Liam Howlett’s synths and gear in studio and live.
The Roland TR-707 Rhythm Composer is a programmable digital sample-based drum machine built by the Roland Corporation, beginning in 1984. The TR-707 was a staple in early house music, particularly with acid house. Because the TR-707 offers a limited number of instruments sampled at 12 bits, its sound is considered dated by modern standards. However, it is still in use because of its versatility in synchronizing with other hardware and its fully featured interface, comparable to that of high-end Roland drum machines such as the TR-808 and TR-909.
The TR-707 has fifteen digitally sampled sounds, which include two individual bass drum and snare sounds that cannot be triggered simultaneously. The instruments are labeled as Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Low Tom, Mid Tom, Hi Tom, Rimshot, Cowbell, Hand Clap, Tambourine, Hi-Hat (Closed or Open), Cymbal (Crash or Ride), as well as an additional function labeled accent, which serves to modify the volume of the other instruments.
The TR-707 provides four levels of shuffle that operate globally on the rhythm, as well as flam that can be applied to any step. The device offers 64 programmable patterns, which are editable via step-write or tap-write, that can be sequenced together into any of four different tracks. Patterns and tracks can be stored on the device (providing that two AA batteries are inserted) or onto an optional memory cartridge with twice the capacity.
The TR-707 is particularly sought after by users of Roland gear from the same era because it can synchronize with other hardware via both MIDI and DIN sync, although it cannot do so when controlled by other hardware. There is also an output that allows the Rimshot to trigger hardware that accepts a voltage pulse, such as the SH-101. There are individual volume sliders and output jacks for each instrument group, which is unusual for digital drum machines.
Liam has told that this machine was used to produce drums for Invaders Must Die single. He has probably used it also in many other older tracks too.
01 May 1992 | The Music Technology Magazine
The Lone Raver
01 Feb 1993 | Future Music
01 Oct 1996 | Sound On Sound
Liam Howlett • The Prodigy & Firestarter
01 Mar 1997 | The Mix
Playing with fire!
01 Jan 1999 | Power On
Catching Up With The Prodigy
01 Dec 2000 | Future Music
01 Oct 2004 | Sound On Sound
Liam Howlett: Recording Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned
29 Nov 2004 | Korg magazine
Never Outgunned: Liam Howlett
01 Feb 2005 | Keyboard Magazine
Trim the Fat
01 Oct 2010 | Sound On Sound
Jon Burton: Mixing & Recording The Prodigy Live
18 May 2015 | MusicTech magazine
Landmark Productions: The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land
30 Jul 2019 | MusicTech magazine
Prodigy engineer/co-producer Neil Mclellan remembers the Jilted Generation sessions
» Buy patches here!