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Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine
Overall Rating
Submitted: December 14th, 2008
by JonR_1
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Sound Quality
Sound quality is generally excellent. The multisampling is good (IMO) - gentle taps sound like gentle taps, and hard hits sound like hard hits. (You can adjust the sensitivity of the pads too, of course.) 441 different sounds, though weighted too much towards crazy quantities of kicks (65!) and snares (113!) - crazy because you have so much control over the EQ and pitch of each one that you don't need that many. There's a barely adequate complement of percussion and ethnic sounds. (The 3 cajon hits are a nice touch though.) Personal moans: no snare-with-snares-off sound (I love that sound!); no mallet hits. Not quite enough brush hits. (Only 3 of those 113 snares are hit with a brush. You get one swish.) Bass sounds are mixed, but usable enough. The guitar effects and amp simulations (COSM) are OK - and you even get a tuner - so it's great as a practice tool, just on its own (with headphones). Not enough separate outs, tho, to make best use in a live situation. You can route the bass (or any particular drum) to a separate out, tho, which is handy.
Only had it 3 days! Casing is plastic (metal base only). I intend to use it for gigs, but then I don't tend to play real rough houses. I wouldn't want to stand on it or drop it...
General Comments
This unit seems designed for dudes who want to rock out (with maybe the odd wacky excursion into jazz or latin). Most of the 500 presets beat you round the head with their aggressively hard tightness. A few do show what else is possible. GOOD: sound quality; control over EQ, pitch, reverb. Too many snares to (literally!) shake a stick at. Great for noisy rock grooves right out of the box. Usable guitar effects. BAD: not ideal for the gentler or more subtle (or impatient!) user. No mallet hits (tho I don't know any drum machine that does). No offset. No groove quantise. The idiotic "Groove Modify" function. Why guitar effects? This is a drum machine! Boss should save the cost/processing power, or put it towards more subtle and intuitive control of timing. (Any guitarist who can afford this machine will probably have an FX unit anyhow.)
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