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
December 18, 2008 @ 9:19 am
This was my first drum machine. Bought it back in the 80's. I spent a lot of time programming pacthes. I paired this up with a Juno-2 and a MSQ100. Fun times .... before the wife and kids arrived! I sold it a couple of years. I have a DR-660 and DR-880 now.
December 3, 2008 @ 5:24 am
Had one since new back in '86 only just sold it earlier this year. Cool and portable these basic samples will get you through a rough demo. But it taught me the rudiments of programming drum sequencing. I used it along with an MSQ700 to do a lot of recording. The samples aren't that bad really, it was an entry level unit with a heap of midi features.
November 19, 2008 @ 1:10 pm
If really Vince Clarke used this machine, im sure that he used to beat his cat in the head. The sounds are creepy and the separated MIDI channels for each instrument makes this useless box in a interesting sequencer.
Walter Slavik
September 30, 2008 @ 7:36 am
I bought a TR 505 new in 1986 to replace a TR 606, if you use the presets in an orderly manner for recordings, you can get amazing drum patterns from it. I used it for rock, punk, ballads and synthesizer music, also individual outs can be added for it , I still have the schematics lying around somewhere. I still use it now as a sequencer for ADDICTIVE DRUMS software and as a trigger for an Roland SH 32 drum sounds. I also own an ALESIS SR 16 and SR 18.
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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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