A Modded Dr. Rhythm | Fess' Find

This week's Fess Find is an enhanced and modified version of a classic: the Boss DR–110 Dr. Rhythm. As you may already know, this drum machine produces analog drum sounds, but unfortunately lacks control over individual parameters such as volume. Fortunately, its immense popularity has resulted in a range of aftermarket DIY upgrades, like this AL-110 kit from France-based designer Alienized Circuits.

When the DR-110 was released in 1983, it revolutionized drum machine technology as an upgrade to their original Dr. Rhythm, the DR-55. With its expanded selection of sounds, preset patterns and LCD screen providing visual feedback for step programming—aptly called "Graphic"—users were allowed to easily construct complex rhythms by pressing only a few buttons.

This is a Boss DR-110 Analog Drum Machine with the AL-110 AlienizeD Mod MKII
Boss DR-110 with AlienizeD Mod MKII

The AlienizeD kit takes the DR-110 to a whole new level by providing 24 knobs and switches that allow for customizable drum samples from subtle nuances to distinct changes. A must-have feature is the 'sweep' control that allows you to trigger a pitch or decay variation with an accent or external trigger source. When triggered, the bass drum offers a longer decay and boosted bass to create an 808-like sound. On the other hand, when set to the closed hat, it will extend the hat's decay time and make your rhythm more vibrant.

This modded Dr. Rhythm also adds MIDI connectivity and eight external inputs to easily trigger individual sounds as well as accentuate them using standard trig signals. On top of that, there are individual audio outputs for each drum channel so you can connect it to other equipment, making it optimal for use in a modern studio setup.

Those features along with its sleek wooden case and engraved aluminum faceplates, it's easy to see why this DR-110 is priced nearly nearly ten times higher than regular DR-110s. In comparison to other analog drum machines out there, this one is pretty affordable. And the best part? You don't have to build the DIY kit yourself—the seller is even open to offers.

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