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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...Read More

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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
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 1-10

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4.0

Huge learning curve, but worth it...

By Dubious Cowgirls

from Minnesota

About Me Experienced

Ask me a question

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Functional
  • Good Quality
  • Great Sounds

Cons

  • Difficult To Use

Best Uses

  • Backup
  • Concerts
  • Practicing
  • Recording

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

I've owned a couple other Boss drum machines over the years and have been satisfied with them, but the additional features on the DR-880 made it worth upgrading. I play in a duo that will be using it live once I get everything programmed in. While there are many things about the unit that are pretty intuitive if you have used drum machines before, there is quite a learning curve with it, particularly as I'm trying to heed the "memory warnings" of other reviews as I program it. Instructions are not always as clear as I'd like in the operators manual, and while there are many "how to" videos on YouTube, it's still a challenge to figure it out.

A couple of complaints to Boss/Roland....a memory card slot or USB flash drive slot for additional storage.....really, how much more would that have cost to develop? Second, while the 500 presets are impressive works of programming to show off the capabilities of the unit, having a few that would be a bit more useful in everyday life would have been handy....you know....like basic walking bass 12 bar blues (not jazz blues in odd time signatures). Granted, it isn't hard to program that, but being there are memory issues that encourage using presets to conserve on it, why not make at least some of the presets basic stuff that can quickly be assembled into songs and a set list or two?

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(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Indispensable for Home Studio

By Allan Ram

from Trinidad, West Indies

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Functional
  • Good Quality

Cons

  • Difficult To Use

Best Uses

  • Backup
  • Practicing
  • Recording

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

My applications are practicing, composing and recording. The learning curve is definitely steep but rewarding. Most effective learning occurs when using the product. Realtime recording of drum and bass patterns is more efficient and yields better results than does step recording. Trusting ears not eyes is the best approach. Functions are expansive; patience and concentration mandatory for learning. The sound is very good for performing and recording.

Solid design and build. Durability issues not expected given proper care and usage.

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(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

I got a bad unit, and theres nothing I can do

By Nate

from Orlando, FL

About Me Experienced

Verified Reviewer

Pros

    Cons

    • Not Functional

    Best Uses

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

      I bought one of these about 5 years ago. For years, I used it only to play drums and bass on a bass amp while I played guitar. Recently, I wanted to add drum tracks to some stuff and was thinking about buying an e-drum kit. Then I remembered I had this. So I hooked it up to my laptop and...
      Only the left channel worked! The stereo output jack was flat out not working as well.
      Luckily, the MIDI output works still via a USB. However, that basically meant all the built in tracks and stuff were useless.
      Product support from Boss is mainly a FAQ pdf file telling you how great this product is. They clearly soldered it all wrong internally.

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Direct Sunlight killed my dr880

      By Johnny B

      from Chattanooga TN

      About Me Professional Musician

      Pros

      • Functional
      • Good Quality
      • Improves Sound
      • Just Amazing

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Backup
        • Concerts
        • Practicing

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

        Spent 100 hrs programming 75 loops that were very versatile and usable. Loved it! Start/stop with footswitches (live) you name it. Hooked it to an Edrum kit as the brain / worked beautifully. Playing on a flatbed in early October in direct sun swatting yellowjackets. Started shutting off. Next day wont boot up at all. Display just pulse blinks blank. No function whatsoever. Very expensive heartbreaking lesson.

        Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

        (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!

          Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

          (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

          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.

          Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

          (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

          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.

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

            (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.

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

            (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

            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.

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

            (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.

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            Displaying reviews 1-10

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