• DR55 Kontakt drum machine front panel UI
  • DR55 Kontakt drum machine rear panel UI

Doctor 55

(11 customer reviews)

6.00 plus VAT

Cloned from the groovy little Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-55


“Rhythmic Robot have sampled every percussion voice at every accent level and have also provided a ‘Velocity Retrofit’ button, so that you can play with nuances no genuine DR55 could match. The neat and recognisable UI is the perfect setting for this recreation of the oldest Dr Rhythm” – Sound on Sound magazinesos logo tiny


DR 55Detailed research conducted down the pub reveals that 100% of people had the Boss DR55 as their first drum machine. While this research may not be entirely reliable, the DR55 was popular for some good reasons: it was cheap, it was tough, and it sounded surprisingly good. Even now, that hard thud of a kick drum can hold its own in a track, and the hats are good, too. The snare is short and punchy, but we’ve found a way to make it longer if you want it to be. And there’s a neat little rimshot sound in there too, quite nicely high-pitched.

The real ace up the DR55’s sleeve, though, was its Accent control. You could input Accents in step-time just like another kit piece, and any kit pieces playing at the same time as an Accent would be “punched up” in the pattern by an amount corresponding to the value set with the separate Accent knob. This gave way more variation to patterns programmed on the DR55 than on most of its contemporaries: you could accentuate the backbeat, or go all James Brown and “put it on the One”, or have alternating 16ths have different Accents, or whatever you liked. The limitation, of course, was that all kit pieces playing on an Accented beat would be Accented by the same amount, which wasn’t as subtle as you might hope. But again, we’re ahead of the game here, and have solved that one for you.

Doctor 55 is the Rhythmic Robot take on the DR55. We’ve sampled every kit piece individually at 24bit, through the entire range of the Accent knob. You can control how much Accent each kit piece gets either from the front-panel knob (individually – set what you want for snares, hats, kick and rimshot); or you can vary the Accent level with velocity using our “Velocity Retrofit”. This enables really varied, expressive playing right from your MIDI keyboard (or you can draw in velocity variations in your DAW) – and it can really bring the instrument to life.

We’ve also found the solution to the Short Snare issue. The inbuilt snare sound of the DR55 is actually quite cool in its character, but it’s very short and that limits its usefulness. However, we fiddled around and found a way to get the instrument to glitch out a longer snare. There you go: a second snare sound, sampled alongside the original, with its own Attack and Decay controls hidden on the back panel of the instrument. This gives you access both to the authentic DR55 snare, or your own version of it – perhaps with a longer decay, or a slower attack for a “brushed” sound. Your call! Plus, there’s a UFO on the back panel too, because you can never have too many UFOs.

Dr55 rear panelOf course, you also get individual control over kit piece levels and pan positions, and a raft of signal processors to pump up or grunge out your beats: bit crusher, tube saturation, distortion and output compression are all right there for the tweaking. It’s great to hear this little beatbox get really snarly with some Drive and Comp dialled in!

Doctor 55 is a great way to add some old-school analogue grit to your tracks, or to get back to your roots. After all, statistics prove that this was your first drum machine, right? Well, even it it wasn’t, we reckon you might end up wishing it had been. Doctor 55: the Doctor will see you now…

(All our Kontakt instruments require a full copy of Native Instruments Kontakt v4.2.3 or higher (including all versions of Kontakt 5). Kontakt Player is not supported: instruments will load, but will time out after 15 minutes. See the FAQ for further information.)

11 reviews for Doctor 55

  1. johnup12 (verified owner)

    I find RR’s MR11 to be better-sounding and more tweakable.

  2. W.TaylorRiley (verified owner)

    I wonder what would happen if I put my speakers in front of a punching bag, then played a simple loop from this Doc…? No mercy. Praise be thy name. (say uncle) POW BOOM KABLANG

  3. pwsstudios (verified owner)

    sounds great!

  4. maeasy (verified owner)

    This sounds fantastic! The second snare brings it to the max! I love it! FUNKY!

  5. mrianrjohnson (verified owner)

    I used to own one of these. I bought it from a Cash Converters in Australia for about $10 and then lugged it halfway around the world for a few months. It never really worked properly and had the fiercest crackle I had ever heard, but I loved it. Now this comes along and instantly makes the original hardware redundant by adding saturation and compression to tame the sizzle (if you want to) while retaining the look and feel. Lush!

  6. dstey24 (verified owner)

    Ran some effects on this and sounds fantastic so easy to create good sounding beats.

  7. brianedwardpoe (verified owner)

    The original Doktor Avalanche!
    “First and last and always: ’til the end of time
    First and last and always: Mine”
    I know – The Sisters of Mercy acquired an Oberheim DMX for the album that features FALAA, but this was the first Doktor in the house of Eldritch.

  8. scott (verified owner)

    I never owned the hardware version but this is such a characterful drum machine. It’s already on loads of my projects. Run it through some FX chains and it gets even better,

  9. Ken Merkley

    So many classics were done on this one. New Order, Thomas Dolby, The Cure. All used to great effect and sounding even better here by Rhythmic Robot thanks to the added features.

  10. tim (verified owner)

    Yes, I owned, and still own the mighty Dr Rhythm drum machine, complete with insanely rudimentary programming controls and the best rimshot for well decades ( or at the very least – the late seventies). This emulation really nails it – its like playing with the real Doctor, only via a simple sampler interface and synced to the DAW (boy, we never got the same BPM twice onstage – such a poor dial to read under stage lights). Throw this version through delay and distortion and it sounds like a real grown-up… or leave vanilla for real retro spice. Beats punching in cycles of beats on a tiny punch-pad…

  11. Alister Webb

    I owned one of the real ones and even though the sounds were kinda mickey mouse, even in the day, you could feed it into a guitar amp (yes, really!) and get some great sounds from it. Of course these days put the RR plugin through a few FX and voila, the little big man 🙂 It’s great to have this back in the arsenal.

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