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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71 Visitor comments
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!
January 29, 2013 @ 11:18 pm
Something I like doing with the 505 is taking the MIDI into my DAW of choice and then layering other sounds on top of the 505. The level on the 505 does not affect the level that is sent out via MIDI, so say you don't like the open hi-hat sound, you can replace just that sound and keep it out of the mix while still using the other 505 sounds.

You could use that idea with any sound, whether it be drum replacement, vocal samples, etc.

The 505 rocks and does not deserve a 2.
Carn Marth
January 21, 2013 @ 8:09 am
My old band used to use this onstage, and I could switch between patterns with one hand while playing keyboard (a Yamaha PSS-270 home kbd) with the other. I love the 505, and the snare sounds fantastic in a live venue.

If anyone knows specific tracks that use this machine, please post. Thanks. Which Aphex Twin and Vince Clarke tracks is it on?
Andrew Flinders
January 16, 2013 @ 5:02 pm
I REALLY am DISGUSTED with this WEBSITE. This is one of the Greatest drum machines ever made. ROLAND TR-505. It CHANGED Music. Everyone USES and LOVES TR-505.
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Rated 3.85 (500 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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

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