Monday, 9 February 2015

Roland CR-8000 CompuRhythm Drum Machine - Description.

The Roland CompuRhythm CR-8000 came out in 1981.
It's without a doubt one of Roland's classic drum machines with roots that go back to the  famous CR-78 (produced in 1978) & the TR-808 (which came out just one year before in 1980).
The 8000 & 5000 also look a lot like the Korg KR-55 which came out in 1979. There must have been  intense rivalry between these two Japanese corporations and I suspect the CR5000/8000 was a response to Korg's KR-33/55.

The unmodified CR-8000 weighs in at 3.2Kg, with 12 knobs & 32 buttons.
I really like the the digital tempo display. It's very accurate at giving a precise BPM reading.

The digital display was not a feature on the slightly earlier CR-5000 
The CR 8000 also adds the user programmable presets and fills.

Unmodified, the CR-8000 has a trigger out (+5V pulses) so you can clock external gear.
Sadly there is just one audio output, but unlike the CR-5000, the 8000 has DinSync (24ppqm).
dinsync I/O at 24PPQ

DRUM (weight: 3.8Kg) Main panel features a display, a data encoder, 11 knobs and 32 buttons.
- See more at:
DRUM (weight: 3.8Kg) Main panel features a display, a data encoder, 11 knobs and 32 buttons.
- See more at:
Another advantage the CR-8000 had over the 5000 was the "Programmable Rhythm Section".
Here you can program your own beats, one instrument at a time,  in step time. 
The drum uses two 1.5V batteries to store your patterns in 8 slots when the machine is turned off.
The CPU used is a 8-bit micro-controller - a 8049/8048 chip. (40 pins)
CPU NEC D8049C232

There is a knob above that allows you to pick the instrument you wish to program.

To the right of the Program section is the "Voice Level". This essentially is a 6 channel mixer. The Cr8000 has in total 13 sounds so compromises had to me made with the mixer. The channels are:
1. Bass Drum
2. Tom Tom /Rim Shot /Snare
3. Conga
4. Claves/ Cowbell,
5. Cymbal/ High Hat. (the HH is unique...and one of the strengths in this machine)
6. Hand Clap.

Another advantage the CR-8000 has is the "accent" dial.

I think the unmodded CR-8000 sounds like a cross between the CR-78 & TR-808. It's often referred to a the poor man's 808. Though it really shines when you start to mod it.
For more info on the history of Roland Drum Machines click here

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