Korg KR-55 Rhythm Machine


I just won an eBay auction for a mint Korg KR-55 Rhythm Machine! I got it for $280 and I am pleased. Even though it’s a preset machine it has a good amount of variation, swing and intros/fills. Watch the video above to see how versatile it can be. As far as DAW recording goes each instrument has it’s own volume knob so it’s easy to record each drum on a different channel if so desired. The real reason to like this machine is the sound. It’s pure analog with silver highs and a punchy tight kick. It was used on pretty much on every song on Depeche Mode’s first album Speak N Spell (iTunes link). Expect to hear it on my own future recordings. If one wanted they can mod a KR-55 and add MIDI using an Analogue Solutions kit: www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~concuss/mods/kr55.htm

“The KR55 was, for its time (1979), an advanced preset rhythm drum machine with up to 96 preset rhythm patterns! These patterns cover the whole gamut of presets (Waltz, Samba, Rhumba, Bossa Nova, Tango, Slow Rock, Swing, Rock, etc.). The KR55 also featured a “swing beat” control to add a variation to the groove. Each drum sound’s level can be individually adjusted for each pattern. It can also be externally controlled via footswitch jack for the Start/Stop and Intro/Fill switches.” – vintagesynth.com

Have you bought any new toys off eBay lately?

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on November 20, 2009 at 6:47 am, filed under hardware and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


12 Responses to “Korg KR-55 Rhythm Machine”

  1. JKirchartz says:

    The kick & the snare are AMAZING… the ride sounds like somebody EQ’ed my alarm clock though.

  2. AO says:

    Great find, love the sounds!

  3. tazzaler says:

    Sounds goddamn amazing, takes you back to the core, the good old days of drum machines…and if you’re going to use this in your future record it shall be one hell of a ear orgasm. For some reason it’d be interesting if you could use this old piece to mimic and mock the current day beats, nothing beats old school.

  4. raytrace says:

    my god the kick and snare are indeed beautiful – nice find

  5. digitalbeatsyndrome@yahoo.com says:

    get a highly liquid midi kit for it

  6. RETALI8 says:

    Very fucking dope…you are gonna have fun with that. I’ll probably get around to picking up one of these someday too

  7. Kreestof Chandley says:

    Hi Oliver. I think I have a Korg KPR-77 not getting any use. Is that something you’d be interested in? If so, drop me a note on facebook.

  8. Mark Bynoe says:

    I just picked one up for £90 after reading about it here. Sounds amazing. Well worth the money and not as limited as i thought considering that they are only presets.

  9. ukulele russ says:

    I just picked one up at a thrift store in southern Alaska for $25. Didn’t know what it was worth until I looked it up online….and for $25 it is the best damn fine 1979 time machine ever. 404 beats are sweet.

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