|Price||$318 US (1986) |
$150 US (2020)
|Synthesis type||Digital Sample-based|
|Storage memory||Patterns: 48 user, 48 preset. 6 Songs.|
|Hardware||Main panel features a simple LCD display, 15 buttons, 2 knobs, 16 trigger pads, 2 outputs for Left and Right/Mono, headphone jack, and tape input/output.|
|Keyboard||16 Pattern Keys|
|External control||Midi In/Out, Start/Stop foot pedal jack.|
|Audio sample||8-bit unsigned PCM data, with a 25.00 kHz sampling rate (non-linear DAC circuitry to simulate 12-bit resolution).|
The Roland TR-505 Rhythm Composer is a drum machine and MIDI sequencer released by Roland Corporation in 1986. It hails from the same family of drum machines as the Roland TR-909, TR-808, TR-707, TR-626 and TR-606. The drum kit includes basic rock drum sounds similar to those of the TR-707, plus a complement of Latin-style drum sounds similar to those of the TR-727 (the Latin version of the TR-707)
Samples in the TR-505 are stored as 8-bit unsigned PCM waveforms at a sample rate of 25 kHz. A non-linear DAC is used to simulate a 12-bit resolution.: 5 The TR-505 offers some major improvements over the TR-707, including 16 digitally recorded PCM drum sounds (four more than the TR-707) and five Latin percussion voices from the TR-727, reducing the need to buy a separate unit or PCM card.
Summary of Drum Voices:: 9
|Low Conga||Hi Conga||Timbale||Low Cowbell||Hi Cowbell||Clap||Crash||Ride|
|Kick||Snare||Low Tom||Mid Tom||Hi Tom||Rimshot / Sidestick||Closed Hi-hat||Open Hi-hat|
Although there are 16 drum samples, the TR-505 only has an 8 voice polyphony, restricting some sounds from playing simultaneously: Low Conga or Hi Conga; Timbale, Low Tom, Mid Tom, or Hi Tom; Low Cowbell or Hi Cowbell; Hand Clap or Rim Shot; Crash Cymbal or Ride Cymbal; Closed Hi-Hat or Open Hi-Hat.: 9
The TR-505 offers very limited voice editing in the form of Volume, Velocity, MIDI Channel, and MIDI Note of each voice as a global parameter.: 14,40,42
The TR-505 contains 48 factory sequencer patterns, organized into 3 pattern groups (A, B, and C). The drum machine can also store 48 user created sequencer patterns, organized into 3 pattern groups (D, E, and F).
The TR-505 features five basic modes, including the following:: 8
- Track Play - plays whole tracks (arrangements of patterns to form songs).
- Track Write - sequence patterns into tracks.
- Step Write - sequence patterns by stepping through each position in the pattern.
- Tap Write - sequence patterns by tapping drums sounds in real time.
- Real time - play patterns in real time by tapping the pads.
An accent can be applied to any position in a pattern and will affect all instruments triggered at that position by increasing output volume.: 15
Users can copy, insert, or delete one or more steps in any given pattern, and copy, insert, or delete patterns anywhere in a track (song).
Each individual pattern is a single measure long, The default time signature is 4/4 consisting of 16 steps and quarter note scale, resulting in each step representing a sixteenth note. Other time signatures can be programmed by changing the Last Step (length of patterns) and the scale, allowing for shuffle and swing rhythms.: 24
Two or more Patterns can be combined, using Pattern Chaining, to play as a single pattern. Each pattern in the chain occupies a pad, but it will only trigger the chain as a whole, not the individual pattern.: 27
Keyboard and external control
The TR-505 can transmit and receive on MIDI channels 1 through 16 and Notes numbers 25 to 99. It also contains a MIDI Omni mode allowing it to receive all MIDI data. The TR-505 responds to the following MIDI messages:
- Key message - trigger signal for the individual voice.
- Velocity message - Note-on velocity is both transmitted and received allowing more expressive.: 51
- Track Number message - track/song select
- Bar Number message - Song position
- Clock message - tempo synchronization, start, stop, etc..
The TR-505 can store 48 ROM patterns, 48 RAM patterns, 6 tracks, and a maximum of 423 measures.: 1
There are companies, websites, and magazine articles documenting a DIY process for circuit bending and modifying the factory setting of the Roland TR-505. An example of a few modifications include changing audio samples, voice circuit bending, adding individual audio outputs, adding CV outputs, adding pitch change to each voice, and adding circuits to randomize sequences.
- Gilchrist, Trevor (May 1986). "Drumatix Goes Digital". Electronics & Music Maker. 6 (3): 38.
- Lockwood, Hannah. "ROLAND DRUM MACHINE HISTORY: 1964 – 2016". Roland Australia Blog. Roland Corporation. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- Reed, Tony. "Roland TR 505 Rhythm Composer". RhythmCheck. International Musician. 12 (6): 102–103.
- TR-505 Service Notes. (Jun 1986). Osaka, Japan: Roland Corporation.
- Gilby, Ian (April 1986). "Beat Box". Sound on Sound. 1 (6): 24.
- Roland TR-505 Owner Manual, Osaka Japan: Roland Corporation.
- "Roland TR505". Making Music. 1 (1): 27–28. Apr 1986.
- "Roland TR-505 ROM Expansion". HKA Design. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- "TR-505". Burnkit 2600. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- "Project: Separate out for the Roland 505". International Musician. 13 (4). Mar 1987.
- "Roland TR505". Polymonial. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- Perna, Alan Di (Feb 1990). "Vince Clark". Keyboard Magazine. 16 (2): 41.
- Gilby, Ian. "Beat Box". Sound On Sound. April 1986. p. 24. ISSN 0951-6816. OCLC 925234032.
- Gilchrist, Trevor. "Drumatix Goes Digital". Electronics & Music Maker. May 1986. p. 38-39.
- Reed, Tony. "Roland TR 505 Rhythm Composer". International Musician. May 1986. p. 102-103
- "Roland TR505". Making Music. April 1986. p. 27-28
- Roland TR-505 Owners Manual, Osaka, Japan: Roland Corporation
- Roland TR-505 Service Manual, Osaka, Japan: Roland Corporation
- Alex Grahm. Rhythm Machines 2. self-published. 2018. ISBN 978-1983552588.
- Roland TR-505 Rhythm Composer | Encyclotronic - Review, Tech Specs, Images, Media, and Purchase Links
- Roland TR-505 ROM Expansion | HKA Design - Sample modification kit for TR-505
- Roland TR-505 | Burnkit2600 - Circuit bending and modding the TR-505
- Roland TR-505 | Polynominal - Review, mp3 demos, and manual
- Roland TR-505 | Vintage Synth Explorer - Review and media