There are a couple of ways to assign different notes to sounds on the TR-8S – by using the TUNE knob and also by using the CTRL knob, both of which can be manipulated using the motion function of the TR-8S.

The TUNE knob
The TUNE knob values range from -127 thru’ 0 to +127 and this covers a tuning range of 2 octaves, with 0 equalling note C2#. It follows then, that -128 would be C1# and +127 would be C3# with the notes in being equidistant within that range. Assuming 12 notes between C2# and C3, then logically moving the TUNE knob in steps of about 10 or 11 (it doesn’t divide exactly!) would advance the tuning one note at a a time.

Hooking up the output of the TR-8 to a chromatic tuner however, shows that the correlation between the TUNE knob values and the actual notes is not exact.

-128 C1#
-117 D1
-96 E1
-85 F1
-64 G1
-43 A1
-21 B1
-11 C2
0 C2#
11 D2
32 E2
42 F2
64 G2
85 A2
106 B2
117 C3
127 C3#

These figures were taken using the factory sample OSC Sine Low, with a long delay, so the tuner could detect the pitch. It was sometimes hard to get the knob to stay on value, but I hope they are accurate. When operating the knobs, I can’t help but feel that it would have been useful if they could have been notched, especially at zero.

These notes will vary depending on the tone used, but the values will remain the same.

The CTRL Knob
One of the functions available with the CTRL knob is Coarse Tune. The value range for this is -24 thru’ 0 to +24, and unlike the TUNE knob, it follows a more linear correlation between value and note. Each increment of the CTRL knob’s value increases or decreases the pitch by one semi-tone, so the coarse tone setting offers a tonal range over 4 octaves.

To set the CTRL to Coarse Tune, select the Instrument and whilst pressing [CTRL SELECT] turn the instrument’s CTRL knob until the display shows COARSE, then release [CTRL SELECT]. When the CTRL knob is turned, the display will show Coarse Tune value.

Using Motion to Input Notes
Unless you have an ear than can detect the pitch of a note (which I don’t) then using the knobs to accurately input notes is tricky, even with using the coarse tune thru’ the CTRL knob. By using motion, particularly on the CTRL knob, you can set the note at each step.

  1. Select TR-REC
  2. Select an Instrument
    You can use any instrument for this, but I usually use the toms for things like basses, keys strings, etc., mainly as a I seldom use them. You can do this for drums or for both preset and imported samples.
  3. Key in steps on the PADs where you want the note changes.
  4. Set CTRL to Coarse by pressing and holding [CTRL SELECT] and turning the instrument’s CTRL knob so the display shows Coarse.
  5. Set MOTION [REC] on.
  6. Whilst pressing a PAD, turn the CTRL knob to set the required value and release the PAD. The value will be stored for this PAD. Repeat for the remaining PADs
  7. Turn MOTION [REC] off and press MOTION [ON].

Whilst this works very well, it’s worth bearing in mind that if the CTRL function is changed, you will no longer hear the motion for the coarse tune. It will still be recorded so it will still work once CTRL is set back to coarse, assuming no other movements are recorded and this is easily done if motion record is still enabled.