Questions related to Roland Clan site and forum


Postby pipelayer » 16:02, 21 March 2015

I just recently purchased the Roland Boss DR-880 drum machine/computer to midi-sync with my "TC Helicon Voicelive 3" which has just received slave midi sync capabilities though a firmware upgrade with ongoing plans plans for midi-sync master capability. I would also like to add that TC Helicon is a tremdous customer-base complier & listener; customers genrally get what they ask for, as far as I can tell... everything.

After much learning & research on the Boss DR-880 (which I should have done more extensively before purchase)I have discovered there are some serious "cons" from users of this item; so detrimental that it has influenced a percentage of new buyers to return the item for a refund. I did just recently download what I'm assuming is Boss's latest firmware update to the unit. It did acknowledge that the "out of memory" statement was resolved; the one where you received and "out of memory statement with no resolution to salvage your composition & having to delete your project and start all over from scratch, etc.; (THANK GOD THIS PROBLEM WAS RESOLVED)!!!!! - it may have contributed to me - making a "return the item for refund" decision. I realize that I am viewing a substantial amout of older reviews on the internet, etc. As a new buyer I have no way of knowing with certianty which of these "cons" have been resolved. So I would like to ask some experience users of this item who has some familiarity with it if they would please answer it for me. In one review I read a list of "cons" that I conseder quite serious & could possibly intefere with the way I work.

Here is list of the cons I read about, if possibe I was hoping if you could please tell if any of these have been resolved (or even if they are accurate) or has any work-arounds been provided to reduce these con's liabilities. Other than these things the review gave the "Boss DR-880" good stars. I must say also: I do like the "Boss DR-880" & feel it has some good qualities.

You can backup the data on the DR-880 (a plus), but you can only back it up as a bulk file. There's no way to export a set of patterns, for example, edit them on your PC, then reload the updates for playback.

By far, the greatest limitation is the lack of expandable memory. Fewer and fewer recordable devices are fixed memory, but the Dr. Rhythm is one of them. Perhaps even worse, there's no way to know if you're about to exhaust available memory. When you hit the max, the machine simply says "Memory Full." Time to clear memory and restart from backup. RESOLVED-

Looping is a great way to play through a portion of a song: intro, verse, chorus, etc. but you can only turn the loop on or off once for any song, and there is no way to jump back to a passage (such as the chorus).

There's no easy, predictable way to control ritard (the gradual slowing of the tempo). If you need to slow a song down over a measure or two, it's best to simply drop any tempo-related drum beats out and restart with the new tempo.

I would also like to ask if one of Boss's loopers, etc. products would resolve these problems, such as the RC-300, RC3, RC30 or even some third party products such as Beat Buddy, etc. THANK YOU, best regards-

Please forgive any typos, it's late & I've just returned from a party... she's gorgeous; & I'm getting ready for round four.... if I can stay awake for "Ms non-stop", Don't ever believe that song called "no regrets."
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Joined: 15:42, 21 March 2015

Re: NEWBUYER, "BOSS DR-880", Inqusitive?? ANYBODY?? BEEN 7 D

Postby dberlind » 15:35, 29 September 2015

Hi Pipeplayer,

I have recently acquired a DR-880 and am now just getting started with it (only about 4 days in). But I have discovered some incredibly powerful options that I can't wait to make better use of. The first day with this machine was difficult though. The documentation does not do a very good job of describing the relationship between kits, patterns, songs, etc. So, if you're still around (and if anyone is paying attention), I look forward to potentially sharing notes, tips, tricks, etc. and getting questions answered.

I was reading through your post and must say that I think I'm potentially relieved from a major case of buyer's remorse. Yesterday, when I was looking for some help on an issue I was having, I came across A LOT of entries that described the memory problem and got very worried that I would bump into this. But, based on your message, I'm assuming that version 2.0 of the firmware (which I have), solves that problem. I guess we shall see.

On the looping question, I think that's correct that you can only define one loop per song. I don't have the machine in front of me, but I seem to recall that if you have 6 patterns that make up a song, for example as follows:

Pattern 1: Intro Pattern
Pattern 2: Verse
Pattern 3: Chorus
Pattern 4: Verse
Pattern 5: Chorus
Pattern 6: End Pattern

You could eliminate #4 and #5 by defining the loop as starting at 2 and ending at 3. The loop definition part asks you which is the starting and which is the ending loop. Then, as you enter pattern 2, activate the loop, and it will loop through 2 & 3. Once you hit the second cycle of the 2&3, deactivate the loop and the end pattern will pick up at the end of the cycle.

