|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 was released by Roland, in 1986. It is a drum machine and MIDI sequencer from the same family 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)
8-bit unsigned PCM data, with a 25.00 kHz sampling rate (non-linear DAC circuitry to simulate 12-bit resolution).(p5) The TR-505 is not a cut-down baby brother of the TR-707. Instead, it offers some major improvements including 16 digitally recorded PCM drum sounds (four more than the TR-707). It also includes five Latin percussion voices, eliminating the need to buy a TR-727 or PCM card down the road.
Summary of Drum Voices:(p9)
|Low Conga||Hi Conga||Timbale||Low Cowbell||Hi Cowbell||Hand Clap||Crash Cymbal||Ride Cymbal|
|Bass Drum||Snare Drum||Low Tom||Mid Tom||Hi Tom||Rimshot||Closed Hi-hat||Open Hi-hat|
Although there are 16 samples the TR-505 only 8 voice polyphonic. This means some samples are restricted from played 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.(p9)
There is almost no voice editing in the TR-505. The user is limited to setting the Volume, Velocity, MIDI Channel, and MIDI Note of each voice as a global parameter.(p14,40,42)
The TR-505 contains 48 factory sequencer patterns, organized into 3 pattern groups (A, B, and C). The drum machine also contains 48 user created sequencer patterns, organized into 3 pattern groups (D, E, and F).
The TR-505 features five basic modes, including the following:(p8)
- 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.(p15)
You can Copy, Insert, or Delete one or more steps in any given pattern.You can also 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. This results in each step representing a sixteenth note. Other time signatures can be programmed by changing the Last Step (length of patterns) and the scale. This can also result in shuffle and swing rhythms.(p24)
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 will only trigger the whole chain, not the individual pattern.(p27)
Keyboard and external control
The TR-505 can transmit and receive on MIDI channels 1 -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.(p51)
- Track Number message - track/song select
- Bar Number message - Song position
- Clock message - tempo synchronization, start, stop, etc..
Storing 48 ROM patterns, 48 RAM patterns, 6 tracks, and a maximum of 423 measures.(p1)
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