DR-220 Dr. Rhythm

DR-220 Dr. Rhythm

Specifications
Polyphony –
6 voices
Memory –
32 preset rhythm patterns, 32 free slots

Naomi Bolton
Mon, 12/09/2019 – 12:03

The DR-220 Dr. Rhythm series by Boss is made up of two budget-priced drum machines. Both of these are digital, but the DR220A version features acoustic drum samples, while the DR220E version is oriented more towards electronic drum samples.

The development and manufacturing of the DR-220 Dr. Rhythm series began in 1985 and is based on their earlier DR-110. It features the same LCD “matrix” display panel as the DR-110 but does not make use of similar rotary controls. The LCD is unfortunately not backlit, which limits its use in low light conditions.

Next to the LCD on the front panel of the DR-220 Dr. Rhythm, there are 16 buttons as well as 12 pads. However, the four by three grid of pads lacks velocity. The volume slider is also located on the front of the device. Meanwhile, the rear panel is dedicated to the headphones out, mono main out and trigger I/O (pulse +5V). The device can be powered by an external 9V power supply or six .15V batteries. It’s not the most sturdy piece of equipment but did come with a padded silver-vinyl snap-front carrying case for additional protection while still allowing you to access the controls.

The DR-220 Dr. Rhythm series can manage 6 channels polyphony, but some sounds are channel shared. There are also some channel-shared restrictions, so some sounds cannot be played at the same time. The 12-bit drum sounds feature plenty of grit and hiss, which was pretty standard at the time, but obviously pales in comparison to the drum machines that were later released. Patterns can be recorded in real-time with these drum machines or alternatively you can enter them step by step. You are also able to adjust the accent and volume for each voice. The DR-220 Dr. Rhythm devices feature 32 built-in patterns, but you can enter an addition 32 that is then stored in memory, so you can use them again in the future. The DR-220 Dr. Rhythm has enough memory space for a total of eight songs. In addition, you can adjust the tempo manual from 40 bpm to 250 bpm.

Overall, the DR-220 Dr. Rhythm series is as basic as you can get for a drum machine. The sounds from these devices are easily sampled as each voice only occupies a 128 KB ROM bank, but despite being outdated and featuring no MIDI, their cheap and compact nature makes them interesting. Of the two devices, the Boss DR-22E is the more tend to be the more sought-after version.
 

Make

Year
1985

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Synth type

Interface features

Sound types

Price range

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Boss DR-220

Files
Boss – DR-220A Owner’s ManualBoss – DR-220A Owner’s Manual Download

YouTube

BOSS DR-220E Vintage Drum Machine 1986 | HD DEMO

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AnalogAudio1

Boss DR-220A Dr.Rhythm Digital Drum Machine

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Jaed Arzadon

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Mono Synths Worth Adding To Your Christmas Wishlist

Mono Synths Worth Adding To Your Christmas Wishlist
Naomi Bolton
Thu, 12/05/2019 – 10:24

GR-300

GR-300

Specifications
Polyphony –
6 voices
Oscillators –
2 oscillators per voice
Modulation –
-24 dB per octave, with envelope modulation

Naomi Bolton
Tue, 11/26/2019 – 12:07

The GR-300 is an analog guitar synthesizer released by Roland Corporation back in 1980 and continued to be one of the best pieces of analog guitar synthesis equipment for a long time. Roland advertised the GR-300 as a synthesizer that is able to produce effects and nuances that were impossible for the keyboard synthesizers of the time to easily produce. In fact, in order to produce the effects delivered by this synth you would actually need six octave shifters, six compressors, six chorus machines, six distortion units, six phase shifters and much more. Best of all, the major functions of the GR-300 are all controlled via your feet switches, which means you don’t even have to use your hands to operate it. Not bad for a synth that can produce anything from simple or complex solo sounds to huge band or orchestra sounds. Of course, this also meant that the GR-300 was great for live performances. Also, it’s possible to connect attachments between the GR-300 and an external amplifier, so you can use chorus, flangers, phase shifters and any other devices designed to work with synths.

What set the GR-300 apart from the competition was the fact that it could produce stable effects for virtually all styles of guitar playing. This includes hammering, chopping, harmonics, glissandos and more. This is something that was impossible to accomplish before the release of the GR-300. This was a big step up from the GR-500, it’s predecessor, which suffered from serious tracking issues that limited its usefulness. The only thing that you had to keep in mind was to keep any fluorescent lamps, neon lights, and high power transformers away from the GR-300 as these would produce high noise levels in the synth.

