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Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine

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The Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine is an easy way to compose complex rhythms. Loaded with 440 drum and percussion sounds and 40 bass sounds fr...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

The most powerful and easiest-to-use Dr. yet.

The Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine is an easy way to compose complex rhythms. Loaded with 440 drum and percussion sounds and 40 bass sounds from the Roland SRX library, the possibilities are endless. With the Dr. Rhythm, it is easy to automatically add ghost notes or chord progressions. The Groove Modify feature allows various groove and triplet effects to be added. Intricately compose note by note or use the 3 EZ Compose buttons to quickly create original rhythm patterns. This machine comes with a Guitar/Bass input jack so that these instruments can easily play along. The Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine is complete with 20 velocity sensitive pads that are ready to help you create new and exciting rhythms.

FEATURES
  • Innovative EZ Compose feature for quick, hassle-free programming
  • 440 world-class drum and percussion sounds
  • 40 bass sounds with COSM bass-amp models
  • Guitar/bass input
  • Multi-effects
  • COSM amp models
  • 3 independent insert effects (EQ and compression), TSC (Total Sound Control) featuring 3-band EQ and high-quality ambiance 1,000 patterns (500 preset, 500 user)
  • Easily add fills, ghost notes, chord progressions, and more
  • 20 velocity-sensitive pads
  • 4 assignable footswitch and expression-pedal inputs
  • Individual outputs, digital out, USB port
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
BossDr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine
 
4.1

(based on 69 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (37)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (19)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

86%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good quality (6)
  • Functional (4)
  • Improves sound (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Practicing (5)
  • Back-up (4)
  • Concerts (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (4), Professional musician (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great Device - You just have to know how to use it properly.

Overall great unit. There's a reason why it's still being produced after 7 years on the market.
One thing Boss/Roland is good at is features. The feature set on this device,...Read complete review

Overall great unit. There's a reason why it's still being produced after 7 years on the market.
One thing Boss/Roland is good at is features. The feature set on this device, like many Roland products, is so deep that you not only need a manual to get at them all, but a tutorial. At the same time, the machine can be used in the simplest, most intuitive way possible.

EZ Compose feature lets you create patterns by configuring four parameters. That's it. You can have a drum/bass pattern up and going in less than a minute. Afterward, you can do a deeper dive and edit the pattern in step recording or real time recording mode.

Somebody mentioned that you can't export your drum patterns as MIDI. If you have a MIDI interface, you can easily record the MIDI output from one of your patterns to your DAW or sequencer in real time, so that statement was a little misleading.

Great drum, percussion, and bass sounds are to be had with this unit. It might be going on 7 years old, but it still plays drums. The Alesis SR-16 is still being sold too, and it's about a decade older than the DR-880.
I would have liked a metal case for this. It's plastic, and I don't like plastic gear. If you're keeping it in the studio, then I guess that's okay. But any trips to the stage are going to require a decent case. The buttons seem to hold up well. No other quality concerns.
Excellent value. I've spent far more money on drum samples and sequencer software that I can't take with me without my computer. The interface and workflow are perfect for a non-drummer like me. The biggest value comes from the amount of time I save when creating drum and bass parts compared to the complicated programming I used to do with my software sequencer and samples. I can have a basic song structure up and running in minutes.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

It doesn't import or export general MIDI files. It can't be upgraded. They quickly jumped on board to get into the DJ/Looper/Rap market and totally mislead real musicians on the...Read complete review

It doesn't import or export general MIDI files. It can't be upgraded. They quickly jumped on board to get into the DJ/Looper/Rap market and totally mislead real musicians on the features.

I'd like to say I'll never buy another Roland/Boss product as long as I live, but the fact is they make great gear... That's why I'm so shocked that they would produce this horrible piece of equipment and be so misleading in their marketing.
While the unit has some pretty good sounds, both bass and drums....it lacks editing capabilities in a BIG way. The memory is non existent, unless you just want to jam along to a loop.

As far as using this unit in a live performance situation, this is simply a click track with good samples. The DR-880 doesn't have nearly enough memory to handle the data that is required to record more than a few (6-10 Depending) songs.

Editing is a long tedious process using the data wheel and the DR does not have any short cuts using the number pad.

If you are inexperienced with MIDI, especially sequencers, it will take you forever to utilize what little this machine has to offer.
Boss makes great gear but "quality" is too general a term. What they advertise this unit as verses what it does...quality is poor at best.
It seems like a reasonable price for all Boss "claims" this machine has to offer... but this unit falls well short of having any bang for the buck.

I'd rather spend a little less on an old Roland Mark II Micro composer and find an Alesis D4 Drum Module and a decent Bass Module. Realistically you could put that package together for a lot less than the DR costs and have WAY more flexibility, memory and power.

