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R8/R5 Human Rhythm Composers

You can do a lot with the Roland Human Rhythm composers.

Besides realistic percussion performances, you can run the output
thru a vortex and generate really cool counter-rhythms using the
tap tempo to perform on the beat or askew polyrhythms.

But for MIDI purposes, you can program a bank of pads so that the
pads generate a different MIDI note on to trigger an external MIDI
device or sampler.

I actually use the internal voices as well as the MIDI out to
trigger synths and other gear.

Since these drum machines have separate outs for various sounds,
and since the R5 has several bass samples which can be tuned, I've
directed the bass samples to one or two particular outputs, tuned
them up two octaves and then processed and looped them.  It sounds
like no other synth I've ever heard.

I hear Steve Tibbets supposedly used an R8 to trigger samplers on
"Fall of us all" but who knows?  Try it.

If you tire of the internal drum voices, you can use a bank to 
trigger drum samples (or whatever) on an external device.

The R5 is pretty cool as it has a unaffected rock kit, processed
rock kit (very 80s), electronic kit (ditto), jazz kit (very nice)
and latin percussion (congas, timbale, etc.)

As far as programming, there are two modes:

SONGS are a collection of patterns.

PATTERNS are a collection of rhythms of a particular duration.

PATTERNS can be a particular length (loop!) and time signature.

You can play patterns or songs.

And you can "play" the pads with your fingers while it plays as well.

Only limitation: 12 voice polyphony.  That's why the tuned-up basses
I have are vortexed and delayed for a swirling echo pattern.

anyway.  check 'em out.  I've seen R5's used for $175 (to think I paid
$600 for mine back in 1991 or so).

It's just barely on topic, but what the hey.