The GR-300 has a rugged appearance, which is good for something that is going to be on the floor most of the time. In terms of features and specifications, this synth offers 6-voice polyphony, 2 oscillators per voice and VCOs that are directly harmonically locked to each string. However, these can still be tuned separately as well. It has an LFO for vibrato effects and can output either the guitar, the synth, or a mix of these two. One of the most notable users of the Roland GR-300 is Pat Metheny, but other notable users include Andy Summers (The Police), Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew (King Crimson), and Pete Townshend (The Who).

Make

Year
1980

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Sound types

Price range

Image
Roland GR-300

Files
Roland Polyphonic Guitar Synthesizer GR-300 Owner’s Manual Roland Polyphonic Guitar Synthesizer GR-300 Owner’s Manual

YouTube

Roland GR-300 Function Test – Part One

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WayneJoness

Vintage Roland G303 guitar and Gr300 Synthesizer demo

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Marco Tiraboschi

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SP-404

SP-404

Specifications
Polyphony –
12
Control –
MIDI In
Sequencer –
Pattern Sequencer
Patterns –
96 (12 patterns x 8 banks)
Effects –
29 types
Memory –
Internal Memory: 24 samples, 24 patterns. Compact Flash: 96 Samples, 96 Patterns

Naomi Bolton
Tue, 11/19/2019 – 12:42

Roland released the SP-404 in 2005 as the successor to their SP-303. For the SP-404 Roland took everything that made the SP-303 sampler so popular and built on that foundation by adding a lot more features. The now-discontinued sampler was succeeded a few years later by the SP-555 as well as an upgrade in the form of the Roland SP-404SX Linear Wave Sampler. The most recent update of the SP-404 is the 2017 Roland SP-404A Linear Wave Sampler.

The SP-404 has all the features you would traditionally expect from a Roland groovebox and can record audio directly using its line input jacks or MIC jack. Also, it has line output jacks, a headphones jack, and MIDI IN connector. The SP-404 is only 7 inches wide and 2-7/8 inches high, with a weight of 2lbs. 14 oz., so it is very compact. It can operate on 6 AA batteries or via an AC adaptor.

Despite its portable size, the SP-404 is not lacking in features. On the front panel, you’ll find the volume knob, for adjusting the volume of the line output and the headphones, as well as three control knobs for adjusting parameters that are assigned to them. This section of the SP-404 also has a PEAK indicator to help you adjust the level when sampling. The middle of the device sports a seven segments, three characters LED display for showing information like the tempo of the sample or pattern, values of settings, error messages, and more. The effect buttons can be found on either side of the display, and the display also features illumination by blinking in sync with the tempo of the pattern. The pattern sequencer and sample edit buttons can be found below the screen as well as the bank buttons, and 12 pads.

In terms of features, the SP-404 offers 12 voices of polyphony, realtime loop recording, and sample-editing tools. It has 29 effects, which include BMP Looper, Subsonic, reverb, delay, Voice Transformer, and more. The sequencer of the SP-404 is easy to use and allows you to record up to 8000 notes in realtime. You can store up to 24 patterns in the internal memory and an additional 96 patterns using the CompactFlash card slot. It can hold up to 24 samples in memory simultaneously and up to 772 minutes of sampling time with a 1GB CompactFlash Card.

Make

Year
2005

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Sound types

Price range

Image
Roland SP-404

Files
Roland SP-404 User ManualRoland SP-404 User Manual

YouTube

Roland SP404 Sampler Demo

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PMTVUK

Roland SP-404 Official Demo Video

by

Olby

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Vintage Synthesizers With Modern Versions Part 2

Vintage Synthesizers With Modern Versions Part 2
Naomi Bolton
Mon, 11/18/2019 – 09:49

RS-50

RS-50

Specifications
Polyphony –
64 voices
Multitimbral –
16 parts
Oscillators –
2
Waveforms –
ROM
Filters –
12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), Band Pass, Comb, High Pass, Low Pass, Resonance
LFO –
2 LFO with sample & hold, saw up, saw down, square, triangle, clocked, freerun, keysync, and delay
Envelopes –
2 envelopes with attack, decay, sustain, release
Controls –
MIDI In/Out/Thru
Sequencer –
Phrase sequencer, 473 patterns
Arpeggiator –
Phrase/Arpeggio template with over 200 selections
Effects –
47 types of multi-effects, 8 types of reverb, 8 types of chorus
Keyboard –
61 keys with velocity and aftertouch
Memory –
128 user patches

Naomi Bolton
Thu, 11/14/2019 – 12:17

The RS-50 is a 2003 synthesizer by Roland that was released at an entry-level price and aimed at musicians who want to “forget about MIDI and focus on playing.” Roland touted the all-new collection fo CD-quality sounds sported by the RS-50 as well as the performance features, such as simple Direct Access buttons for patch selection as highlights of this synth.

