Roland CR78


Roland, 1978

I purchased my CR78 unexpectedly in January 2023 after stumbling on a Craigslist ad *hours after it had posted. The unit was the first I’d ever seen for sale outside of the large auction sites, was only a short drive from my house, and was list at an amazingly, amazingly approachable price. The description simply read “Unique Vintage Sounds”. The seller was a very personable retired musician who simply wished to see the machine off to a new home. He knew what the machine was, had purchased it new for band rehearsals, and had toured the country with it. While downsizing he found no interest for the unit within his own family and had even previously attempted to sell the unit to a pawn shop but wasn’t satisfied with their offer – I can only imagine what *that was, knowing what I was able to pick it up for.

The unit itself was remarkably tidy, aside from some paint across the pattern selection buttons and some typical wear to the wooden case. After a teardown and solid cleaning, I was pleased to find the unit fully functional. Even the original battery backup was installed; knowing that these, left alone, could destroy the machines, however, prompted me to order a replacement from Syntaur which I’ve since installed.

Oh, these are fun-fun-fun. I never anticipated that I’d find one, and as I’d previously found a CR68 locally I didn’t feel compelled to pay anything near market rate, but I’m so very glad to have found and played with this. The interface is logical and quick to work with; the sounds are stellar and inspirational, and the patterns vary from run of the mill to unexpectedly nice preset to the best you can get, by programming your own.

As mentioned, back in Sept. 2013 I also managed to pick up a CR68 from a local seller (thinking back, actually, the sellers were on the same street and less than one mile apart). As is often the case with such transactions, sometimes the sellers up being more memorable than the drum machines themselves. I recall this seller had one of the most impressive DAT collections I’ve ever seen (with wall-mounted display cases).


  • programmer
  • pattern
  • accessory voices + volume
  • fill and variation


  • ext clock
  • TS-1 footswitch write/start-stop/variation control
  • trigger out
  • ext. clock



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