Thursday, 22 January 2015

Roland TR-66 Rhythm Arranger

Roland TR-66 Rhythm Arranger

The TR 66 came out in 1973. It's importance in the history of drum machines can't be understated as it marks the transition between the four drums of the TR series - (TR 33,55,77 & 330) and the ground breaking CR series (CR 68 & 78).

Though it still bears the name TR, standing for transistor rhythm, Roland moved from a solely percussion based pattern machine (with pre chosen sounds), to one where 2 patterns could be combined.. The top 16 patterns were (chosen with a dial ) a kick, snare and hi-hat. The bottom consisted of your standard percussion patterns: Waltz, Jazz Rock, Slow Rock, Cha-Cha, Bossa Nova, Rhumba, etc. that you could find on the earlier TR machines  These are selected by the buttons along the bottom row.

I really like the snare & kicks from this drum. All the sounds are warm & analog.The sounds include kick, snare, hihat, conga, bongos, claves, maracas, cowbell, rim shot, and cymbal. The TR-66 has been used by Depeche Mode and on the "Cha-Cha" rhythm on Roxy Music's "Dance Away" (1979).

Sadly, there is no way to sync the Tr 66 without modification.

The "Arrange Switch" offered two extra variations to the standard (AUTO) setting giving 36 patterns in total.

By combining the "Rhythm Selector" & "Variation Selector" interesting mixed rhythm patterns can be produced. When adding the Tempo, Balance control & the arrange switch, lots of variation is possible. A great little machine. !!!!

For more info on the history of Roland Drum Machines click here

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