I have to play with it. But I believe you are correct in terms of the limitation and the only question is how to work around it. If there's a bridge that you must to return to the verse and chorus after, that's tricker if you need to loop the verse and chorus again. I think the only answer there is to hardcode each occurrence of the verse and chorus patterns after the bridge (or you can create one pattern that's a combo of the verse and the chorus).

Referring to the memory issue, the longer your songs are (the more you've hard coded patterns into the song vs. looping), the more memory that's consumed. Also, any custom User Patterns take up memory too. But I've read that if you can find what you're looking for in one of the standard patterns and use that, you can save memory by building your songs off the standard built-in patterns as much as possible. Like I said, I'm only a few days in. A lot to learn and experiment with and I'm praying I do not bump into the memory limitation.
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Joined: 15:07, 29 September 2015

Re: NEWBUYER, "BOSS DR-880", Inqusitive?? ANYBODY?? BEEN 7 D

Postby dberlind » 17:58, 5 January 2016

Hi Pipeplayer,

I have an update of sorts to my previous answer on the DR-880. I have no change to my opinion on the limitation in the DR-880's looping capability. However, I do have a workaround (and it's not surprising to me that this is the solution). As I dive deeper into the gear side of working with my guitar, I'm beginning to discover that many devices are somewhat crippled without the addition of foot pedals. For example (and bear with me for a second), I purchased a Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 Solid State modeling amp that can support electric, acoustic, and even bass guitars. That by itself is relatively unique in that most amps work well for electric OR acoustic but rarely both. But to truly unlock some of its advanced capabilities of this amp, you need Peavey's Sanperra 1 or Sanperra 2 foot pedal (the Sanperra 2, which I purchased, costs more than the amp itself). For example, the amp can record and playback loops so that you don't have to buy an external looping device (like the Boss Loop Station).

Well, the other day, I came to the realization that the DR-880 is similar. To get the most out of it, including working around the looping limitation, you need some foot pedals and at bare minimum, I'd start with one Boss FS-6 (which has two non-latching foot pedals built-in to it). One of the great things about the DR-880 is how you can program pedal functionality. To deal with your issue, in the case of the FS-6, you can program the left pedal to queue the most previous pattern (this means it will start when the current pattern ends) and the right pedal to queue the next pattern (same thing, this means it will start when the current pattern ends).

What this means however is that you do not author songs as a collection of patterns. Instead, you just play the patterns. So, here's how that would work using my previous example. This assumes that the patterns are storied in sequential order in the machine (otherwise, it doesn't work).

1. Play Pattern 1 (intro pattern) and while that pattern is playing, tap FS6-R (the right pedal on the FS-6) once to queue the next pattern (Pattern 2) to start as soon Pattern 1 is over.
2. When Pattern 2 (the verse) starts it will automatically loop until you tell it otherwise. So, if you need the verse to play twice before going to chorus, wait for it to auto-loop after it plays through the first time and, as it is playing the second time, tap FS6-R to queue Pattern 3 (the chorus). This essentially tells the machine to finish out the current loop of the verse and not to loop it again.
3. Assuming you want the chorus to play just once and want to go back to the verse, while the chorus is playing, tap FS6-L and that will queue the previous pattern (#2, the verse) to go next.
4. Now, let's say the verse only gets played once this time (songwriters do this to us!) before the final pass through the chorus. While it's playing, tap FS6-R to queue up the chorus, and then when the chorus starts...
5. Tap FS6-R again to queue the end pattern (which in this case, is now pattern #4).

Of course, this is where I'd strongly suggest you get another pedal to start/stop the machine (the DR-880 can support up to 4 pedals). So, pad a silent measure or two to the end of the end pattern .. this way, you can stop the machine before pattern starts to loop again.

Now, if each of the passes on your verses and choruses are exactly the same as each other, I'd package the two into one pattern. So, then you have a total of 3 patterns and there's less foot play. One other important point... when your pedals are configured as I described, you can tap the FS6 left pedal twice and instead of queuing the most previous pattern, it will queue the one before that. Three times, and it will queue the one thats' three prior. And so on. Same for moving forward with the FS6 right pedal. So, once you have the foot pedals, the sky is really the limit in terms of stringing patterns together.

one LAST point.. when you queue up a pattern (while another one is in the middle of playing) the DR-880 will show (in its display) the name of the pattern that's queued to go next (a great feature).
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