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
March 30, 2013 @ 10:18 pm
My first (and last and only) dedicated drum machine. Ya the sounds are a little cheezy.. so thats what post-production and effects are for. Great for 4/4 [beep] music soundtrax! :-)
Andrew Flinders
March 8, 2013 @ 12:50 pm
Please ignore the stupid Ratings on this website. Whoever writes these reviews and rates these classic synths is an ignorant douche. Good musicians don't spend their time rating -- and trashing -- great vintage musical instruments. TR-505 is a great machine, I have used it on many productions.
February 24, 2013 @ 10:12 am
HELP! my 505 won't let me write patterns anymore. all the midi functions seemed to have disappeared as well (not that i ever knew how to use them). what do i need to replace!?
February 11, 2013 @ 5:43 pm
later on, after the dreams of rock stardom were destroyed by the only guy with any talent moving away to Portland, I would only use the thing through a distortion pedal, or to trigger a D-110 module. The sequencing is great once you get used to the Roland style of building patterns, but the sounds really do [beep] . They bleeped the word S U C K again - how stupid is that?
February 11, 2013 @ 5:29 pm
my 1st drum computer, bought new back in the 80's - I wanted the 909 but my parents couldn't afford that one. I was in high school and had a goth/electro band and programmed beats on the 505 and played a Korg Poly-800 and tried to sing like Peter Murphy. It was a trio - the guitarist sounded like the Cocteau Twins and the bass player was just starting out - like me - so we [beep] ed except for the guitar. I hated the hihat sound on that thing so I just didn't use any hihats, ever, and I always asked the sound guy to put too much reverb on the drum machine. More reverb on the drum machine!
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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