It’s coming in the air tonight: Cherry Audio releases its first drum machine, a plugin emulation of the Roland CR-78, as used by Phil Collins and Hall & Oates

Cherry Audio has released its first drum machine, a plugin emulation of the much-loved Roland CompuRhythm CR-78. Released in 1978, this used analogue synthesis to create sounds that are more delicate than you’ll find in later boxes such as the 808 and 909, and can be heard on classic records by the likes of Blondie (Heart Of Glass), Phil Collins (In The Air Tonight) and Hall & Oates (I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)).

As you’d expect, Cherry Audio’s emulation promises to recreate the sound and look of the original, but it also adds 16- or 24-step X0X-style programming for a smoother sequencing workflow. There’s a song mode for pattern chaining and looping, swing and velocity features, and a preset library that gives you more than 250 additional sounds and beats in multiple genres and styles.

Cherry Audio CR-78

(Image credit: Cherry Audio)

Rather than use samples for the sounds, Cherry Audio has employed “modelled synthesis”, and if you open up the voice edit panel there are extensive parameter tweaking options that go way beyond the original. The effects and mixer panel, meanwhile, offers level and mute/solo controls, and the option to adjust the overdrive, flanger, delay, and gated reverb. There are effect send buttons for each voice, along with a master compressor and a six-band graphic EQ.

Cherry Audio CR-78

(Image credit: Cherry Audio)

This particular software emulation of the CR-78 was modelled on the machine owned by none other than Greg Hawkes, keyboard player and founder member of The Cars. "It sounds great, and I'll be spending a lot of time with this," he says, adding that "Cherry Audio has done an awesome job, and I'm proud to be a facilitator."

The CR-78 runs on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX and standalone formats and is available now priced at $49. There’s also a 30-day demo, and if you want to go beyond the extensive preset library, which promises to take the machine “from wild to mild”, there’s also a Compu-Rhythms for CR-78 Preset Pack that you can purchase separately.

Find out more on the Cherry Audio website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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