SoundMaster SR-88 vintage drum computer
The SoundMaster Memory Rhythm SR-88 is a 40 year old (!) programmable drum machine with four analog sounds.
This early 1981 model was issued in flashy blue color.
SR-88 was used by The Cure, New Order, The Cocteau Twins, …
The SoundMaster Memory Rhythm SR-88 is a programmable drum machine with four analog sounds.
The very beginning of commercial drum machines...
The unit has much in common not only with the first BOSS Dr. Rhythm DR-55 from Roland (see also on the website), but with a number of other simple drum machines that proliferated around this time - models such as the Clef Master Rhythm, Amdek Rhythm Machine, Movement Sequence Memory Rhythm and EDC SR-99. Some were available in kit form and all were aimed at the musician who wanted the flexibility of a programmable drum machine, but were unable to afford the high price tag.
The SR-88 has six patterns consisting of two 16-step bars and two patterns consisting of two 12-step bars. Patterns may be played as bar A only, bar B only, bar A and B consecutively, or in a "fill in" mode where bar B is played at the end of each four, eight or sixteen bar cycle.
Programming a pattern is performed in step mode by selecting a sound and pressing the start button for a note or the stop button for a rest. Once programmed, patterns cannot be chained together to form songs, but may be selected on the fly.
The sounds themselves consist of a Kick, Snare, Closed Hi-Hat and Cymbal. There no is Accent facility, but the combination of Hi-Hat and Cymbal on the same step provides some degree of dynamic variation. The sounds themselves are a little less punchy than those of the DR-55, sounding more like those found in earlier drum machines from Roland and Korg.
Overall, the SR-88 proved very successful and went through a number of iterations during the several years it was produced. This model is the earlier model, housed in a blue chassis. Later ones sport a more sober grey chassis with the addition of clock and trigger out sockets. There is also a straightforward modification that adds a clock in socket for those wishing to slave the SR-88 to another device.
Memory Rhythm SR-88
Blue (earlier model)
* Memories: 6 memories for 16 step patterns, 2 memories for 12 step patterns
* Variations: A, B, AB per pattern and fill-in 4, 8, 16
* Controls: tempo, tone and volume control pots
* Sounds: 4 analogue sounds (base, snare, hihat, cymbal)
* CPU: 4 bit micro- controller CPU
* External clock trigger and foot switch input
The Cure, New Order, The Cocteau Twins, …
Made in the United States