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DR-770 vs SR16

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by blipndub, Nov 20, 2000.

  1. Drum machines, Alesis and Boss.
    Anyone have any notes to compare? Looks like the Alesis might be more affordable with only slighly fewer features and more line outs to boot. But I've not heard the SR16 and have only begun to play around with the DR770 in the shop.
  2. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    I have an Alesis keyboard that has essentially the same drum sounds in it that are in the SR16,and I recently got the Boss 770 'cause it has a wider choice of more modern sounding snare and kick drums,plus it has more pattern memory.It's true it costs more,but I felt it was worth it.
  3. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I agree. I bought my DR-770 about a year ago after expecting to buy the SR-16 or the ZOOM 234. I thought the insrtuments sounded better on the Boss but the memory was a key feature too. I don't remember all the numbers on the SR-16, but the Boss can store 64 user-defined and 64-predefined drum kits), 400 user-defined and 400 pre-defined patterns, and 100 user-defined songs. It also has 255 individual instruments and you can do extensive editing on the instruments themselves as well as the whole drum kit.

    The one thing I wish it had is a second individual out (such as for kick and snare) like its predecessor - the DR-660 - but it only has one. This output bypasses all effects/editing so you can process this output separaetly outside the drum machine.

    I decided I could afford the extra money at the time so I bought the DR-770. However, if you need to stick to a tight budget then the SR-16 would be a good choice.
  4. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    I've had the dr. 770 for a while now and I love it. The only other drum machine I have tried and have experience with is the old Roland tr 707, which was the smaller version of the 909. I love all the sounds of the 770, but personally, I thought the editing features of the tr 707 were better, especially for step writing songs. The only feature I can't stand about the dr. 770 is the velocity thing. Depending on how hard you press the pad determines the volume of the note. This gets annoying for writing patterns, but fortunately you can edit the feature on the drum kit you are using so that the pads trigger the notes at only one volume no matter how hard or soft they are pressed.
  5. Thanks for all the input on the machines.
    I found an ancient Yamaha RX-15 at the local guitar shop and picked it up for under $100. It’s very straightforward, no modulation in the sounds and limited memory, but it's a good introduction for basic programming.

    I think I'll still pick up one of the drums machines I queried about and I have another question regarding the single output on the 770.

    How important is it to be able to effect one instrument rather than the whole kit? Basically you're adding reverb or maybe some phase right? What are the advantages to having more than one line out? I assume that instrument levels can be controled before going out.
  6. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ

    I was interested in your comment about the velocity sensitive keys. I really like them and use that feature to help make a pattern a little more "real" or "human" sounding. If I were to play one of my patterns on a real kit, I'd naturally accent some beats and soften others. I use the velocity during step edit and then when I'm done I go back into each pattern and clean it up so sounds the way I hear it in my head. It's time consuming and REALLY tests your patience, but it works works for me. I play rock-based songs and I'm trying to get drums that sounds as natural as possible, but to each his own.

    Know how I make figure out what I want the velocities to be? I air drum a pattern first. My wife laughs her head off when she sees me doing this, but it works.

    The sound coming out of the individual out does not get any of the effects that you assign to the kit. That way you can process it any way you want. I'm just starting to try this, but since I don't yet have a mixer I have to first record the drum track to my 4-track, then transfer that to the PC (I only have two in channels on the soundcard). It's not the way I want to do things, but I live with it for the sake of learning. So far I've tried sending the snare out the individual out to the compressor I just bought. I'm trying to figure out how to reduce some of the initial attack without making it too lifeless. I'd also like to try it on the kick to see if I can get one that has more punch. So far I can't get that, plus it always seems to get mixed up with the bass guitar. Not sure what I should try there yet. But I'm still in the experimenting and learning stage. I would guess that most of the time you'd use these outs for the snare and kick, unless you had a specific effect you were going for.

    As far as setting levels, you can set the levels of individual instruments as well as the whole kit. Same for most, if not all, of the effects. I tend not to use many effects so I'm not if all of them work that way.
  7. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    Re importance of individual outputs:There are a few things you can do when you isolate one drum or a stereo pair from the rest of the kit,the 1st is that you can apply an EQ curve that enhances the specific sound of that drum,like a few db boost at 60hz and a cut at 200hz for a kick drum,without having an effect on the rest of the kit.Then of course you can apply a different effct to the solo output instrument(s) from that which the rest of the kit is using,e.g. a dense room reverb on the snare whilst leaving the cymbals dry or almost.Finally,you can compress the bejesus out of the toms for example so they sound like cannons going off without messing up the dynamics of the rest of the kit,unless of course you want to.The tradeoff is that all this takes more time,and if you have a garden variety mixer you may start running out of channels or at worst,using more channels may earn you a crappy signal to noise ratio (Hiss).But that's why God made Noise Gates!
  8. When I bought my Yamaha they also had an RX-18 which is the same rig but EACH INSTRUMENT had a 1/4" line out, talk about mixer nightmare! You could probably just send one out of the mix if you wanted, but I'm not sure.

    I like the idea of velocity sensitive pads. I'm looking forward to having that option.

    Dave64o your recording/mixing process sounds like mine, I have cables running into every damn thing and my girlfriend thinks I’m a lunatic.

    I wonder what others have tried to get the "best" sound out of your drum machines. Right now I'm experimenting with a little chorus, just enough to get a light phase shift and some delay to get fake reverb
  9. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    Re: velocity sensitive pads.On most drum machines,if you hook up a MIDI keyboard or drum pad the velocity of the strikes will be recorded as part of the pattern.The Boss Dr5,for example,doesn't have velo.pads but it responds to velocity messages when played from an external source,which btw can also be a prerecorded sequence coming in via MIDI.
  10. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    Recording our drum patterns via MIDI was supposed to be my next project, but I haven't been able to spend much time recording for a while.

