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May 18, 2020

Boss Dr-880 Review – Is it worth a shot?

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  • Affordable as compared to other Drum Machines
  • Incredible Sound Quality
  • Extremely Durable
  • Top-Class Quality
  • Reliable
  • Works as a Guitar Synthesiser

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  • Physical appearance is not aesthetically pleasing.
  • Lack of memory
  • It does not allow you to load your samples in the machine

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Are you an aspiring musician and love performing in front of audiences?

Whether you are an experienced one or a beginner, adding new music gear to your collection is always a good idea; that’s for sure. Slightly tedious, but exciting.

As you go along your journey of music, you will realize that a drum machine is one of the essential tools to have in your music tools collection.

Many people think that drum machines are dead, but no, they are still alive and rocking.

They give us the chance to launch DAW sounds effects while giving us the option of customizing our library.

There are hundreds of Drum Machines in the market, each with their qualities, but Boss Dr-880 is one of the best options.

It is not just a traditional drum machine, as you can also use it as a guitar synthesizer with modern sequencing.

Other than that, the DR-880 comes with more than 440 sounds and a wide range of features to make those rich bass-y sounds.

What can you expect from this Drum Machine?

What are the features and functions?

Is it good enough?

We’re here to answer all these questions in this Boss Dr-880 review to help you figure out if it is the right product for you.


Design and Layout

Talking about the design and layout, we do think it stands out from the rest – it is impressive.

Looking at the number of controls on this machine, they are placed sensitively for your convenience and ease. The device is 273mm wide by 244mm in diameter, which is perfect.

At the top section, you have an LCD with a Value Dial and Volume Knobs to control your Bass, Drum, and Input Volumes.

Moving on to the middle section, the Boss dr-880 is divided into two parts. You have twenty highly responsive touchpads on the right side of the machine, designed for you to build your patterns with ease.

Boss Dr-880 review

Above these touch pads, there are three EZ compose buttons; a Groove Changer, and a Complete Sound Control Button.

Moving to the left side, we have Tuner Buttons to control the sound if we have a guitar connected. We also have an Output Setting Button, Song, and Kit Buttons, Pad and Shift Button, Enter, and Exit Buttons.

In the end, you find buttons like Record, Tempo, Loop, and Key.

The bottom section is our favorite; it has a Guitar/Bass and Headphones input. Moreover, it has four additional buttons for easy access and a Bank Select Button.

As we briefly mentioned before, Dr-880 also works as a guitar synthesizer.

If you are a guitar player, you’re bound to love this machine at first sight. It allows you to directly plug-in your guitar to its Guitar/Bass Input jack and plays through the built-in COSM Drive.

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This drum machine provides you with an excellent and world-class range of sounds to satisfy all your music desires.

Moreover, it includes some sounds from the fantastic SRX Library along with over 440 Drum sounds and 40 Base sounds. The tremendous sound collection is what makes it stand out.

The drum sounds include the following categories:

  • 64 Bass Drums
  • 101 Snare Drums
  • 13 Cross-Sticks
  • 63 Toms
  • 53 Hi-Hats
  • 34 Cymbals
  • 62 Percussion
  • 16 Claps, and
  • 32 amazing effects

Furthermore, it is equipped with 500 rhythm patterns and allows you to create 500 of your rhythm patterns additionally.

The Total Sound Control Function gives you total control of the ambiance through a three-band equalizer stereo.

There are twenty TCS patches included in the machine, along with 20 others that you can create on your own.

Overall, the sound quality of the Boss Dr-880 is incredible.

They combined actual drum sounds with a wide range of sounds, effects, and even voice sounds. In the Sound Department, Dr-880 does not have any competition.

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Notable Features

Let’s have a quick look at some of the fantastic and notable features of this drum machine.

EZ Compose Feature

The thing we love about this machine is that it is easy to use and convenient.

The programming is hassle-free and straightforward; you won’t find it complicated even if you are a newbie.

