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Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine
Overall Rating
Submitted: December 20th, 2008
by IndiJammer
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Sound Quality
Ewww. At first I thought the sounds were static, sounding worse than the previous 660 model. However, I quickly discovered that you have almost endless opportunities to tweak the sounds and save them in the 500 user banks. Then you can add swing or ghost notes to liven it up. If you can't create the sound/rhythm you're looking for, you're too picky. The guitar sounds however, are not that hot. I found that you can shut off the amplifier style, keep the effects, and run your guitar through a clean tube amp or preamp to warm up the sound. You can do the reverse also, and direct the guitar sounds through the 880's stereo outputs into an actual amplifier. Very nice that Boss gives you 3 amp styles to choose from. Acoustic, electric, and bass. Max flexibility for sounds so I give it an 8.
The 880 has been reliable to me. It doesn't crash or lock up. So far, the only problem I ran across was RUNNING OUT OF MEMORY TOO DAMN EARLY. You can store MIDI songs in it, but I was only able to store 3 artist songs before the unit ran out of memory. That's 3 out of 500 song presets. Sad, since MIDI doesn't require lots of storage. Even when I did a factory reset and started storing smaller (4-8 measure) presets, I ran out of room at about 100 presets. This means I have to backup the 880 data well before I've used one-fifth of the presets. Not cool. That leaves me with deleting the 500 factory presets to make room. How come no one on the review boards has mentioned this? My other beef is the plastic shell. If Boss advertises that it can be used live, then DESIGN IT FOR LIVE USE. To gig with it, I built a protective carrying case.
General Comments
I am a solo musician in a variety of styles, and this is a great compositional tool. I found it easy to create any style of music or sound that I was looking for. The drum fills are pretty weak though. I've been playing for over 20 years, and this has become my main practice/songwriting tool. If it were broken or stolen, I think I would probably replace it. I say probably because I feel Boss could have done a better job, and maybe the next model will be an improvement. Things I want to see in the next model: LOTS more memory Metal or more durable shell MIDI through Better guitar sounds 3rd MIDI channel for sequencing
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