Reviewed by 69 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

DR 880

By marcus davis

from Ontario Canada

Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

I own the DR 880 as well as the Alesis SA16 drum machines.I love the DR880 i love all the programming functions for programming my own patterns ,my only beef is the limited memory use.I had programmed 109 user patterns before the memory full message came up.Other than that its a great machine.

(11 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

By paul taylor

from Undisclosed

Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

It doesn't import or export general MIDI files. It can't be upgraded. They quickly jumped on board to get into the DJ/Looper/Rap market and totally mislead real musicians on the features.

I'd like to say I'll never buy another Roland/Boss product as long as I live, but the fact is they make great gear... That's why I'm so shocked that they would produce this horrible piece of equipment and be so misleading in their marketing.
While the unit has some pretty good sounds, both bass and drums....it lacks editing capabilities in a BIG way. The memory is non existent, unless you just want to jam along to a loop.

As far as using this unit in a live performance situation, this is simply a click track with good samples. The DR-880 doesn't have nearly enough memory to handle the data that is required to record more than a few (6-10 Depending) songs.

Editing is a long tedious process using the data wheel and the DR does not have any short cuts using the number pad.

If you are inexperienced with MIDI, especially sequencers, it will take you forever to utilize what little this machine has to offer.
Boss makes great gear but "quality" is too general a term. What they advertise this unit as verses what it does...quality is poor at best.
It seems like a reasonable price for all Boss "claims" this machine has to offer... but this unit falls well short of having any bang for the buck.

I'd rather spend a little less on an old Roland Mark II Micro composer and find an Alesis D4 Drum Module and a decent Bass Module. Realistically you could put that package together for a lot less than the DR costs and have WAY more flexibility, memory and power.

(10 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

DR-880 Short on Memory

By Ray Martin

from Undisclosed

Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

Great potential but disappointing as described above.
Great features.
While the DR-880 is basically a great machine, it does not perform as advertised. The literature claims to be able to store 500 user patterns and 100 user songs. After 21 user songs and 90 user patterns, I received a "Memory Full" error message. After doing some research on line, I found a number of other owners who received the "Memory Full" message with fewer songs and patterns than I have. This, so far, is my only major complaint, however, since I fully expected to use this machine as my full time back-up band, it is a great disappointment.
My goal was to use this machine for multiple sets. If it met this requirement, I would give it a ten, but since it falls short on memory, it is a lot of money with very little return on investment.

(6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

disappointed

By Christopher Fabiano

from New York

Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

First the good news, it does have good drum kits and bass sounds. Unfortunately it has severe limitations. First of all there's no drivers for Windows Vista 64bit. So if you have software on your computer and you want to play it throught you're DR-880 you will have to buy a separate midi interface. While you can import midi files into the machine, you can not export your drum patterns as midi files. You can only backup the DR-880 as a whole. It also has a very limited memory.On page 76 of the manual it say you can record up to 100 songs with up to 500 patterns per song. This may be true if your songs are not very complicated and have a lot of the same patterns that repeat over and over, but if your songs are more complicated you will run out of memory fast. I've loaded ten midi files into the machine and it's out of memory already. You really have to micro manage it if you want to save on memory.

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Device - You just have to know how to use it properly.

By Karl Houseknecht

from Palmyra, VA

See all my reviews

Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

Overall great unit. There's a reason why it's still being produced after 7 years on the market.
One thing Boss/Roland is good at is features. The feature set on this device, like many Roland products, is so deep that you not only need a manual to get at them all, but a tutorial. At the same time, the machine can be used in the simplest, most intuitive way possible.

EZ Compose feature lets you create patterns by configuring four parameters. That's it. You can have a drum/bass pattern up and going in less than a minute. Afterward, you can do a deeper dive and edit the pattern in step recording or real time recording mode.

Somebody mentioned that you can't export your drum patterns as MIDI. If you have a MIDI interface, you can easily record the MIDI output from one of your patterns to your DAW or sequencer in real time, so that statement was a little misleading.

