ-808 include large-range 100mm pitch faders, RGB coloured performance pads, dual-deck mode to control two Serato DJ decks simultaneously and 24bit/96kHz audio fidelity. The controller has an integrated TR-S drum machine, which offers the iconic 606, 707, 808 and 909 drum sounds in a 16-step sequencer, which can also trigger the newly improved 8-slot Serato DJ Sampler. Also included is the unique Roland VT Voice Transformer, which offers a number of powerful effects, including pitch shifting and vocal key matching.

Only time will tell if this represents the next step in the evolution of DJing or if it will just be flash in the pan. The Roland DJ-808 will be on display at next week’s BPM | PRO Show, so why do try it out for yourself and make up your own mind.

Published: 09 September 2016