Hello. This is Yoshitaka posting here.
Due to the difficulty of carrying out band activities due to the corona virus, we are shifting our music activities to Instagram collaborations.
Under these circumstances, I can't play drums at all, so I introduced a rhythm box with built-in speakers to my arsenal to finish the performance video. This time, I would like to write about these two types of rhythm boxes with built-in speakers.
This is my personal experience, but I hope it helps those who are considering purchasing a rhythm box.
1. KORG KR mini
As a person who was frustrated with playing with a synthesizer a long time ago, I have no confidence in using a sequencer-type rhythm machine, so I first tried using the KORG KR mini as the simplest model possible.
I used the speaker output to keep the acoustic rhythm, but I feel that the lineout sound is excellent for video editing.
- Rhythm patterns can be simply recalled with analog dial and buttons. (If you just recall the preset, you won't get lost at all).
- Compact and lightweight, easy to use on-the-go.
- The LINE OUT output level is high and it is easy to handle even with a mixer.
- There is no BPM (beats per minute) display. I knew this when I got it, but it's quite difficult to actually record a collaboration video by telling the other party only the tempo, but not the BPM.
- There is no triple time pattern. It's pretty bad that this can't be used for classical songs, popular standards, jazz, waltz, etc. (For example, it cannot be used with famous songs such as Moon River and Amazing Grace)
Even so, it's completely different from the inorganic sound of the metronome, so I think it's quite easy to use with 8-beat, J-POP, Rock, etc.
2. Boss DR-01s
After using the above KR mini quite a bit, I found it was difficult to adjust the BPM, so I got the Boss DR-01s, an acoustic style rhythm box that can display the beats per minute.
- There is a BPM display. (Compared with KR mini.)
- Rich in rhythm patterns and percussion, you can also combine instruments.
- The sound of the built-in speaker was amazing in a good way. I felt that it was loud enough that it could be used for an acoustic gig if I miked it. Practicing acoustic instruments will also be more fun.
- It's easy to use, but recalling the rhythm isn't as intuitive as the KR mini.
* User registration is the first thing to do after purchasing this machine. If you do not do this, you will not get a list of rhythm patterns. Since there are many types of musical instruments, you should get a list first rather than discovering them by trial and error.
- The output level of LINE OUT is lower than that of the KORG KR mini.
- It is clear that it is targeted for the accompaniment of acoustic instruments, and is weak when it comes to rock music.
I'm quite happy with the DR-01s because I play mainly acoustic music, such as bossa nova, light jazz, and folk songs, but I think another model would be better for accompanying the distorted sound with an electric guitar.
For example, the KR-55PRO is a higher-end model of the KR mini, although it does not have a built-in speaker. With this model, BPM display and triple time signature are also supported, and this is quite convenient. I think it's easy to recall the rhythms and it's easy to use. If you’re using it for rock, it is in the same price range as the DR-01s, so it may be better to include this as an option. Of course I think there are others out there as well.
3. Regarding the rhythm box accessories
(1) Cable for line out
When you use line out from the rhythm box and send it to the mixer, I think that stereo output is a prerequisite. (I also checked with the manufacturer just in case). Therefore, I think it is better to purchase a Y cable.
In my case, it goes through DI, so it has the following configuration.
Stereo mini plug (male) -TRS stereo (male) ⇒ stereo DI ⇒ 2 XLR cables
⇒ Mixer input (microphone channel 1/2)
(2) Foot switch
Especially for anacrustic songs, I think the foot switch is convenient. It makes a big difference in usability, so I think it is desirable to purchase them together.
4. Impressions of starting to use the rhythm box
When I send the signal into the audio interface from the rhythm box and layered the acoustic guitar and bass, I realized the instability of my own rhythm. There is no doubt that it is a good piece of equipment to actively use because you can see the points that need to be improved upon every time you record, even if it is not a manual rhythm machine.
When selecting a product, entering keywords in the form of "rhythm box", "rhythm machine", "rhythm sequencer", etc. to find a wider range of products. This is something I think you should keep in mind.