Great drum, percussion, and bass sounds are to be had with this unit. It might be going on 7 years old, but it still plays drums. The Alesis SR-16 is still being sold too, and it's about a decade older than the DR-880.
I would have liked a metal case for this. It's plastic, and I don't like plastic gear. If you're keeping it in the studio, then I guess that's okay. But any trips to the stage are going to require a decent case. The buttons seem to hold up well. No other quality concerns.
Excellent value. I've spent far more money on drum samples and sequencer software that I can't take with me without my computer. The interface and workflow are perfect for a non-drummer like me. The biggest value comes from the amount of time I save when creating drum and bass parts compared to the complicated programming I used to do with my software sequencer and samples. I can have a basic song structure up and running in minutes.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great Sounding + Highly Addictive

By Nicky6Wire

from Long Island, NY

Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

I went into the store to buy the Alesis SR18 because of the features and the price was right for me. Got to the store and started playing with the Alesis thru speakers. Not great. THEN I started playing with the DR880 thru the same speakers!! The drum sounds are so much more authentic than the Alesis! Only had enough $ for the Alesis. Left a deposit on the DR880, returned the next day with the rest. Took it home, plugged in my guitar using the on-board FX and only stopped playing because I was getting a headphone headache. Became addicted. THIS is the drum unit to def have if you can handle the $ cost!

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

NICE SOUNDS AND USEABLE BEATS

By Blues n stuff

from Southern California

About Me Professional Musician

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Good Quality
  • Improves Sound

Cons

  • There is a learning curve

Best Uses

    Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

    I have had at least three different drum units and had to take them all back for what ever reasons. Finally bit the bullet and ordered this one. Spent two hours jamming with my guitar on it when it came. Now I'll have to read the manual to get the most out of it. I see some say the memory is short. Guess its time to learn to use tracks at my solo gig also. You will find yoursel playing along to beats you never thought you'd be playing to. I like the clean and jazzy guitar sounds the best that comes with it. Finally drum loops that are useable. To me at least. Man if they put piano chords on this it would be killer. Back to jamming.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Not bad, but..

    By Rob-xOniO

    from Northeast

    Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

    The DR-880 is best used in studio settings and not during live free form playing. There is limited provisions for adding fills on the fly and programming is somewhat daunting to say the least. I have owned this unit for over two years and still have difficulty getting what I need out of it; an easy to use drum machine for playing live.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great Boss Product

    By jeff_o

    from San Diego, CA

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Functional
    • Good Quality
    • Improves Sound

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Practicing

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      Realistic drum & bass sounds seem as if you are playing along in a real band. My first DR-880 practice session lasted four hours as it was difficult to stop having fun. My finger tips from guitar strings were sore for three days but that's a good thing! Haven't had this much fun since my garage-band days back in the '60's. Should have bought one years ago!

      (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Great Sounds/Needs More Memory

      By TheOldDog

      from Thunder Bay, Ontario

      About Me Professional Musician

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Good Quality
      • Great Sounding Drumbass
      • Guitar Effects Very Good
      • Well Thought Out Os

      Cons

      • Bought A 2nd For 20 More
      • Dvd Almost Necessary
      • Memory Maxed 20 Songs
      • Takes A While To Master

      Best Uses

      • Backup
      • Concerts
      • Practicing

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      The sound quality of drums and bass are first rate.
      The guitar input [am using a Godin nylon solid body]
      sounds amazing after tweaking a patch or two for it.
      Play the unit through two medium PA systems with added subwoofers. People at the Christmas party --your music sounds just like a CD playing. Like many, would like to see more memory or an upgrade made available. Bought a 2nd unit. Am addicted to this unit. Its made me a better player. Love creating solos over top of drum bass combo. Add a Voicelive 2 for vocals and you can sound as if 4 or 5 are playing at once.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      FINALLY...

      By Jumpturn

      from Denver CO

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      Coming from an Alesis SR-16, this thing completely and utterly blows it away. Sounds are outstanding, it's incredibly user-friendly (this is coming after three years of never quite getting the maze of menus in the Alesis). I don't want this to become an Alesis-slam, but I have to say that Boss has given me everything--instrument ins, GOOD sounding drums (Until this machine every drumbox I've heard sound mostly like crap), and an interface that's actually intuitive. Pricey (hence the 4.5) but so far worth every gol-dang dime.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Backing tracks to the max!

      By Sixstringer-VI6Dg

      from PA

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      This little jewel is all you need to make yourself into a one man band. In addition to having a top flight, programmable drum machine it has a full fledge GT-6 based guitar/bass/acoustic processor. And when you create something you really like, you can route the digital S/PDIF output to your recorder and make first class recordings with it. What more could you want?