The RS-50 was a decent option for musicians who cared more about easy live performances than endless tweaking in their studio. Roland focussed most on refining the sounds that are important for a live keyboard, such as piano, strings, brass, and organ. For patch editing on the RS-50, you can choose from the pre-programmed instrumental sounds and then adjust the brightness, attack and decay, modulation, and effects. It is also possible to layer two tones if you wanted to create a rich sound. The RS-50 is also compact and light, to ensure you can easily carry it to wherever you need to perform. It weighs only 12 lbs. 3 oz. and is 40-11/16 inches wide with a depth of 11-5/8 inches.

The Roland RS-50 has a 61 key keyboard with velocity, and it also supports chord memory function to play a registered chord via a single key. It also features Phrase/Arpeggio template with over 200 selections and a rhythm guide metronome with preset patterns and variations. Also, the RS-50 has a pitch bend, modulation wheel, and D-Beam controller. Included with the synth is editing software for both the PC and Mac.

In terms of technical specifications, the Roland RS-50 has 64 voices maximum polyphony and 16 multitimbral parts. Two tones can be assigned to each part and can be split or layered. It has 32 MB of wave memory and 640 original tones in its preset memory. For patches, it has 384 original patches and 256 General MIDI 2 patches. This synth also comes with two rhythm sets and eight performances in preset memory. It has 128 patches, two rhythm sets, and eight performances available in user memory. For effects, users have access to 47 types of multi-effects, eight types of reverb, and eight types of chorus.

The RS-50 has a backlit LCD that can show 20 characters on two lines. For connectors, it has L/Mono and R output jacks, a headphones jack, MIDI In, Out connectors, a control pedal jack and hold pedal jack.

Make

Year
2003

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
Roland RS-50

Files
Type
Link

YouTube

Roland rs-50

by

Santiago Escatel

Debasis Rout.Roland RS50.

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Debasis Rout

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SonicCell

SonicCell

Specifications
Polyphony –
128 voices
Multitimbral –
6 parts
Oscillators –
4
Waveforms –
ROM
Filters –
12 dB Slope (2-pole), 24 dB (4-pole), Band Pass, Comb, High Pass, Low Pass
LFO –
2 LFO with Sample & Hold, Saw Up, Saw Down, Sine, Square, Triangle, Clocked, Delay, and Key Sync
Memory –
Patches RAM: 256, Patches ROM: 896
Controls –
MIDI In/Out, USB
Songs –
4 Demo Songs
Effects –
Multi-Effects, Chorus, Reverb, Input, Effects, Master Effects,

Naomi Bolton
Wed, 11/13/2019 – 12:30

Roland released their SonicCell desktop synthesis unit in 2007 with the intention of delivering the sound quality of a Roland hardware synth in a compact form. The SonicCell was aimed at computer-based musicians as well as live performers and came bundled with a PC/Mac Editor as well as Cakewalk SONAR LE.

A Fantom X-class synth engine is used to power SonicCell and provide it with 128 voices of polyphony. It features the usual types of built-in sounds, but Roland also placed an extra focus on frequently used acoustic sounds. For those who need even more sounds, the SonicCell is also compatible with the SRX-series of expansion boards by Roland. SonicCell has two slots available for these boards. This makes the SonicCell pretty versatile as it is already able to function as an audio interface, sound module, as well as file player.

One thing to note about the option to add the SRX expansion boards is that it takes up half of the space on the top panel of the SonicCell with everything else relegated to the right side of the unit. The result of this is that the display, which shows various bits of information according to your operations, is disappointingly small. Next to it on the top panel, you’ll also see the USB Memory Access Indicator, as well as MIDI message indicator. Below these are the SMF/Audio Player buttons, Menu, and Exit buttons, as well as MIDI INST, Part View, USB AUDIO, EFFECTS, and INPUT buttons. Finally, there is a rather large Cursor/Value dial used to select parameters, edit values and it can also be pressed like a button to confirm values.

On the rear panel, you’ll find the USB computer connector, USB memory connector, Kensington security slot, power switch, DC In jack, as well as MIDI In/Out connectors. Furthermore, there are output jacks, a line jack, input source switch, L/Guitar/Mic combo input jack, and input level knob. The front panel only has the sampling rate switch and master volume dial. Overall, it’s a very retro-looking design for the SonicCell.