    I've learned two good reasons - the hard way - why I should start programming the drums with MIDI. One was when I accidentally erased the WAV file for a drum track to a song we were almost finished with. :eek: I haven't found a way in n-Track yet to line up tracks if they were recorded out of sync so I didn't have a way to re-record the drum track and still use the others that we wanted to keep. Now we're now re-recording the song over again. (BTW, if anyone has any suggestions I still have the rest of the original tracks).

    The second is related. If I want to change the drum track, I'm in the same situation and have to re-record all the tracks. If I had programmed it in MIDI and just used the drum machine as a sound module, I could change the program without having to re-record any of the other tracks.
  11. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    The velocity pads are fine if you want more of a "human" sound, which is a valid point, however, when I make a pattern, I want consistency. I want the snare that falls on beats 2 and 4 to be equal in volume every time. I want the ride symbol to be equal in volume on every quarter note when it is keeping time. When using velocity sensitive pads, it takes practice to hit the pads at the same level each time. Otherwise, you have to go back and clean it up every time you make a pattern. I just don't have the patience to do this. It makes sense to use velocity pads if natural is what you are looking for, but if I wanted a natural drum sound, I would record a live drummer. I guess it all comes down to personal preference.
  12. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    If you're talking pure preferences I agree 100% and would of course opt for real drums over a drum machine. I started out as a drummer a long time ago and would love to do the drums myself. However, my situation doesn't allow that.

    We have a 3 1/2 year old son and the only time I get to do any serious playing and recording is after he goes to bed. With the drum machine and my friend's POD we can record silently most of the time. The only time I really use my mics are for acoustic or an occasional vocal and we either take a long lunch hour or wait until my wife is out with our son on a weekend to do those tracks.

    You're right about preferences though, and for our purposes - a classic/progressive mostly instrumental kind of rock - I think a "human" or "natural" sound is important. That means making sure that there's some subtle variations in level, that I tend to shy away from the electronic drum sounds, and that I try not to overdo effects unless I have a specific need.

    Since my preference is for real drums, my biggest requirement for the patterns I write is that they really can be played by one drummer on a drum kit. That way if things ever change I can still do the songs the way we intended. That's partly forward planning, but it's mostly wishful thinking. :D
  13. The price of the 770 was just a bit out of my range and for what I'm doing with it I didn't need to spend the extra bucks.
    I've had it about a week now and have only had time for two serious sessions really digging in to it.

    Here are my thoughts:
    Plus: many preset patterns are decent, but as noted before many are arcane sounding, the one for techno is all kinds of messed up. Traditional styles, rock, country, jazz all sound pretty good with the somewhat natural sounds of the Alesis. I like that you can switch between A and B of the same pattern which gives you texture in different parts of the song and having preset fills is a bonus.
    As mentioned lack of good electronic sounds, although splitting signal, EQ-ing and adding some effects helps. Velocity pads can be annoying, but they can be easily edited so all volume is equal. It's cumbersome to save a new pattern and you have to go through the whole recording process to make edits. At first this took a long time to figure out, but now I’m faster at it. The manual really stinks, it's just incredibly poorly written.
    I think the footswitch could be a necessity and I will probably order one pronto.

    Overall I'm pleased. It would be nice to have a "newer" machine re sounds, but for $200 it's a good deal.
  14. 2anointed

    2anointed Guest

    Mar 13, 2001
    Would anyone care to suggest their basic method of programming a drum machine?

    I noticed a lot of you have the boss Dr-770.
    I just got it and would love to correspond with others who possess this machine.

    What are your basic methods for programming a drum machine?

    If a verse has 8 measures can the fill only have four?

    How can you program the machine the move smoothly and swiftly between patterns?

    Say like I want a changeup in the midst of a basic beat, how do you do that?

    Finally, putting all together in song mode on Boss DR-770, how to do it right without going back all the time to see if the pattern is in the right spot?

    That's all for now. If you can leave message here or quickly post answer to me at greg58@iwon.com

    Thanks a lot ya'll...

  15. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
  16. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    b4 you go out and spend yer dosh, may I point you in the direction of Zooms latest offering, the 323.

    I was in the hunt for a drum machine, and was sorely tempted by the classic SR16, the boss ones were abit over my price limit. I loved the sound and userbility of the older zoom ones, but they lacked a few features, like a midi out (huge oversight). They have listened to the people and now produced one hell of a machine.

    2drumtracks and 1 bass track
    128 kits
    377 drum sounds
    55 bass sounds
    13 vel sens pads (in 3 banks), ergonomically arranged, which neatly light up
    2 xtra outputs, for individul intruments or to separate tracks.
    2 footswitch controls which can be assigned to loads of functions.

    There are some other features like the 'jammer' slider for realtime control of drum/note pitch;volume/pan etc. And a smart media slot for backups. Song construction is dead easy. The bass patches might notbe useful to us bassists, but they are handy when constructing songs, or if your jamming with another instrument. The illuminating pads might seem like a gimmick, but they do prove useful, so you can see how various rhthms are constructed, and in song mode, seeing which pattern is playing. I also use mine as a sound module, as the drum and synth bass tones are much better than my Yamaha XG's ones.
  17. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    Having two individual outs in addition to the normal stereo out is really nice. That's my only knock against the DR-770 - it only has one. Of course, I'm still using an SB Live soundcard and only have a stereo in, so this doesn't matter to me right now. If and when I get a better card, that will probably bother me more.

    The smart media slot sounds like a nice touch, too.

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