Boss has saved solo acoustic performers looking for rhythmic help from unreliable bongo players or awful backing tracks with the launch of the DR-01S Rhythm Partner. The portable all-in-one beat box has built-in grooves, a range of percussion instruments to choose from and an integrated sound system.
Introduced at the Summer NAMM show in Nashville this week, the DR-01S has been specifically designed to provide percussive backing for unplugged guitarists, or players of other acoustic instruments. It has cooked-in rhythm patterns to choose from, with a good selection of acoustic percussion sounds sourced from high-end products activated using an interface to the right of the system's 4-inch, 7 W custom speaker.
Players can select simple patterns, add variations, and bring in or remove instruments like a shaker, tambourine, conga, hand clap or a full drum kit on the fly. Up to seven instrument categories can be active at any one time, and rhythm combinations can be saved to the unit's internal memory for quick recall. There are also buttons up top to adjust volume, tempo or to start a count-in, and Boss has included a metronome for practice sessions, too.
The cabinet is angled for a stage monitor-like feel, or can be turned around to face the audience and throw sounds into the air. It's powered by six AA-sized batteries for around 10 hours of play-anywhere convenience, or via an included AC adapter, and rocks a built-in sound system.
An aux-in jack allows digital music from a smartphone or dedicated player to be fed through the system, and a line out port facilitates connection to a bigger sound system or studio mixer. And with the addition of optional footswitches, a player can stomp to start/stop, set tap tempo or trigger sounds during a performance without taking their hands away from the guitar.
The DR-01S Rhythm Partner carries a suggested retail price of US$329.99, though the street price is likely to be quite a bit less. The video below introduces the portable beat maker.