IF YOU USE MIDI SYNCH AND SEQUENCE ON THE FLY, GO BUY ONE OF THESE!!!
I just picked up one of these babies and for being “the low man” on the X0X chain, it really surprised me. I admit the only reason I picked up a 505 is for my collection. Once I powered it up, I began to realize that this little thing can be very, very useful in my audio setup. You can feed the 505 MIDI synch and program patterns (switch between step and tap without hitting stop) on the fly, WHILE OUTPUTTING MIDI DATA! This means you can have an X0X type sequencer hooked up to whatever MIDI machine you want, and edit patterns while they play. You can set the MIDI note numbers and separate MIDI channels for each sound(16 of them) on the 505. So, you can control multiple MIDI machines with a 505. Throw some accents in the pattern and it will spit out velocity data. You can even change the accent(velocity) level on the fly! Just tap LEVEL, tap ACCENT (the LCD will display “accent” and the current level) then use the DOWN/UP keys to adjust. Pretty simple. You can also change the instrument output levels the same way. However, unlike velocity level, changing instrument levels does not affect midi data. This is good for combining the 505 sounds with whatever it is controlling. For example, I have my 505 set up to control my drumstation. I don’t want the 505 Bass Drum to sound when triggering my drumstation’s 909 Bass Drum. But, I want to hear the other 505 sounds. Just set the Bass Drum level to 0 on the 505. It still triggers the 909 BD but doesn’t sound the 505BD. Again, all of this can be done while playing/writing patterns while accepting MIDI synch. Even if you don’t write patters on the fly, you can set it to pattern play mode and switch between 96 (48 preprogrammed, 48 yours) patterns on the fly, just like a 606,808,909. The only thing it won’t do on the fly is switch between PLAY and WRITE modes. If you really need to, you can hit stop, switch modes then hit play again. Yes, you can hit stop while accepting MIDI synch. Then, hit play again to put yourself rite back into the groove. But, your timing has to be pretty good when starting again. You won’t go out of synch but you can get slightly out of sequence and everything will sound “flammy” when compared to other synched instruments. The down side would be the internal 505 sounds. Some of them sound pretty cheesy when played alone. On the other hand, some of the 505 sounds, especially the Latin ones (congas, timbale, cowbells, rim shot…), sound pretty good in a 909+303 mix. Very house. Runs on 6 AA batteries. Great for gigging! The thing is easy to use. I figured all of this out the first night I had it, without a manual. I haven’t played with song mode and a few other things. So, I’m still learning even more about the Roland TR-505 Rhythm Composer.