Roland R-05 review

Roland evolve their MP3 player line-up with the R-05

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  • Compact
  • Intelligent control layout
  • Good display


  • Poor performance
  • Headphone jack placement

We've reviewed a couple of similar models in the past, most recently the cracking R-09HR from Roland's brand Edirol and despite the different name on the front this seems to be in many ways an evolution of those.

It's relatively compact for a fully-featured portable recorder with built-in mics, but thanks to intelligent layout all the controls are accessible and easy to use. Our one mild dislike on the practical side is that the headphone jack is on the side of the unit rather than on the top, which seems to be asking for trouble with stress on the connector if the unit is in a pocket.

Against that, the display is very clear to read and operation is very quick, with no setup needed beyond setting recording level. Sampling rates up to 96kHz are available in linear PCM, as well as a range of MP3 rates.

Judged both as a player and as a recorder, this unit seems to fall short of the higher standards set by the earlier Edirol devices. The sound is basically all there, not markedly coloured and plausible enough with simple music, but it just doesn't seem to get much beyond that.

Playing tracks which we'd loaded from the computer, we felt that there was an unusually high degree of veiling in the upper midrange and treble, while the bass lacks real impact.

The built-in microphones lack precision and recordings made from the line input compound this, with at times what sounds like 'beating' behind sustained high notes.

Perplexed by this, we ran some basic lab tests and found that distortion is above average and jitter some of the worst we've seen from any digital device.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Voice Recorder
Maximum Recording Time16.33 Hour
Product FamilyR
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card
Brand NameRoland
Built-in DevicesMicrophone
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Battery Life1 Day
Country of OriginChina
Height25 mm
Width60 mm
Depth103 mm
Product SeriesR
Audio FormatsMP3, WAV
Form FactorPortable
ManufacturerRoland Corporation
Product ModelR-05
Product NameR-05 Digital Voice Recorder
Manufacturer Part NumberR05
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Affordable Pocket Recorder with Advanced Features
The compact R-05 digital recorder is easy to use, affordable, and packed with great features that raise the bar in its price class. Experience crystal-clear 24/96 capture, enhanced recording and editing features, and extended battery life (over 16 hours per charge). On stage, in rehearsal, at school, on the street, in the boardroom, whenever inspiration strikes, let the R-05 capture it with convenience and quality.

Package Contents
  • R-05 Digital Voice Recorder
  • Owner's Manual
  • Quick Start Guide
  • SD Card
  • 2 x "AA" Batteries
  • USB Cable (Mini-B Type)
  • Windscreen
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)140 g