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
March 10, 2009 @ 6:20 am
Also used by Jean-Michel Jarre
January 12, 2009 @ 3:47 am
Used it in early 1980's. Bom ch ch Bom ch ch Bom Ch. It sounds better than it looks. I use sounds from time to time like today.
I play stuff from the New York group above. There are several songs with the CR-78. Environment changer!
Walter Slavik
October 25, 2008 @ 5:17 am
The CR-78 was purchased for the use with our band in the late 1970’s, it was programmable with the use of the rare programming attachment that came with it, it was clear sounding compared to the white noise that was produced by the previous unit, the ‘DONCAMATIC’
We used it live, for recordings, experiments and rehearsals, it was a good unit, but the TR-606 was introduced and it quickly replaced it, not that long after the TR-505 came along and that replaced the 606, etcetera.
These units were originally put out to help guitarists, drummers, keyboard players and groups when there was no drummer around or as a practice aid for drummers.
We didn’t have Trance, House, AcidRave, Hip Hop back then.
Forty years ago the CR-78 was a ‘god send’; all I have left of it are high quality sound samples for my software sampler, may the CR-78 rest in rhythmic peace.
Todd Sines
October 2, 2008 @ 10:09 am
Used by Tones on Tail.
September 19, 2008 @ 1:30 am
also used by the glove on their album blue sunshine
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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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