NAMM 2018 first look video: Korg’s KR-55 Pro rhythm machine can give you beats for any occasion

NAMM 2018: It’s taken the best part of 40 years - the original was released in 1979 - but now Korg’s KR-55 rhythm machine has a spiritual successor in the form of the KR-55 Pro.

Designed for anyone who wants a wide selection of preset rhythms to play along to, this features a variety of input jacks so that you can hook up your instruments of choice. There’s mixing functionality, effects and an EQ, and if you slot in an SD card you can use the device as a recorder.

Specs are below; expect to see the KR-55 Pro in stores in the spring priced at £259. Find out more on the Korg website.

Korg KR-55 Pro features

  • 24 built-in drum/percussion styles that were recorded live using KORG’s proprietary “Real Groove Technology.”
  • Each rhythm style includes a rich variety of patterns: two variations, basic, fill-in 1, fill-in 2, and ending.
  • Use the chain function to create a rhythm structure for an entire song, and play it automatically.
  • A rich array of input jacks includes one XLR mic input, two guitar/bass inputs, and a stereo AUX input, allowing multi-channel mixing.
  • A high-quality reverb effect and equalizer are provided, giving you the freedom to shape your sound.
  • You can perform along with a rhythm style, and record the combined result as an audio file on an SD card.
  • Multi-track recording is supported, allowing you to produce more sophisticated tracks.
  • The audio player function supports loop playback and automatic consecutive playback.
  • The tuner function features a large meter for good visibility. You can also tune while hearing a guide tone.
  • Acoustage technology delivers a spacious sound.
  • The unit can be powered on six AA batteries, allowing up to seven hours of use.
  • A separately sold foot switch lets you control the unit with your foot. 
  • Drum/percussion sound that overturns your concept of a rhythm machine
  • The KR-55 Pro features “Real Groove Technology” which uses data recorded from actual professional musicians performing at various tempi, and is a completely different technology than conventional rhythm machines. There are a total of 24 high-quality rhythm styles, each fine tuned to provide the best possible feel, to accurately reproduce the experience of playing with a percussionist. The sounds, grooves, and phrases will play back at pristine quality even if you change the tempo, so you can enjoy playing serious jam sessions at your own pace.
  • Use the chain function to easily create sophisticated rhythm tracks
  • Each rhythm style includes a wide variety of patterns: two variations in addition to basic, fill-in 1, and fill-in 2. This means that the KR-55 Pro can provide the accompaniment for an entire song. By using the chain function, which lets you put together and memorize a different rhythm style for each measure, you can freely create even complex rhythm tracks. Up to 30 banks of chains can be stored, and each chain can be up to 999 measures long.
  • A rich array of input jacks and full-fledged mixer functionality

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Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.