Roland's pioneering spirit was evident when they released their CR78 'Compurhythm' drum machine in 1979.

The world's first programmable drum machine, it paved the way for the company's later TR808.

It could only be programmed if you had the optional programming add-on but nevertheless, it was still a milestone in the history of drum machine evolution.

As you can tell from the wooden veneer cabinet, it was still aimed primarily at organists and it came with the usual complement of preset rhythms (rock, waltz, tango, etc.). However, it also allowed for 'user' patterns to be stored that could be selected using the row of four yellow pushbuttons and the controls directly above it.

But despite its home organ bias, the CR78 found favour with such artists as Peter Gabriel, John Foxx and many others. The sounds were, of course, analogue and only bore a vague resemblance to their acoustic counterparts but you can hear the dawning of the TR808 in the sounds it offered.

The front panel also allowed a good deal of real-time interaction and you could mute certain voices (such as the cymbal, hi-hats, etc.) using dedicated buttons. There were also various fill and 'variation' options, again available by way of front panel switches.