BOSS DR-110 Dr. Rhythm Graphic

BOSS DR-110 Dr. Rhythm Graphic Image

In 1980, Roland introduced their first simple and affordable drum machine to bear the BOSS Dr. Rhythm brand (the DR-55), offering four sounds, an Accent and a limited number of programmable patterns. It was followed by the Dr. Rhythm Graphic (DR-110) in 1983, which offers a wider selection of sounds, preset patterns, an increased number of programmable patterns and the ability to chain patterns together to form songs. The simple step programming of the first Dr. Rhythm, with alternating button presses for notes and rests, is augmented by an LCD with a grid showing the individual notes in the current pattern. In addition to step programming there is also a "tap write" programming mode, albeit without a metronome click for timekeeping.

The sounds are Kick, Snare, Closed Hi-Hat, Open Hi-Hat, Cymbal and Clap. The sounds are totally analog, and sound crisp and punchy, thanks to tone generation circuitry that is more sophisticated than the Roland TR-606 Drumatix. A balance knob alters the level of the Kick, Snare and Clap relative to the other sounds, while an accent knob controls the amount of emphasis applied to accented steps. There is also a volume knob, which controls the overall level of both the main and headphone outputs. The main output is mono, but has an unusual feature whereby plugging in a suitable wired lead with a stereo jack plug allows for the feeding in of another signal to be mixed with the drum sounds. Another socket provides for a trigger signal, emitting a pulse for every accented step in a pattern.

The patterns are organized into four banks of eight patterns each. Banks C and D are the presets, while banks A and B are programmable. Each pattern can be switched between 12 or 16 steps, for a 3/4 or 4/4 time signature. Two songs can be programmed, each containing a maximum of 128 bars.

At the time of writing, the Dr. Rhythm Graphic is relatively affordable compared to similar machines such as the Roland TR-606 Drumatix, and are usually found in good condition thanks to the padded carry case that they came with. On the downside, there are no outputs or tone controls for the individual sounds, but a number of well documented modifications can be found on the Internet that add these features.

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19 Visitor comments
Dave Colins
November 4, 2012 @ 3:55 pm
the DR110 is an excellent little drum machine. In my opinion it far better than the TR606 and about 1/5th of the price. The only drawback is the lack of sync, but you can get a DIN-sync kit from for virtually nothing and fit it yourself, and it'll still be about 1/4 of the price of a 606! We should be grateful the DR110 doesn't say Roland on it!
The DR110 clap is excellent, as are the hats. The kick and snare are certainly meatier that a lot of similar analogue drum boxes of the era, but you wouldn't sell your 808 for them. The DR110 is pretty easy to mod though.
September 27, 2012 @ 2:19 pm
Just got one. Totally blown away, really can't ever see myself shelling out bucks for a 606 now, Kick sounds so much better. Snare is nice but could use volume control for sure. Balance knob is a nice feature. Programming compares to CR-8000 which is the drummachine I cut my teeth on. The trigger seems stronger than my 707/727 whom I can't get to trigger my sequencer clock. Good thing. Whats the deal with running sound trhu it? The stereo jack thing?
Paul FitzZaland
September 4, 2012 @ 9:46 pm
I just got a DR-110 for a fair price and I'm quickly falling in love with this little machine.

For me, the compact size and battery operation were the big selling features.I like to keep a couple small music toys in my bag wherever I go and the DR-110 seemed like a nice compliment to my SK-1 and trio of Monotrons. So far, it hasn't disappointed.

My only complaint is the lack of any kind of sync. I think I'm going to buy and install the DIN kit that's out there. It'd be nice If I could also add individual triggers for each sound but I think that might be pushing it.
August 24, 2012 @ 5:09 pm
Got one on ebay in mint condition for $100 on the dot. Definitely feeling like it was worth it. Planning on adding midi control for the drum hit and drum parameters.
June 30, 2012 @ 9:02 am
@drummchimp: According to an interview with Robin Guthrie the drum machine on The Cocteau Twins' Garlands album was a TR-808. The band actually wanted to use their Boss DR-55 and Sound Master SR-88 drum machines on the album, but were overruled by 4AD records boss Ivo Watts-Russell. The Cocteaus had been using their drum machines live, run through a guitar amp for a dirty, punchy sound. Ivo considered the Boss and Sound Master to be toys though, and inisisted on the use of a more "professional" drum machine.
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Rated 3.69 (131 Votes)

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 voices
  • Waveforms - 6 sounds: Bass drum, Snare drum, Open HiHat, Closed HiHat, cymbal, Clap
  • Effects - Accent
  • Patterns - 32 patterns (4 banks of 8 patterns each)
  • Songs - 2 songs (up to 128 bars each)
  • Keyboard - 7 Drum Pads
  • Memory - 16 preset patterns, 16 user patterns
  • Control - Trigger out
  • Date Produced - 1983
  • Resources & Credits
  • Original image from

    Review by Chris Wareham

    Reviewed January 2012

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