BB in combination with Boss DR-880

Does anyone uses the Boss DR-880 drumcomputer in combination with the BB? I mean, does somebody uses the DR-880 to make the beat and then export them to a DAW or directly on the BB? I have both devices and I like the DR880 very much for making the beats, but for performance I prefer the BB!!

Does the DR-880 export MIDI? If it does, it should work, but you may still have to do a bit of editing. But only a bit, because the BB does not adhere strictly to the GM Drums standard, so there are a couple of things missing from the BB drumsets.

Yes dr880 has midi out! Even on the fly (direct export)

MIDI Out does not necessarily mean MI|DI File Export, but you should be able to record the MIDI Out in real time and build your patterns/songs from there. Note that you won’t get drum sounds – BB provides them when you assign a drumset.

A slightly edited old post on this subject:

It can be done. I did something similar with the Alesis SR-16:

As Joe noes, Midi Out does not equate to a MIDI File Export. The DR-880 will send a BULK DUMP of user created files, but this is a sysex file that can only be used by another DR-880. So, you are back to doing the one-by-one recording of the files, as I did with the Alesis.

I have a Boss DR880, and it is on my list of projects to do, but it is not very high on that list. In short, here is the process:

First you are going to need a good DAW capable of recording midi.

  1. Connect your DR880 to your computer. Have it configured for midi out.
  2. Start your DAW. Set up a new blank track for recording midi. Make sure your DAW tempo and the DR-880 tempo are the same, or, better, if you can configure your DAW to slave to the DR880 start, stop and tempo, do that.
  3. Have the DAW track armed for recording.
  4. Play your DR880 drum track and record it.
  5. Check the recording to see that the measures align properly. That is, if there is a kick on beat 1, make sure the kick is really on beat 1. To do this select all notes in the recorded track and move them slightly to get that aligned. Then check to see if measure 2 still lines up. If not, there are timing differences between your DAW and the DR880. i found that Logic and the Alesis SR-16 were usually 1BPM apart. If I had the Alesis at 99 and Logic at 100, the beats aligned, for example.
  6. In regard to 5 above, you may find that you are better off quantizing notes to the nearest 1/32 or 1/64 note for each measure. That worked, too.
  7. Trim the track to be exactly 2 measures long.
  8. Check the mapping of the notes to be sure you have something in your BB kit that will match up with the drum part. That is, if you have a tom on midi 41, and you BB kit has no tom on 41, you are either going to need to edit the BB drum kit, move the notes in the track, or delete that instrument from the track. This is probably the most difficult idea to process.
  9. Export the track as a midi file. It is now ready to be imported into the BB.
  10. Repeat 350 times.

It took me about 2 months to do the Alesis from concept to completion. That was essentially 200 patterns: an A and B of each pattern; plus fills for each pattern. With the DR880, the patterns are separate, so 350 is actually the pattern count. I was also creating drum kits from the Alesis, and that probably took the greater part of the time. I suspect if I were to do just the 350 patterns, I could get that knocked out in about 2 months as well. But, to date sales of the LBDM have been less than stellar, and, although I am very grateful for those sales that I have made, it has not been enough to get me fired up about making a second deep product.

thanx for the explanation ! so it seems a very long work, I’ll think about it.

It’s a lot of steps, but once you set it up once in your DAW and get the hang of it, it should take roughly five times as long as playing each song.

Heck, @Phil_Flood did, like, 350 songs – in his lifetime!


Great write-up, Phil, and some fantastic hard-won tips and tricks. Thanks for doing that!!

Seems I’m wrong about the 350 patterns. It’s actually 500. Maybe the Handsonic has 350. I had that manual out, too, recently.

OK, I’ll try with an easy song at the first time and at some time , maybe I’ll be a pro !! :wink: