Roland TR-505

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TR-505
Roland TR-505 4578.jpg
The Roland TR-505
ManufacturerRoland Corporation
Dates1986
Price$318 US (1986)
$150 US (2020)
Technical specifications
Polyphony8 voices
OscillatorN/A
Synthesis typeDigital Sample-based
Velocity expressionNo
Storage memoryPatterns: 48 user, 48 preset. 6 Songs.
EffectsNo
HardwareMain 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.
Input/output
Keyboard16 Pattern Keys
External controlMidi In/Out, Start/Stop foot pedal jack.
Audio sample8-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.[1][2] 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)[3]

Voice synthesis[edit]

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.[4]: 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.[5][3]

Summary of Drum Voices:[6]: 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.[6]: 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.[6]: 14,40,42 

Sequencer[edit]

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).[3]

The TR-505 features five basic modes, including the following:[6]: 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.[6]: 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).[1]

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.[6]: 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.[6]: 27 

Up to six tracks (songs) can be programmed using combinations of patterns.[6]: 16  Each song can consist of up to 423 bars (patterns).[7][6]: 18 

Keyboard and external control[edit]

The TR-505 consists of 16 individual instrument/ pattern pads.[7] The pads are not velocity sensitive, but can be modified by the Accent parameter.[6]: 51 

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:[3]

  • Key message - trigger signal for the individual voice.
  • Velocity message - Note-on velocity is both transmitted and received allowing more expressive.[6]: 51 
  • Track Number message - track/song select
  • Bar Number message - Song position
  • Clock message - tempo synchronization, start, stop, etc..

Storage[edit]

The TR-505 can store 48 ROM patterns, 48 RAM patterns, 6 tracks, and a maximum of 423 measures.[4]: 1 

The Tape interface (in/out) allow the Tracks and Patterns in internal memory to be stored on external tape.[5] Data can be Saved, Verified, and Loaded from the tape.[6]: 35,36,37 

Modifications[edit]

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,[8] voice circuit bending,[9] adding individual audio outputs,[10] adding CV outputs,[11] adding pitch change to each voice,[9] and adding circuits to randomize sequences.[9]

Notable users[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gilchrist, Trevor (May 1986). "Drumatix Goes Digital". Electronics & Music Maker. 6 (3): 38.
  2. ^ Lockwood, Hannah. "ROLAND DRUM MACHINE HISTORY: 1964 – 2016". Roland Australia Blog. Roland Corporation. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Reed, Tony. "Roland TR 505 Rhythm Composer". RhythmCheck. International Musician. 12 (6): 102–103.
  4. ^ a b TR-505 Service Notes. (Jun 1986). Osaka, Japan: Roland Corporation.
  5. ^ a b Gilby, Ian (April 1986). "Beat Box". Sound on Sound. 1 (6): 24.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Roland TR-505 Owner Manual, Osaka Japan: Roland Corporation.
  7. ^ a b "Roland TR505". Making Music. 1 (1): 27–28. Apr 1986.
  8. ^ "Roland TR-505 ROM Expansion". HKA Design. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "TR-505". Burnkit 2600. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  10. ^ "Project: Separate out for the Roland 505". International Musician. 13 (4). Mar 1987.
  11. ^ "Roland TR505". Polymonial. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  12. ^ 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

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]