Roland r5: should I keep it?

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bassdude
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Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by bassdude » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:27 pm

I just recently got a Roland R-5 human rhythm composer. I'd heard alot of good things about the R8 and thought this would be similar enough. The programming seems somewhat convoluted but I'm getting the hang of it. The main thing that's bothering me is the pads. I feel like I have to really hit these things hard to get the range of velocity I'd like, to the point where my fingers are hurting after playing it for awhile. I messed with the velocity settings a bit, but I still have to really smash these things to get full volume. Is this just the nature of this drum machine, are the pads worn out/broken, or do I have some settings wrong?

Also, any other opinions on this machine are greatly welcomed. I think I liked the Alesis sr16 better than this thing so far, even though this is supposed to be a better, more flexible machine. Thanks.

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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by tallowwaters » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:19 pm

The contact underneath the pads are probably old and need a coat of a chemical solution that removes oxidation and improves conductivity. I've heard of people using automotive defroster repair paint, though there is a solution made especially for key contacts.

I've had the R8 and R50 (and numerous SR16s) and don't see why you should choose. They're both cheap enough and can be MIDIed together for all sorts of fun.
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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by StepLogik » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:51 am

tallowwaters wrote: I've had the R8 and R50 (and numerous SR16s)
I didn't know Roland made an R-50. Did you mean the R-70, perhaps? I used an R-70 for a long time, that was a really good machine. Clean, punchy drums and fairly easy to program.

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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:20 am

tallow added a 0 by accident I think. The R5 was the "budget" version of the R8, smaller display, fewer outs, etc.

The R70 was a generation later.

Funny how much these machines were touted as sounding realistic but by today's standards they sound pretty artificial :?

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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by tallowwaters » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:59 pm

I meant R5, but owned the R70 as well. The R70 was a great drum machine.
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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by orlando56 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:01 am

I still own an R-5 that I bought in 1992 off the classified ads. I used it for years. A few people thought that my drums tracks with it were real drums. I got it out recently to jam with, and it didn't impress me too much by comparison with the sounds available on a computer now. It was a pain to program -- I had to sketch out the entire song on paper to get things right.

One annoying thing was that in order to get a part to play four times, you have to program the part, then program a repeat (||:), then Repeat X3, then an inverse repeat (:||) Counterintuitive!

I too found the pads to be erratic in their response, though this could sometimes result in some realistic-sounding drum parts. I never delved too much into the "humanize" stuff.

Two out of the five pad banks were useful for my style of music; the others, not so much.

I have a lot of affection for my old R-5, but given all the technological advancements I would certainly not buy one today unless I wanted to go on a vintage trip.

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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by bassdude » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:38 am

Tallow: I feel that even after cleaning the contacts, I'm still going to have to hit these pads really hard to reach full volume. The "kick" pad is the only one that feels like it's less responsive, but they all take a really hard hit to reach full attack. When using an SR16, I was able to dial down the sensitivity enough to where I wasnt smashing the s**t out of my fingers. It doesn't seem like this will be possible with the R5. Am I wrong? Has anybody else encountered this?

Orlando: Although I haven't gotten as far into it as you, I also feel that the programming is annoying and somewhat tedious. The "feel" options of this machine may be outweighed by the feel of its pads.


The sounds of this drum machine aren't so important to me as the interface. I realize that there are a million kits out there that I can download and control after the fact once I've laid down some patterns. I want something that I can play easily and dynamically as opposed to manually inputting beats in a DAW, or trying to control a DAW instrument from a keyboard. Maybe I should stick with and SR16 or something similar?

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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by tallowwaters » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:18 pm

bassdude wrote:Tallow: I feel that even after cleaning the contacts, I'm still going to have to hit these pads really hard to reach full volume. The "kick" pad is the only one that feels like it's less responsive, but they all take a really hard hit to reach full attack. When using an SR16, I was able to dial down the sensitivity enough to where I wasnt smashing the s**t out of my fingers. It doesn't seem like this will be possible with the R5. Am I wrong? Has anybody else encountered this?

Orlando: Although I haven't gotten as far into it as you, I also feel that the programming is annoying and somewhat tedious. The "feel" options of this machine may be outweighed by the feel of its pads.


The sounds of this drum machine aren't so important to me as the interface. I realize that there are a million kits out there that I can download and control after the fact once I've laid down some patterns. I want something that I can play easily and dynamically as opposed to manually inputting beats in a DAW, or trying to control a DAW instrument from a keyboard. Maybe I should stick with and SR16 or something similar?
I don't remember mine needing a beating to sound...

Look at the Roland R70 (which I found much more satisfying and intuitive than the earlier Rx series) and Yamaha RY30 to complement your SR16, both are sort of the vintage ROM based flagships of both companies, capable of immediacy and great depth. You could also check out the SR18 or Akai XR20, which operate identically to the SR16. Of course, there are always the SX series Electribes, which couldn't get easier, more immediate, or downright fun.
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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by bassdude » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Tallow: I no longer have the SR16. I'd like to own only one drum machine. The RY30 looks interesting, especially the large assignable pad at the bottom. I also like that it's been used by NIN, apparently.


I started messing with the velocity curves for the pads today, and was able to get a setting where I didn't have to pound on the pads really hard to get the volume I wanted. The only problem is that that with that curve, you lose all sensitivity in the pad. It's just full volume. I've tried messing with the velocity amount in various parameters, with seemingly no change. What am I doing wrong?

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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by tallowwaters » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:29 pm

You could always create a pattern with all pads at full volume and simply edit the volume of each hit in step edit mode.
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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by zoomtheline » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:41 pm

Got an R5 and I have barely used it. The pads are harder and more plastic feeling than most pads so I know what you mean but I don't think you have to whack them any more it's just that they are harder pads. Mine is sat on the shelf awaiting time to be bent.

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Re: Roland r5: should I keep it?

Post by bassdude » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:09 am

Ive messed with this thing a bit more and havent resolved the velocity issues yet. Id like to try cleaning the contacts before I give up on it. Has anyone done this, either on the r5 or something similar? Where should i start?

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