We're going to jump around the panel a little in order to prioritize the most important information to get you competently jammin' on CR-78. We've given the Programmer section, pattern selection, and Variation sections their own manual chapters due to the big-ish amount of information about them.

Master Volume and clip LED- Sets the overall instrument volume. Keep your eye on the Clip LED to prevent ugly digital distortion. The Master Volume and clip LED are the same as the Master Volume on the Effects/Mixer page, just duplicated for convenience.

Swing- When CR-78 is playing a 4/4 16-step beat, Swing delays every other 16th note by a by a percentage. If this doesn't ring a bell sonically, think of Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step" or imagine the ride cymbal in an old jazz tune... ting, tingtingting, tingtingting... that's swingin' baby!

A few of CR-78's preset rhythms are swung - Shuffle, Slow Rock, Swing (duh), and Boogie. Note that the original CR-78 didn't have a swing control; instead it created swung beats by dividing the bar into 24-step, triplet-based patterns (as opposed to the "Roland standard" 16-steps). There's no reason you can't create swung user beats in 24-beat mode (Subdivision setting of 6), but it's it's a little easier to swing a simple 4/4, 16-step rhythm using the Swing control.

Getting back to the Swing button, CR-78 cycles through each of the settings when clicked. Each one gets progressively swingy-er. Specifically the alternating first/second percentages are as follows:

A: 50% (straight rhythm - no swing)
B: 54%
C: 58%
D: 62%
E: 66%
F: 71% (maximum swing)

These are the "industry-standard" swing percentage offset amounts, originally established with the Linn LM-1 drum machine. These percentages weren't arbitrarily chosen - they conform to the available quantization values of a 48-pulse-per-quarter-note (PPQN) machine. Whack this search link if you want to geek out on how old-school drum machines and sequencers break down PPQN timing divisions.

Swing and the Factory Preset Patterns

The Swing buttons will affect the factory preset patterns (i.e. Play Mode set to Preset). But keep in mind that since swing affects every other 16th note, it won't have any audible effect on some of the simpler 8th note-based patterns (the A versions of Rock-1, Rock-2, and Rock-3, for example). That's because these patterns don't have any "alternating 16th" notes to swing, capiche?

If you'd like the factory patterns to play back in their original state, make sure to leave the Swing control set to A.


Clicking and dragging the Drag-Export button array to a DAW MIDI track allows the MIDI data of the current user pattern to be exported either to the desktop as a Standard MIDI file (when using CR-78 in standalone mode or within a DAW) or to a DAW MIDI track (when using CR-78 within DAW).

For more information on the Drag Export function, please see Using CR-78 as a DAW MIDI Sound Module.

Accent knob, LED, and triangle menu- Accent allows selected steps to be louder than the other for emphasis; the Accent knob controls how much louder accented steps are than the nominal pattern level. Accent steps are "built-in" to the preset patterns. For user patterns, accent steps are programmed like any other instrument by setting the Instruments Selector knob to Acc when programming. Setting the Accent knob to 0 effectively disables accents.

The LED next to the Accent label flashes when accented steps play.

Accent Triangle Menu- The inverted triangle menu accesses couple of useful functions.

  • Accent MIDI Note- Sets the incoming MIDI note associated with accent. This doesn't affect anything when programming CR-78 from the front panel, but its useful if you're playing from a USB/MIDI controller and/or recording MIDI notes into a DAW. When the menu is clicked, a submenu will open showing all MIDI notes from 0-127; simply click one to select.

  • Reset To Default MIDI Note- Resets the Accent MIDI note to default, which is MIDI note 40/E2.

Host Sync- Selects between CR-78's onboard clock and tempo control and external tempo lock from a DAW. The Tempo knob will gray out when Sync is set to Ext mode.

Host Sync is a global control - that is, its setting isn't stored with presets. However, DAW projects will remember its current position. More on this in the DAW mode section below.

Host Sync operates a bit differently depending on whether CR-78 is running in standalone mode or as a plug-in in a DAW, so paaayz close attention, please:

  • Standalone Mode- When running standalone, CR-78 uses its own internal clock with BPM set by the Tempo knob. The Host Sync switch defaults to the Off position and is disabled and dimmed.

  • DAW Mode- When used in a DAW, the Host Sync switch defaults to the On position. Start and stop is controlled by the DAW transport, and CR-78's tempo is locked to the DAW project tempo.

    The Host Sync switch is global, that is, it's not stored per-preset. This was done to allow sync while auditioning patterns from our kickass preset library. The potential downside is that some preset patterns have extreme tempo settings that might sound wrong or weird at your current DAW tempo project. However, in addition to "disconnecting" transport and tempo sync, switching Host Sync to the Off position also causes preset patterns to play back at their saved tempos, allowing the patterns to be heard as the programmer intended them.

Velocity- Enabling Velocity allows CR-78's sound volumes to respond to MIDI velocity. This is useful when using a DAW sequencer to control CR-78. The Velocity switch has no effect when using the built-in rhythm presets or user pattern programming.

Tempo knob and LED- When the Host Sync switch is set to Off position this sets the tempo of rhythms over a range of 20-300 BPM. Believe it or not, the original unit had an even wider range - up to something like 500 BPM, but we altered it because a large chunk of the knob range was useless (unless you're doing a Suicide tribute band). The LED glows solidly in stop mode, and flashes quarter notes in play mode - red on the one, and green on all other beats.

If CR-78 is being used in a DAW, the Tempo knob operates differently dependent on the position of the Host Sync switch.

  • Host Sync / Off- Tempo is independent of the DAW project setting and the knob works normally.

  • Host Sync / On- Overall tempo is determined by the DAW project setting. When Host Sync is in the On position, the Tempo knob becomes a multiplier - patterns play in sync with DAW host tempo and the Tempo knob divides or multiples the host tempo from 1/4 to 4X of the DAW project tempo. A setting of 5 = original tempo.

    When Host Sync is enabled, the Tempo knob multiplier position is not saved with presets, however, its position will save with the DAW project.

Cancel Voice- These are toggling mute buttons for the Cymbal/High Hat, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, and Cow Bell/Clave voices respectively. They're particularly useful for exploring variations with factory preset patterns (and the key to the CR-78 patterns heard in many hit songs). Multiple Cancel Voice buttons can be enabled or disabled by clicking and dragging the mouse over them.

Note that the Cancel Voice buttons operate independently of the mute buttons on the mixer page. If an instrument is inexplicably muted, check the Cancel Voice buttons and the mixer mutes.

Fade- This fabulously useful feature allows rhythms to, you guessed it, fade in and out, respectively, at your choice of two different speeds. The Fade function works in Pattern and Song modes. (Remember that the CR-78's original intended market segment was "Mall Organist," not "Diminuitive Former Prog-Rock Drummer Who Senses Oncoming Things In Air at Night").

Start/Stop- Starts and stops playback of patterns or songs. The QWERTY keyboard space bar will start and stop CR-78 when running in standalone mode. It's disabled it in the plug-in version because most DAWs use the space bar to start and stop the transport.

Continue to Programmer - Preset Mode section