In terms of specifications, the SonicCell features 128MB of wave memory to deliver 896 patches, 32 rhythm sets, and 64 performances. An additional 256 patches, 32 rhythm, sets and 64 performances are reserved for user creations. If you are already familiar with the Roland Fantom range, then you’ll know exactly what to expect from the SonicCell. The additional waveforms are a nice touch, but never that really pushes the hardware into must-have territory. It’s very easy to integrate with a computer and live musicians will appreciate the fact that you can use all of its sounds for your keyboard while also retaining the ability to play backing music if needed. Overall, it’s a solid bit of hardware but has nothing that stands out as truly innovative.

Make

Year
2007

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Sound types

Price range

Image
Roland SonicCell

Files
Roland Support SonicCell Owner’s ManualsRoland Support SonicCell Owner’s Manuals

YouTube

Roland SonicCell Module – 80’s sound

by

elvistar

Roland SonicCell Synth Module Overview

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RolandChannel

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SC-88

SC-88

Specifications
Polyphony –
64 voices
Multitimbral –
32 parts
Oscillators –
1
Waveforms –
Preset
Controls –
MIDI In/Out/Thru
Effects –
Reverb, Chorus, Delay, 2-Band Equalizer
Memory –
654 preset sounds, 24 drum sounds, 256 user sounds, 2 user drum sounds,

Naomi Bolton
Wed, 11/06/2019 – 12:00

Roland released their SC-88 in 1994 as a half-rack unit. The Sound Canvas series itself was first introduced in 1991 and became the de-facto standard in General Standard sound modules. The SC-88 sound module is used for playback of song data with the GM mark as well as GS song data.

In terms of features, the SC-88 a 32 part multitimbral sound module with 64 voices of polyphony. It has 654 high-quality sounds, along with 24 types of drum sound sets. Amongst these sounds are the same ones as the SC-55/55MKII, which means that the SC-88 can correctly play the song data of these modules too. Users can also create their own sounds and drum sets as the SC-88 features 256 user sounds and two user drum sets. It allows you to modify the sounds by tweaking vibrato, filter and envelope and other parameters and also comes with eight types of reverb, eight types of chorus, ten types of delay, and other effects. Additional fine adjustments to the sound can be made by specifying the parameters for each effect. These parameters range from depth, rate, and time to frequency, character, and more. Most of the sound parameters can even be edited directly thanks to dedicated buttons. Since the SC-88 has audio input jacks with input level adjustment, you can also connect other sound sources to output from the audio output jacks mixed with the sounds of the SC-88.

The SC-88 was basically an expanded version of the SC-55MKII which was released in 1993. The SC-88 featured more memory, multitimbral, and polyphony compared to the SC-55MKII while also adding EQ. It has a 70.6 x 24.5mm backlit LCD screen on the front panel along with the power switch, volume know, preview switch, headphone jack as well as several buttons. The rear panel of the SC-88 has a MIDI OUT/THRU connector, MIDI IN A, MIDI IN B, audio output jacks, audio input jacks, as well as an audio input volume know. On the rear panel, you will also find the computer connect for connecting a special computer cable to the SC-88. You will also need to set the computer switch on the rear panel according to the type of computer connected to the Computer Connector.

Roland released an upgraded version of the SC-88, called the SC-88 Pro in 1996, which improved on the original hardware with more drumsets, more tones, as well as the introduction of Insertion EFX and unofficial XG compatibility.

Make

Year
1994

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
Roland SC-88

Files
Roland SC-88 Sound Canvas Owner’s ManualRoland SC-88 Sound Canvas Owner’s Manual

YouTube

More Roland SC-88 Demo Songs

by

rerolledDK

Roland SC-88 Sound Canvas Demo

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Yappri Japan

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GS-1

GS-1

Specifications
Polyphony –
16 voice polyphony with eight operaters per voice
Multitimbral –
2 parts
LFO –
1 LFO
Effects –
Chorus
Keyboard –
88 keys that are velocity and pressure sensitive
Memory –
16 presets

Naomi Bolton
Mon, 11/04/2019 – 11:52

Yamaha released the GS-1 in the early eighties, which makes it one of the first commercially produced synthesizers to make use of frequency modulation. This also means that it is an early forerunner for the popular DX7. According to Yamaha, the GS1 was designed to provide the “music-minded” with the sophistication of digital synthesis instead of the “computer-minded.” The idea was to let musicians play the GS1 without having to understand computers or synthesizers. Of course, this meant that the GS1 was a straightforward instrument by today’s standards.

