Synth Site: korg: kpr 77: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Sašo Podobnik a hobbyist user from Slovenia writes:
If only Korg had chosen to take after the TR-808 instead of the LinnDrum when designing their Korg Programmable Rhythmer (sic!)... While it probably wouldn't have done any better commercially - digital samples was the only thing that really counted back in 1982, and the KPR-77 had none - it would've certainly been a considered a classic today. Lacking the plug-and-play immediacy and the ballsy sound of the TR-606, the machine it was competing against, it quickly and undeservedly fell by the wayside - which only goes to show how otherwise impressive features, such as a comprehensive sequencer with a backlit LCD, a separate output for snare/clap, and cassette memory storage, don't count for much if the interface proves as uninviting as it does on the KPR-77.

When people say that the KPR-77 is "cryptic" or "arcane", you better believe it. It's practically impossible to use it without the manual except for banging on the pads and even with the instructions right in front of you, it's still really easy to get confused. Its sequencer is very powerful, however, and when I still used to programme it (e-mail me to hear it in action), I really appreciated how economical it was with the internal memory by allowing you to make complex chains out of miniature phrases instead of having to input them each time in linear fashion. I also liked the fact that the individual output for the snare allowed for some much-needed individual processing, though without the possibility of panning, you pretty much had to sample it anyway.

How could this strange beatbox possibly be relevant nowadays as much better sounding machines are being disused, if not forgotten? Especially when considering its lack of MIDI and individual outputs, the KPR doesn't seem to stand a chance. Well, there is a saving grace: it's very moddable, the individual drum pots are supposedly easy to get to and there's enough space on the front panel for the knobs. Almost all instruments can be improved upon in this way, and since you can change the sounds on the fly as the sequence is playing, the KPR-77 suddenly becomes a much more interactive instrument. Even so, it's unlikely to set the world on fire but for the money they're going for nowadays (under 100€ - if you can find one, that is), it's worth the admission price for the inspirational value alone.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Sep-24-2007 at 17:13
John Brown a part-time user from England writes:
I love this machine. The manual is very poorly written but once you get your head round it you find it is actually very simple to use. The toms are warm and nice which contrast the nasty snare and clap. In fact the clap is so nasty I love more than any other clap I have heard anywhere!! The kick drum is a little flabby but there are plenty of other kicks in the world. If you don't mind going inside and tweaking the pots on the circuit board there is a range of new options to discover. I have tightened up the kick recently and I do prefer it now. There are 3 banks of 16 patterns giving a total of 48 which is plenty for me. I tend to ignore the facility to chain the patterns together into songs and just change them live as the machine is playing. You can programme either is step time or by playing the pads live. TOP TIP: the manual often forgets to metion that you need to hold down the pad that select the pattern as you switch over to write mode. This stumped me for a while but now i'm workrd that out I find it very intuitive to operate

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Mar-16-2007 at 06:37
Chris a part-time user from London, England writes:
I use a KPR-77 as my main drum machine when writing synth based stuff (I also play bass in a guitar band). The reason it has become the mainstay of my setup is down to the tight analogue drum sounds, and the sophistication of the sequencer. Although the KPR gets compared unfavourably to the TR-606, I find it hard to understand why. The 606 has a much more basic sequencer with a limited number of patterns. The sounds on the 606 are also very thin, something that also afflicts the overrated TR-808.

Things worth noting about the KPR include the ability to tweak the sounds via potentiometers inside the machine. The kick sound is often too 'flabby', and benefits from tightening up. Open the KPR up and try fiddling with the potentiometers. Another important point is that the sequencer isn't easy to work out without the manual. Once you do learn how to use it, then it is quite straightforward, just don't expect the immediacy of a TR-808.

Bringing a KPR into the world of MIDI isn't hard. For several years I had my KPR synced up to a Roland MC-202, but now I just use a Kenton Electronics MIDI to Sync convertor.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Dec-02-2003 at 04:14
veste from sweden writes:
This machine had been lying around for some time in my studio...the sounds were not that useful. Then I synced it up with a kenton pro-solo... already much better, but to my opinion it needed some more improvement. That's when I dug into it's circuits, all basic analog drummachine op-amp stuff. Easy to determine what to change to make its sound tweakable.

My KPR77 has now an external box hooked up to it with following adjustements: BD: tune, decay (can sound pretty fat now) Snare: tune, decay, noise amount toms: tune, decay (HT and LT each) HHOp& HHCl: Square osc tune, Noise amount, decay Cymbal: noise amount, decay (great!) and an overall noise filter, influencing HH, Cym, Snare and Handclaps.

I think it was well worth the effort to modify it and I still can change it back to original at any moment. To me it has become a really worthy machine, with some quite unique sounds, I would never trade it in again.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Oct-09-2003 at 10:52
RYAN MOD a part-time user from CT. USA writes:
This is a great box!

It's IMPOSSIBLE to program without the manual (unless you're super-whiz on beat boxes) but it's easily found online.

I love the sounds, the amount of storage space, plenty of outputs, sliders, and just about everything else EXCEPT the fact that real-time programming in Tap-Write mode is not exactly user-friendly. It's very difficult (at least on mine) to get only one snare hit where you want it to go, or only one bass drum hit. There's a strange resistance to the buttons which causes the voice to trigger multiple times when pressed the wrong way. No problem though, because writing in Step is a cinch, once you get the hang of it.

An excellent machine for the price, I say!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Apr-30-2002 at 16:06
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