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, …

€ 395,00

Technical specifications

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)

Main features

* 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

Famous users

The Cure, New Order, The Cocteau Twins, …


Made in the United States

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