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      ...so far so good

      By C.J.

      from Omaha, Nebraska

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      I bought this used at a local store for fun. It is my first drum machine. Admittedly, having performed for over 25 years, I don't know a great deal about programming, midi, etc. It turned out to have a use in backing me up with bass and drums for Praise and Worship Music with me playing electric/acoustic guitar/keys.The sounds(guitar, bass, drums) overall are very good. The manual is difficult (I have a degree in Engineering). Approaching programming this machine by measures does make it much simpler.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Mixed experience

      By Jay Kellum

      from Guadalajara Mexico

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      I have owned the 880 for three years, and have only now written a review. The unit does many things very well; maybe better than any other dedicated unit. The sounds are exceptional, and there are a lot of them. The manual is not the best ot the worst I have ever used, but buying the DVD that is available will help a lot. (Not from Boss) Unlike some other units, the acoustic bass is very good. If you buy the avbailable foot pedals, it can be controled on stage effectively. O.K., that's the good news. Here is the bad news. If you plan on using this device on stage with both the bass and drums, and you have placed your arrangement in a user slot, you will be severely limited. Maybe six or seven songs. Yes, that's right, very little memory. I called the mothership to ask about it, and they said it was a recording device, not a stage use device. I could tell they had had this conversation before. The thing needs some sort of memory; memory stick or mini disk. I don't know about you, but I bought it for stage.

      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Nice Rhythym Mate

      By Bobby B-rKVdm

      from New York

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      I bought it and like most of Roland/Boss equipment I own I like it. Got good drum sounds,guitar and bass processing to. IMO its a bit pricey. But all roland stuff is always over priced. Not difficult to program at all. One gripe is writing a pattern to memory seems to take an eternity. If you're considering purchasing, consider this first. NO sample loaded IC chip can ever equal the of realisim(velocity based) that you'd get with either BFD2 or Superior 2.0.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      SWEET PRACTICE TOOL

      By darthvedder321

      from San Diego, CA

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      I bought the Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine about a week ago and can't stop playing with this little gem. It has a ton of preloaded drum and bass beats to jam along with or edit to your own liking. I'm a bass player so I bought it as a cool little practice tool when you don't have a live drummer to play with. I like to play along to the preloaded bass tracks and then turn the volume completely down on only the bass track, while leaving the drum tracks playing and creating my own bass jams to go along with the drumbeats. It's a great asset to practice your timing at various tempos. It's also got such a variety of song styles and effects to run your guitar or bass through that you can really get creative with your jams! All in all, I plan on keeping this drum machine in my arsenal of toys for a long time to come!

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Great practice tool

      By Football Monkey

      from Kansas City, MO

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      That said, this is a fantastic practice tool. Take scales, for example. Now, you're probably going up the scale, down the scale, memorizing patterns (not that there's anything wrong with that). With this machine, pick from 500 bass/drum patterns, choose your progression, and you go from practicing scales to making music. Key, chord, and tempo changes are easy, and if you don't like the particular bass or drum sound, there are dozens to choose from. After trial and error, I figured out how to arrange and save some basic songs and progressions; more complex work can be done with this machine, but A) I'm not there yet, skill-wise, and B) I'd rather spend time playing. The guitar FX sound great, and are fun to play with; probably nothing a serious player would perform with, but the machine wasn't meant to be a back-up band. FX can be modified and saved. In summary: I'm an adult beginner; the people I know who play are either a lot better than I am and would find playing with someone at my level excruciating, or they're at my level and are still learning rhythm, time, etc. The DR880 allows me to practice against a huge range of rhythms and progressions, while keeping perfect time and tune, for as long as I want, with no complaints ("Folsom Prison again???"). Pricey, but worth it; this is the only drum machine (seems unfair to call it that) I'll ever need.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      highly dissapointed

      By riverbratt

      from bobcaygeon, ontario, canada

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      it just ran out of memory on me. i have about 60 song patterns recorded in it at this point, with simple bass and drums on all of them, most don't even have fills, most drum patterns are from copied from the presets, and bass lines programmed in by me.i read other reviews and knew memory might be an issue but already owned it for awhile now. So i was trying to keep it simple till i had my set list in for a one man show. Using 1 or 2 patterns per song for more songs, using the footswitch to change between them.If you use just for drums it is good, of are happy with bass and drums for 10 to 15 songs it is good. Programming has some quirks i still haven't figured out after 60 patterns. I will say i really liked the machine, until it ran out of memory. dissapointed it doesn't have a better loop system too.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      Sorry but this machine is not good

      By Richard Lopez

      from Minnesota

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      I play many instruments all my life, and I sing, I do my show by myself.I think this machine is too complicated and have a bad sound, also the loops are made for someone who does not to much about the latin percussion patterns. I think the sounds are not as many as I expectThanks God I can still return it.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      It's an OK Rhythm machine

      By Bobby

      from Austin, Tx

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Comments about Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-880 Rhythm Machine:

      The drum kits and bass sound are good. Once you get used to the user interface, and you have been openminded and patient about learning how to program the dr880, it's a good add-on for home studio and live performance. What is the most disappointing aspect about this product is that Roland was very stingy with the amount of memory it has. I was shocked at how quickly I received, "memory full" error. This is a real shortcoming with this product, especially considering how much it costs.

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