Published by Rubstubs on 3rd May 2012
BOSS Dr.Rhythm DR-55
The machine itself is very light, but it still feels solid. All the buttons are hard plastic and feels tight, and the panel surrounding the unit is metal. All the functions seem very intuitive and makes me want to start using it right away.
The unit powers on when you connect the Jack cable. In play mode, everything you can do is right there, and all buttons does exactly what they say. Pressing play starts the 16 or 12 step rythm stored in the one of the 8 selectable rhythms, and loopes after completing the pre-written steps. The first 6 rhythms consist of 16 steps, this is typically 4/4, 4/2, 4/8 rhythms. Rhythm 7 and 8 consist of 12 steps, which gives the user the opportunity to use trips rhythms such as 3/4 and 3/2. The variation selector selects either A, B(both programmed within the same rhythm), or A-B, which plays first A, then B. Using the A-B function allows for 32 and 24 step rhythms, but then you won't have any variations within the same rhythm(duh). Changing the rhythm during playback goes smoothly, and workes very well; it does not start over again or anything like that, it just keeps on playing the next rhythm from where you we're with the last one. The hi hat selector settings are off, 8(th notes) or 16,12(th notes), and can be used at any time playing back. The tone knob is useful for shaping the sound the way you want it; I find the whole "kit" to sound better together when the tone is relatively low, since it almost work like a volume knob for hi hat, rim shot and snare. The accent knob adjust the accent on those steps that are programmed as accented(allthough it doesn't really feel like they get accented, it's more like a volume knob for those steps). Tempo knob goes from almost drone slow, to sick fast. And I guess there is really nothing to tell about the volume knob.
When I first attempted to write some rhythms on my own, I didn't do that well. With no previous experience with stuff like this, I had to take a look at the manual to get going. It was very easy: First select write mode, which rhythm to work with, and which variation, then choose with the sound selector what sound you're going to programme first. The four different sounds are BD(bass drum), SD(snare drum), RS(rim shot) and AC(accented, this is not a sound in it self, but during playback you can use the accent knob to accent the previously programmed steps). At this time, the red tempo LED will light. To programme the first sound through all the 16 or 12 steps, simply press the START button for every step it shall play, and stop for every step it should not play. After completing all steps, the red LED will light again, and you can select the next sound. If you don't want a specific sound in the rhythm, simply programme it to not play through all the steps, so you don't end up with whatever that sound was programmed to do in the previously rhythm.
The sounds are very simple, sounding old school and cool as they should be. I did not expect anything fancy or complex sounding when I got this machine. I do however miss some bass from the bass drum, but I don't consider this a problem.
It's functions are very limited, but it's still possible to use it for whole songs. I belive that this would be more of a fun thing to have around, than a useful tool for live or studio. I can imagine it being used as a special fun thing on wierd recordings or live, but not much more.. Maybe punk music..
Cool drum machine that sounds cool for what it could be used for. I can't really say too much bad stuff about it, since it's more of a fun thing than an actual useful tool.