When it comes to drum machines, Roland have been in on the action right from the start. With the TR-808, they helped define EDM and hip-hop, while the 909 swiftly became a staple of the techno / house movement. But by 1986, old analogue beatboxes were making way (sometimes by being slung in skips) for the crispy ‘realism’ of digitally sampled drums. Everyone and their drummer cousin wanted a set of Simmons pads and a brain, and of course Roland were only too happy to provide. Cue the TR-505, a smaller and more plasticky drum machine than its big brothers, but sporting 12-bit sampled sounds that brought a whole new mood to the mix at an attainable price-point – and immediately found itself a niche with the emergent acid scene. The TR-505 has a thuddy great kick that responds very nicely to compression, a light and crispy snare sound, some really neat percussive elements (including congas, timbales, claves, rim shots and the inevitable cowbell), and of course those fizzy, zingy sampled cymbals that put the old brigade of drum machine in the shade. Factor in tight hats and some very 80s toms and you’ve got yourself a little powerhouse capable of shunting out big-feel beats on a garage-friendly budget.