Here’s a short demonstration and comparison of two analog drum machines from the early eighties – Roland TR-606 Drumatix and Boss DR-110 Dr. Rhythm Graphic.

The same patterns are programmed on both devices and then cross-cut. The tempo is roughly 110 BPM. Both drum machines were recorded on mono, using high-grade Cirrus Logic converters, via a Mackie 1202VLZ4 mixer. The signal is otherwise dry, no effects or EQ were used.

All individual controls of Instrument Mix on the TR-606 are set to the center, and so are Balance (between drums and hihats/cymbal) and Accent on the DR-110. Accent is only used on step 13 of each 16 steps on both drum machines. Moreover, the closed and open hihats are sometimes played at the same steps, which makes a third hihat sound.

Other than that I strived for a not too muddy, slowish beat so that you’re able to hear the individual sounds, but still in context of a beat.

The TR-606 has seven sounds: kick drum, snare, low tom, high tom, cymbal, open hihat and closed hihat. It has DIN sync and two trigger outs. A cool feature of the TR-660 is the ability to switch between Pattern Play and Write mode while running.

The DR-110  has six sounds: kick drum, snare, open hihat, closed hihat cymbal and hand clap. It also has a trigger out that emits a pulse at such intervals as Accents have been written. The DR-110 has a LCD with a grid and showing other information – graphic.