At first glance, the GS1 looks like a simple digital piano, but it had a much more extensive selection of synthesizer sounds to offer. It features an internal architecture of 16-voice polyphony, but even with its 8-operator voice architecture users were unable to choose the algorithms. It features eight envelope generator / voltage controlled amplifier pairs as well as a low-frequency oscillator. However, it lacked VCFs, and the LFO could only be applied to a few parameters. The GS1 also only contained a few onboard effects. The 16 voices of the GS1 could be changed at any time by loading other voices that were stored on the magnetic card voice library for the instrument. This was done via the card reader of the GS1.

Yamaha opted for an 88-key, piano-weighted keyboard that is velocity sensitive as well as aftertouch. In terms of performance controls, the GS1 has a vibrato pedal, tremolo pedal and damper pedal that could be used. The GS1 also has buttons and knobs that are situated along the fallboard, which can be used for tweaking the limited amount of user-variable parameters and to select patches.

The original price for the Yamaha GS1 put it out of reach of most users back in the early eighties. This meant that Yamaha was barely able to sell 100 of these synths before the DX7 came along a few years later and became a much better choice for users. Yamaha did try to remedy the situation with the release of the GS2, which was basically a cheaper version of the GS1 that had fewer features. Unfortunately, the GS2 also failed to capture much of a userbase. These days finding a GS1 in working condition is not a cheap endeavor, and the instrument has been surpassed in every way, making it more of a collector’s item or novelty for synth enthusiasts.

Make

Year
1981

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
Yamaha GS-1

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Casiopea “Asayake”(Mint Jams) Keyboard-Cover with YAMAHA GS1

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Juno-DS61

Juno-DS61

Specifications
Polyphony –
128
Multitimbral –
16 parts
Oscillators –
2
Waveforms –
ROM
Controls –
MIDI In/Out
Sequencer –
8-Track sequencer
Arpeggiator –
128 Arpeggio Preset
Patterns –
32 preset patterns, 128 user patterns
Effects –
Chorus, Reverb, Mic input reverb, multi-effects,
Keyboard –
61-note Ivory Feel-G keyboard with weighted-action feel,
Memory –
Internal, USB

Naomi Bolton
Fri, 11/01/2019 – 14:26

The Roland Juno line, particularly the Juno-6 and Juno-60 were some of the most popular synths ever from the company, so it’s no surprise that so many years later they are still trying to cash in on the name. There have been many other synthesizers bearing the Juno name, such as this particular one, the Roland Juno-DS61. It is part of the Roland Juno DS range, which also includes the 76-note Juno-DS76 and 88-note Juno-DS88.

The Juno-DS61 is an ultra-portable synth released in 2015 for musicians who don’t want to lug around heavy gear. The DS61 is the lightest synth in the DS range and weighs only 5.3kg. It can operate using AC power and also supports optional battery operation. It has to be connected to an amp or PA system for audio, so have a battery-powered keyboard amp handy if you want to stay portable.

The DS61 features nine categories of sound, including synth, piano, and organ, so it is easy to get up and running without having to tweak anything. However, it also has the flexibility of performance mode for those who want to make more advanced sounds. With this mode everything from laying strings onto the piano, to assigning different instruments to different hands is possible. Even better, the DS61 is fully compatible with all of the Juno-DI’s patches.

The weighted-action keys of the DS61’s Ivery Feel-G keyboard feel great to play and allow for more expressive performances. In addition to the keyboard, the DS61 also has a pitch bend/modulation lever, four control knobs, four level sliders, and eight multicolor pads. It also has a 256 x 80 dots LCD. The DS61 comes with a built-in pattern sequencer that offers up to 8-track recording and can easily be connected to your DAW of choice by making use of the integrated USB interface. Thanks to the dedicated input you can also connect a microphone to the DS61 to make use of vocal effects such as vocoder and auto-tune as well as vocal reverb.

With the eight Phrase Pads of the SD61, you can add instant beats to your keyboard parts or make use of the USB memory to load MP3/WAV if you want to play along with full-band backing. The Phrase Pads can also be used as a live sampler as you can load them up with anything from loops to sound effects to instantly trigger during a gig.

Make

Year
2015

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
Roland Juno DS-61

Files
Roland Juno-DS Owner’s ManualRoland Juno-DS Owner’s Manual

YouTube

Chersea and the Roland JUNO-DS61

by

RolandChannel

Roland JUNO-DS – Basic Overview

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Product Support

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