You don’t need to be a tech expert to operate it; the user manual tells you all you need to know to get started with your drumming experience with the Boss Dr 880.

Responsive Touchpads

Dr-880 features 20 Velocity-sensitivity touchpads that will make finger drumming more fun and groovy for you.

The touchpads look a little dull and traditional, though, so if you want fancy and lit looking pads, you should consider some other alternatives.

Guitar and Bass Input

If you are a guitarist or a bass player, this is a fantastic product for you to have as it has a direct guitar and bass input at the front.

Simply plug in your electric or acoustic guitar cable in it, and you are all ready to groove.

Magnificent Sound Quality

Despite being less expensive than other models, the Boss Dr-880 offers an Incredible Sound Quality. The sound is genuine enough to make you go wow!

Some users had to enhance the sound of their instruments to match its quality. There are few competitors when it comes to sound quality.

1000 Patterns

The variety of patterns it offers are amazing for practicing, experimenting, and creating your sounds.

You can choose sounds from 1000 patterns, in which 500 presets and 500 are user patterns. The number of sound designs it offers is more than Alesis SR 18, its biggest competitor offers.

3 Insert Effects 

It comes with three independent Insert Effects – EQ, Compression, and TSC ( Total Sound Control).

You can apply these effects to the kick, snare, and other instruments.

USB and Other Connections

At the back, you have connection ports for USB and MIDI, and on the front, it has connection ports for guitar and headphones.

It also provides RCA Phono jacks to connect your Dr-880 to other types of equipment like mixers and amps.


Back side of boss dr
Source: BOSS India


  • Includes 440 drums and percussion sounds
  • Approximately 30,000 notes storage
  • Features 20 velocity-sensitive touchpads
  • Features a Custom LCD with backlight
  • Comes with Accessories like Ac Adaptor, Manual, DR-880 Driver CD-ROM, and a Roland Service Information Sheet

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  • Affordable as compared to other Drum Machines
  • Incredible Sound Quality
  • Extremely Durable
  • Top-Class Quality
  • Reliable
  • Works as a Guitar Synthesiser

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  • Physical appearance is not aesthetically pleasing.
  • Lack of memory
  • It does not allow you to load your samples in the machine


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How to use Boss Dr-880?

Before using the Boss Dr-880, make sure you read the user’s manual thoroughly and carefully. Also, make sure you only use the Adapter supplied with the unit, nothing else. 

Keep one thing in mind, do not use it at a high or uncomfortable level of volume as it is capable of causing permanent hearing loss. Moreover, try to clean the unit regularly with a slightly damped soft, dry cloth.

How to upgrade the memory of the Boss Dr-880?

Unfortunately, Boss Dr-880 lacks the feature of memory expansion or upgrade. If you are short on memory or facing any other issue, it can not be upgraded. 

It would be best if you directly contact the customer support if you are facing any issues or inconvenience.

How to connect Dr-880 to the computer?

Dr-880 can be connected to the computer through a USB. All you need is to make sure that the file is saved in the MIDI Format.

How is Dr-880 powered?

The Boss Dr-880 does not run on batteries, neither is it rechargeable. 

It is powered through direct power cables. Just plug in the power adapter in a power source, and you are good to go.

Final Verdict

Aside from the visions, we do love the Boss Dr-880 and highly recommend it. The design is traditional and not so pleasing. Still, it offers impressive top-class features to satisfy all your music desires.

The sounds are great, and features like EZ Compose, Groove Modify, and Total Sound Control motivates you to practice your music with confidence.

If you are a guitarist, then Boss Dr-880 is the ideal choice for you. It has incredible built-in features specifically for guitarists. It can be considered as a Guitarist Machine as well as a Drum Machine.

The only major drawback is its lack of memory.

Other than that, it is a great machine, with a fair share of pros and cons.

Now that you have gone through all the details and highlights do let us know what you think about the Boss Dr-880 in the comments. Did you like this product?



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