Roland TR727 Rhythm Composer
The 707 Goes Digital - Nick Graham Explains
In appearance, the TR727 looks exactly like the TR707, except that it has blue trim. Switch it on, however, and the differences become more apparent - because the drum sounds of the 707 have been replaced by digital percussion sounds. A full list of these follows - Bongo Hi/Lo, Conga Mute/Hi/Lo, Timbale Hi/Lo, Agogo Hi/Lo, Cabasa, Maracas, Whistle Short/Long, Quijada, Starchime. A 'Qui-jada', for anybody who doesn't know, is commonly called an 'ass's jawbone' (what?) and the 'Starchime' is a kind of bell tree.
All these sounds are well sampled and produce a very pleasing effect, especially when a little short reverb is added. As on all drum machines, some of the sounds are destined to be used very little (especially the whistle, which is rather penetrating!), and I would have preferred to see a cowbell and a tambourine. However, the important sounds, i.e. congas, timbales etc., are excellent, and were used to death on the machine I had.
I don't think I need to go overboard on a detailed description of the TR727 - it's just like the TR707 to operate, and that's been reviewed many times before. However, a quick re-cap wouldn't go amiss, so here goes. Both machines are extremely easy to use - the matrix displays the contents of each bar simply and effectively, and virtually any rhythm, time signature or tempo change can be programmed in both step time and real time. Flams and accents can be added to any drum, and completed programmes can be stored on RAM cartridge (Roland M64C), which is great for stage use, or on cassette (much cheaper but slower to load). The MIDI specification is absolutely ace (whizzo, what!) and includes the ability to recognise messages concerning bar numbers, making life with sequencers much easier! (See the review of the SBX80 sync box for more details on MIDI-synching.)
Lots of fun is to be had with the TR727 Rhythm Composer, which adds a totally new dimension to your ideas on rhythm whatever drum machine you already use. If you're fed up with the bass drum/snare drum syndrome, then put a little spice in your life by investing in one of the these - who knows, you may even be able to persuade your bank manager to do the Samba!
More details from Roland (U.K.) Ltd., (Contact Details)
Review by Nick Graham
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