Roland TR-707, TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers Now Available

Roland sets the analogue circuits to 1985 with TR-707 and TR-727 drum machine plugins.


Roland today introduced the TR-707 and TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers, the latest in their Legendary series of software-based virtual instruments available via Roland Cloud. Two of the lesser-known TR models get their moment in the software spotlight.


In a discussion about the greatest Roland TR drum machine, it is unlikely that either the TR-707 or TR-727 would feature heavily.


Released in 1985, these were the first of the company’s drum machines to be powered by PCM samples, and now they’ve arrived in plugin form on the Roland Cloud.


The TR-707 was the more ‘standard’ of the two machines, giving you traditional drum kit tones. The TR-727, meanwhile specialized in Latin percussion. Both ‘7-series’ models came with 15 sounds.


Although they were sample-based, Roland has called on its Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) modelling technology to emulate the 707 and 727. This is because, as well as the PCM data, both machines also used analogue circuitry to introduce decay to the waveforms, giving the sounds a distinctive lo-fi charm.


Roland has used ACB to emulate this relationship, promising to deliver all the original machines’ sonic quirks and instabilities in the process.


The plugins also offer new features, such as editing of the individual sounds and the option to overdrive the internal circuitry. The sequencer has been updated with more features, as well.


Here’s what Roland say about the TR-707 and TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers:


“In 1985, Roland introduced the now-famous TR-707 and TR-727, the company’s first drum machines with all sounds based around PCM samples. The TR-707, with its orange livery, had the most advanced pattern sequencing capabilities to date and included 15 punchy drum sounds covering all the basics, from kick and snare to toms and cymbals. Its sibling, the blue-highlighted TR-727, was an all-out percussion powerhouse with 15 Latin-inspired sounds that could take any groove to new heights. Each unit was formidable on its own, but together they were unstoppable.


Taking their rightful places next to other classics in the Roland TR series, this dynamic duo of drums and percussion has appeared on hit tracks in many genres through the years, including synth-pop, acid house, industrial, electro, indie, alternative, and more. The software-based recreations reproduce their sound and behavior with 100-percent authenticity, coupled with modern upgrades that take them into all-new creative territory.


The playback engines in the TR-707 and TR-727 were primitive by today’s standards, with 25 kHz sample rates and 8-bit resolution (and even 6-bit for some tones). To optimize performance, Roland engineers used short PCM waveforms with decay introduced later in the analog circuitry. But this early hybrid approach had its limitations, with deviations in the digital clock and analog circuitry causing variances in the pitch and decay characteristics. This combination of factors strongly contributes to the charm of the TR-707 and TR-727 and their unique and pleasing lo-fi punch. To replicate these behaviors in software, Roland started with the original PCM wave data from the hardware. Next, ACB technology was used to recreate the interaction between the PCM engine and analog output stages, carefully including all its quirks and instabilities.


The software-based TR-707 and TR-727 also include many updated features inspired by popular aftermarket modifications. Users have deep levels of sound control unavailable with stock hardware units, including attack, decay, and tuning for individual sounds, the ability to overdrive the internal circuitry, and much more. Additionally, the sequencer features include numerous modern enhancements for infusing grooves with added detail and nuance.”


The TR-707 and TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers is available now for $149 each, and come as part of the Ultimate tier of the Roland Cloud subscription service. This costs $19.99 a month or $199.00 a year.

Find out more on the Roland website.

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