Roland TR-505 Rhythm Composer

Roland TR-505 Image

A cheap (budget) drum machine. It features 16 drum tones which unfortunately, are only mediocre samples. Its memory contains 48 patterns and 6 songs. Unlike its TR cousins it does not have individual drum tone outputs. There is no drum tone editing capability either. It does however feature extensive MIDI implementation, even the pads will transmit MIDI data. The 505 works well with a computer and sequencer or as a stand alone drum machine. It is extremely basic and unexciting but does make a good starter or play-along drum machine. Vince Clarke and Aphex Twin has used the 505.

Roland TR-505 Image

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74 Visitor comments
July 27, 2014 @ 10:35 am
This drum machine takes me back ... my old band had one and at the time we thought it was the bees-knees. The drum sounds weren't great by today's standards but we used it for heaps of tracks ... I can remember sitting on the end of my bed painstakingly programming the drum pattern for "Blue Monday" (and we did a pretty good version of the song too i may add!!). Our vocalist was an electronics technician and he made a dedicated output just for the rimshot (or was it the cowbell?) ... anyway, we used this output as a CV "spike" to run the sequencer on my SH-101. Great days...
June 6, 2014 @ 7:38 pm
Can you program a pattern in 3/4 time eg waltz time ?
May 22, 2014 @ 1:32 pm
I had this tr-505 and the midi implementation is great! I used it to sequence my other synthesizers, especially my Roland mks-7...I didn't use it for the drum sounds, but if you know what you are doing with midi, you can assign notes to each pad and use it as a sequencer.
I don't use computer and vst , only hardware, my studio is my instrument.
February 12, 2014 @ 11:23 am
it's sort of a poor mans 707 & 727 in one box, but I love this machine. Cheesy and flat in a good way. If your into disco or early acid/house sound and on a tight budget, get it!
victor jones
February 8, 2014 @ 5:28 pm
hey BENNY you might say detroit techno is dated you might even say tresor berlin is un cool
but we know you listen to cheesey techno with your comment.
i have a tr505 it aint a tr909 but with a 5 output mod and it kicks [beep] with other gear.
also it is a cool unit to midi sync i have a quasimidi 309 and use the tr505 to control it.
i will never use daw pr a mac i am old school.
most people on vintage synth are here for the same reason
keep your vst
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.86 (510 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - Here's a short 505 drum fill & house loop, submitted by Dean Nye.

    Manual - Roland has made manuals for most of their products available as free PDF downloads.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 Voices
  • Oscillators - Uses Samples
  • Tones - 16 drum tones: Kick, snare, open/closed hat, hi/mid/low tom, hi/low cowbell, conga, timbale, etc...
  • Patterns - 48 user, 48 preset
  • Songs - 6
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer
  • Keyboard - none
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1986
  • Resources & Credits
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