Roland CR-78 CompuRhythm

Roland CR-78 Image

The CR-78 is a really great little box from Roland. It's a classic analog Rhythm Machine, not a drum machine, and was the first to use a microprocessor. It has 34 built in preset rhythm patterns which can be varied at the push of a button. These patterns include Rock, Disco, Waltz, Shuffle, Slow Rock, Swing, Fox Trot, Tango, etc... Some are cool, but the ability to vary them gives you some creative control.

As for the drum sounds, the CR-78 offers 14 very electronic yet analog drum tones. Sounds include Kick, Snare, Rim, Cow Bell, HiHats, Cymbals, Congas, Bongos, Tambourine and Guiros. With 11 variation effects and the ability to adjust Tempo, accents, and fade in/outs the CR-78 is still capable of producing nice rhythms for use in ambient, HipHop, dub, and other electronic forms of music.

The CR-78 could also be programmed using the standard TS-1 Memory Write Switch or the rather hard-to-find WS-1 programming switch. They allow for pattern programming via a step-programming method similar to that on the TR-808. You program 2 bar patterns one voice at a time and up to 4 voices can be simultaneously played. Each of the four voices can be independently muted from the front-panel allowing for building up and breaking down your rhythm patterns. Patterns can also be set to fade-in/out. User patterns are stored to battery-backed memory.

The CR-78 also has external trigger using 24ppq V-Trig clock pulse. It has a very unique and familiar sound that has been used in all forms of HipHop, R&B and electronica, whether sampled and processed or straight out of the box itself. It's used by Underworld, Fatboy Slim, BT, Gary Numan, 808 State, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Ultravox, Jimmy Edgar, Genesis and Überzone, Blondie, Brian Ferry, Men Without Hats, John Foxx, OMD, and many others.

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21 Visitor comments
Benjamin Edwards
August 13, 2014 @ 12:13 pm
The Buggles - "I Am a Camera"
April 21, 2014 @ 1:19 pm
Tuxedomoon made great use of this machine.
R Bell Music
June 12, 2013 @ 4:04 pm
i have adored this drum machine since i was in my teens many *cough* many moons ago. it is one of those huge iconic machines that hasnt really had its upfront lime light like the 808 or 909. it just blended into the background and adorned hundreds of hit songs for decades.
it just has charm, bags of quirk and charm. i have a very good sampled version but alas, it will never be the real deal.saying this, processing the CR on a daw etc, is a pleasure. i have created a lot of custom sound sets from just this kit base alone
March 30, 2013 @ 10:07 am
Other recordings of Roland CR-78: Phil Collins ("Hand In Hand", "Tomorrow Never Knows"), Genesis ("Duchess", "Me And Sarah Jane"), Pete Townshend ("Cat Snatch", "Baroque Ippenese", "Ask Yourself", "Cache Cache [demo]", "You're So Clever").
February 5, 2013 @ 1:34 pm
At one time Genesis owned SEVEN (7) of these units! This is mentioned i think on the Three Sides Live video. They each had one for home and a few more for the tour bus(es)...

It's also to be heard on Missy Elliot's "Work It", and Blondie's "Heart of Glass".
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Rated 3.88 (241 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.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 4 voices
  • Sounds - 14 tones: Kick, Snare, Rim, Cow Bell, HiHats, Cymbals, Congas, Bongos, Tambourine, Guiros
  • Controls - Tempo, accent, fade in/out
  • Patterns - 34 preset rhythms
  • Memory - 30 programmable presets
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer : Rock, Disco, Latin
  • Keyboard - None
  • Control - Trigger out, 24ppq (0-5V) V-Trig clock pulse
  • Date Produced - 1978-81
  • Resources & Credits
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