The Korg Rhythm 55 Rhythm Box

The Korg Rhythm 55 is a vintage rhythm box from 1979.

The Korg Rhythm 55 (KR-55) is a non-programmable analog rhythm box. The KR-55 and its little brother KR-33 were the successors of the Korg Minipops series.

This video, via AnalogAudio1, offers a quick demo of the sound and features of the Korg Rhythm 55. 

About The Korg Rhythm 55

The KR-55 has some special features: a TRIG OUT jack including several triggering modes, SHUFFLE function and volume faders for the most drum sounds.

The rhythms are not mixable like on earlier Korg rhythm boxes (Minipops series), but TEMPO and VOLUME controls allow for some tweaking.

The Korg Rhythm 55 was used by Jean-Michel Jarre (Magnetic Fields) and Depeche Mode (Speak and Spell) among others.


13 thoughts on “The Korg Rhythm 55 Rhythm Box

  1. Great little machine, that. Would like to see those samples ported to DM-1 (not that it doesn’t already have enough charming old kits).

    At some point in the demo, I heard a little latin groove that I swear was in a Residents recording. Anyone hip to the Residents?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 12

  2. KR-55 samples are in Funkbox, for you iOS users. Funkbox is awesome, and allows my favourite feature of old drum machines, pressing two presets at once to get new patterns, to work on machines that never had that feature (like KR55).

    If you’re a Kontakt user, you MUST check out the demos of Forgotten Keys excellent drum machines, including CR-78, KR-55, etc. Not just loops or drum hit samples, they include the preset mixing feature, and have wonderful animated sound (multiple samples, micro changes in level and tuning). Really, really, awesome work, I can’t recommend it highly enough. And it’s a pittance for each machine – something on order of a few pounds == bucks == euros, each.

    There a loop floating around the web of a fellow who sampled a KR-55 very well, hitting the fill buttons at the right moments to recreate the drum track of “Photographic” by Depeche Mode, which is where you’ve heard the KR-55 before. Found it: https://soundcloud.com/olivgrau/korg-kr55-beat-photographic-dm .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • Wow ! I didn’t realize the BBC Micro computer was such a contentious topic !!!! Who knew a fairly obscure 8 bit computer would get so many thumbs down.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. aah,Ive got one of these i found in a cupboard at work,no one claimed ownership of it.Sadly not working,it now sits on my shelf next to a old commodore 64

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • I reckon even if you posted it broken on eBay, it might fetch a good price.

      Wonder why all the dislikes on this lil thread?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  4. old doesn’t always mean good and a lot of old stuff was rubbish when it was new. time doesn’t change that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

    • Most vintage gear is built like a tank and has electronics that are repairable, which makes them desirable. Too much modern gear is designed to be disposable.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    • That’s a fair point, but as with many things, “good/bad” are not only subjective, but also overly simple.

      For some vintage rigs, what they bring are all the cornball cultural associations that can then be used in new contexts to screw with people.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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