Roland R-5

Roland R-5

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R-5, Drum Machine from Roland in the R series.

3 user reviews
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Roland R-5 tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Roland
  • Model: R-5
  • Series: R
  • Category: Drum Machines
  • Added in our database on: 11/10/2002

We have no technical specifications for this product
but your help will be much welcomed


Roland R-5 user reviews

Average Score:5.0( 5/5 based on 3 reviews )
 2 reviews67 %
 1 user review33 %
Value For Money :
Audiofanzine FR03/10/2009

Audiofanzine FR's review

Roland R-5
(Originally written by Yvo2000/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
- Types of connections (audio, MIDI, etc.)?

Midi in/out/thru, six 1/4" TS jack outputs, one 1/4" headphone output, two Tape RCA outputs, footswitch, insert

16 velocity-sensitive pads

- How many presets and programs are available?

Five banks of 16 sounds, various presets. Very authentic sound considering when it was manufactured (the goal of this drum machine was to reproduce an acoustic drum kit). So there are no electro sounds! Nowadays the sound quality is far from modern software samplers like BFD2, EZdrummer, Battery, Guru, etc.

- Does the unit have an effects section?

No effects but you can output the drums via six audio outputs so you can mix them with an external device and use effect processors to shape your own sound. The sound is good enough for electro, trip hop, pop or industrial music styles.

- What are the features of the sequencer?...

The main asset of the device is the sequencer. Combine your R-5 with BFD2 or Toontrack EZdrummer/Superior2 and you get the ultimate workstation for authentic drums production. Free yourself from your computer mouse and you'll increase your creativity.

° Real-time programming with adjustable quantize function, velocity-sensitive step programming with 98 steps per bar! The small display shows all steps, like on the TR-909.

° Editing of complex groove templates you can assign to your patterns. Adjustable swing parameter with pattern assignation. (The swing of the R-5 is a bit "cold"... I miss a "humanize" function like on an Akai MPC2000). You can modify the sound and the tempo to get a human feel.

° You can create songs using the patterns, you can copy/paste and extract a part of a pattern, etc.

In short, the sequencer is ultra comprehensive and easy to use. The R-5 can be a professional rhythm creation tool thanks to Midi and a good drums software. Amazing workflow!


- Is it easy to make settings?

- Is it easy to edit sounds or effects?

- Is the user's manual clear and comprehensive?

Menus and sub-menus are easy to use. It's all a matter of practice until everything becomes intuitive.

Sound editing is easy and comprehensive (pitch, attack, decay, expression, pan, velocity curve, etc.) but I haven't used the internal sounds for a long time. I use the R-5 only as Midi controller.

Very clear user's manual. It details all functions and includes tutorials.

The only disadvantage is the display, which is quite small and doesn't show the movement of the cursor (like on a TR-808 or 909).


Do the sound presets fit your music style?

- Are they authentic?

As I already mentioned above, I don't use it as a sound generator but as a Midi controller. But for a drum machine of its age it provides good and authentic sounds. It's not for fans of the analog sound of the TR-808 or TR-909. Guitar and bass players looking for a good drum machine to play with will probably like it . On the contrary, people looking for authentic acoustic drum sounds won't find it good enough.

But the sounds can be routed to six independent outputs so they can be processed with a mixer and effect processors. Huge sound editing possibilities for more authenticity or experimenting. However it has a more digital sound of the late 80's than an analog sound of the early 80's. I don't really like the sound.

- Is the expressiveness good? (velocity and aftertouch sensitivity)?

No aftertouch! But good velocity. It provides the possibility to edit groove templates that affect the pattern playback in a realistic way, giving them a more human feel (that's where the name comes from: R-5 HUMAN RHYTHM COMPOSER. The results can be excellent.


- How long have you been using it?

20 years. It's the first music instrument I owned! When I bought it I was looking for a drum machine for my rap band! So I know this device very good and it has a sentimental value for me.

- Which feature do you like the most / the least?

I used it a lot the first couple of years and I gave up on it at the end of the 90's to use samplers instead because their sound was better for my music. I don't like its sound anymore. it sounds too authentic for electronic music and not authentic enough for acoustic music.

But I came back to it some time ago and I rediscovered how easy it is to work with it. I make a lot of drums programming for my different projects and it came in really handy. It's great to use this drum machine together with my favorite software tools like FXpansion BFD2 and Toontrack EZdrummer. I've produced many rhythm parts and grooves ever since I use them together. I first program the R-5 trying different groove templates and swing settings, and then I record that via Midi. Afterwards I fine tune the groove and the "humanization" using BFD2 or EZdrummer (which is much more limited than BFD2). The R-5 and BFD2/Toontrack make a great couple. I couldn't work anymore without both of them.

- How would you rate its value for money?

It was quite expensive when I bought it. But it's a Roland so it was made for life. I've been using it for almost 20 years so the return on investment was great. Could I say the same thing about the modern gear I buy every year?

- Based on your experience, would you buy this product again?

I bought an Akai MPC and many different software tools. But thanks to its velocity sensitive step sequencer and humanized groove templates, the R-5 is a fully professional and (still) modern tool. To give you an idea, I currently use a lot the R-5 and almost never my Akai MPC, which is obsolete compared to software tools. Even the plastic pads of the R-5 are better compared to the rubber pads of the Akai. But I guess thats a matter of habit and taste.

If my R-5 ever breaks I would do anything to find another one...

suntsu's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Good qualitprix"

Roland R-5
I will not be on the technical characteristics of the craft that have been voked by the past and which is available on the Korg website


At one starts to use something simple and intuitive that will not require more than 10 minutes, watch in hand to be mastered ... After it's creativity and 'inventiveness that will do the rest.


The sonorits are very good, the gaul Bass Drum is like that of a 808 ms that Tom (Alas only 2 instead of 3) The Hats are mtaliques and PCM are correct and have at least deserves to be the;-) In fact the only BMOL Snare Drum comes from the fact that very lo-fi but good for 139 euros I ground myself absolutely not!


I use it for few actually (a few weeks), but it's perfectly Volca Beats built-my setup. What I like the most is the Bass Drum and Hats.
I would do the same choice 10 times if need be!

Megomort's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Roland R-5
Technically, it is the little sister of the Roland R8, but technically very similar:
Midi out in thru
Tape in out
Foot Start / stop
4 out instruments out "possible connection to battery electro"
2 Audio outputs
Phone 1
Pattern: 20 plants, much more programmable I believe
16 pads available, and many effects possible with programming.
Note that you can program against a low or a low (with sounds very realistic)
I give 10, technically at the time of the BAR, it is clear that today there are better, whatever ...


I have a Boss Dr maintenat 670 is more comprehensive but not necessarily more realistic or easier to program ... I miss the good old rhythms already in my R5, easily programmed when we used to. In fact one galley a little early and then it seems logical and easy. Piano bar is the ideal tool song with programmable in advance.
The manual is blah, and finally it is not worse!


Sounds: This is the enormous strength of Bouzin! It was the good old Roland sounds in the box that's all ... and it does not feel the synthesizer at 100 meters ... Few conccurents still present on this point.


I use it for 15 years! not the slightest fault, if everything was like that!
Yes before I had tried to acquire a drummer, but it's bulky and it consumes a lot, I am separate cheap but I could still buy this sublime machine of boom boom Used (2000 F at the time). Seriously, it's a good BAR ultimately simple and robust. I have never regretted having yielded as my drummer ... what is not moral!

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Other names: r 5, r5

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