Reviewing the Korg KR-55 and KR-55b Retro Analogue Rhythm Machines


I’ve just lately bought and have been utilizing each the Korg KR-55 and KR-55b on some new Anjelicas Child tracks. I actually loved the fingers on use and retro sound of those two machines. In case you are into digital, electronica, new wave, electro, synthpop, dance or pop music on the whole you’ll love including these sounds to your music productions.

Made in (1982), the Korg KR-55b was the successor to the favored (1979) Korg KR-55. Korg had been one of many corporations on the slicing fringe of analogue know-how when everybody was trying to recreate the sound of an actual drum package. For its time it was revolutionary and really straightforward to function. It had twice the allotted 48 drum packages of the KR-55 with a really useful swap for altering the swing time on a few of the patterns chosen. Nevertheless, on the KR-55 the entire patterns might use this swing operate since now the brand new machine had routed the swap for accessing the brand new financial institution of 48 preset drum patterns. Additionally, the drum patterns weren’t similar to the unique KR-55 with merely a brand new set of 48 packages added for good measure. For some this is likely to be disappointing. For others this expanded the patterns of an in any other case restricted preset drum sample association. Clearly, one would want to personal each drum machines to realize this.

Apparently, it may very well be used as a set off machine for different Korg synthesizers such because the Korg Delta. It had a foot peddle jack socket on the again for plugging in a foot peddle for stopping and beginning the drum machine and inserting drum fills in stay performances. The peddle got here with the unique unit as normal as I bear in mind. It even had six knobs for controlling the drum volumes.

It was comparable in some ways to the Roland TR808 analogue drum machine by way of its fats bass drum and electro like hello hats and snare and so on. So why did it not stand the check of time just like the Roland TR808 has?

Properly each drum machines suffered within the mid (1980’s) from the overriding want by artists to make use of the then extraordinarily modern digitally sampled sounds from actual drum kits provided by, for instance, the Fairlight Music Pc.

Nevertheless, what could have saved the Roland TR808 was the heavy use of the drum machine by the then new electro and hip-hop artists from the USA notably from New York.

Additionally, extra damming to the Korg KR-55 and KR-55b was the truth that the drum machine was preset and couldn’t be programmed. It performed in mono and had no separate outs for every particular person drum and didn’t have any midi implementation.

Regardless of its drawbacks, it has held a cult like standing. Many imagine that Depeche Mode used the KR-55 on their first album Communicate and Spell. To my ears I think that is true. Additionally, they’re fairly uncommon nowadays and make an attention-grabbing various to the accomplished to dying TR808 and with trendy computer systems the sounds and drumbeats may be simply recorded and edited in software program packages comparable to Cubase or Logic. You’ll be able to even get retro suits to extend the quantity of outputs the drum machine has. They are often introduced for round £150 or shall we say $200-300. It’s a fairly low cost worth contemplating what you are able to do with it when you implement it into a contemporary studio setting.