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

Lookup Roland TR-505 Rhythm Composer Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland TR-505 Rhythm Composer? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

74 Visitor comments
Walter Slavik
June 17, 2009 @ 7:27 am
This machine can sound very good with individual outs soldered to the circuit board. Each output may then have different "EQ's" and "FX" such as reverb added to them. A technician can "wire it up"! I do have the schematics in an old (1986) music magazine, but I have not been able to find it yet. (I have a large collection).
June 16, 2009 @ 7:13 am
A nice paperweight. The sounds are creepy, and the only good feature is its internal and full programmable sequencer.
June 10, 2009 @ 12:36 pm
I know its cheating in a way, but run it through some reverb and bass boost, get it modded with a trigger output or 2 for cheap and sequence a bass along with it. Sounds awesome!
May 16, 2009 @ 4:32 pm
I've been using one of these dinosaurs since the late eighties. I now use it to trigger a Yamaha RY9. The TR-505 is extremely easy to program in comparison to the RY9 (which has the most ridiculously convoluted programming process I have ever encountered - but the voices are great). The 505 is very limited as far as sounds go, but for it's ease of programming, the only thing that beats it is a computer.
February 17, 2009 @ 5:33 am
There are two things the 505 is great for: forget about the internal sounds and just use it for x0x sequencing to trigger a sound module or something, or to crack it open and have fun circuit-bending it. I use mine for both, and given how cheap they are, you can't really go wrong that way.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.85 (509 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
  • Images from

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.