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Yamaha DD-55

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8 Reviews

Brand: Yamaha

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    8 Reviews
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      24.05.2015 14:55
      Not Helpful



      Highly recommended!

      These are very good for people that are just starting out! I purchased one of these to get a feel for it and then had a few drumming lessons to put it into practice! Once you've learnt the basics putting it on a proper drum kit is easy! Highly recommend!


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      28.06.2012 01:31
      Very helpful



      Good starter definitely.

      I can't believe I found this....

      When I was 12 I decided I wanted to play the drums because let's face it, they're awesome.

      Well, Christmas morning comes and wouldn't you know it, I have these sitting there in all their shiny glory. Much to the annoyance of my parents I spent the next 6 months playing these babies and they were nothing but good to me, the pads are ULTRA heavy duty, they stand up to anything you throw at them.

      On many occasions I dropped these things onto hard floors and they just stood up to it, definitely a Yamaha product.

      The sound bank is absolutely huge, and the editing of your pad sounds is as simple as pie, any kind of drum combination you want is right there at the press of a button, and it's very easy to get to know your way around. I have always been into metal music so naturally I want double kick pedals, all I had to do was take a minute to find one out of the many choices to replace my hi-hat pedal sound and BAM!

      The sound quality itself is absolutely fantastic, the sounds are crisp and clear and depending on your volume setting they can be very loud, you could always whack in some headphones and stop people getting jealous at how good you're getting, however this doesn't cut out the loud sound of stick on pad.

      There is a hand percussion mode which makes the pads more sensitive and allows you to play with your hands, this is kinda cool but tbh I never really remember using it for anything except smashing out some bongos on occasion, which is always fun.

      I do however have a criticism, I often found myself getting frustrated as sometimes certain things I did wouldn't register, sometimes I'd hit two things simultaneously and one or both would just cancel and I'd hear nothing at all, this obviously was a major pain in the bum as it just throws everything out of whack.

      If you have a certain someone you know or even you yourself would like to learn how to play the drums I would definitely recommend these to get yourself off the ground and get yourself a basic understanding of rhythm.

      I found the transition from this set to a real set very easy when it came to making the leap, this is a very cheap and effective way to get yourself going. Very fun.


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      03.01.2012 00:25
      Very helpful



      Can find a place in any drum players' practice.

      I think one of a number of obstacles in front of many youngsters wanting to learn the drums is the fact that they take up so much room. Portable instruments are obviously a lot easier to transport for practice, and the space they require can be a clear barrier. The other issue you may be faced with is the cost. Full-sized drum kits can cost many hundreds of pounds, and if you fall out of love with the instrument it can be a pain to shift, as again the issue of size comes into play. The solution may be a slight compromise but here we have the Yamaha DD-55 which is effectively an electric drum kit. Priced at around the £80-£100 mark it isn't cheap, but it is competitively priced in comparison to your average drum kit.

      This isn't the only electric drum kit Yamaha make, but I find it is the most accurate in terms of real sound and natural positioning of the pads. There are seven touch-sensitive pads on this 'kit', each one is fully customisable to your personal needs. The reactions of the pads are dependant upon how hard you hit them, and this is a key feature for me. There are two foot pedals with the kit, ensuring as close a match to a full-sized kit as possible. Don't get me wrong, this IS NOT going to perfectly replicate the natural drum kit experience, but it is great for practicing on at home. You can position the bongo, tom-tom and snare drums wherever you desire, which allows you to make the 'kit' your own. The foot pedals finish off the effect.

      The possibilities really are endless, as you are able to add a backing beat to help you along the way. You can record and play back your own customised beat, or select one from the Yamaha catalogue stored on the DD-55. There are other useful features, one of which you would expect with this kind of product. A headphone jack allows you to 'silently' play without disturbing anyone - something which places it at an advantage over a real drum kit!

      One thing I do think could be improved on is the basic and tiny screen towards the front of the DD-55. This is a very basic feature and could offer a lot more information to the user. There is an Official Yamaha stand, designed specifically for this model. For an extra £20 it is surely worth the added cost and although you can rest the DD-55 on a table the stand is a very valuable accessory. The reason I say this is that the stand is fully adjustable - something a table cannot be, and this allows you to achieve the correct and comfortable playing height.

      Although this is a very realistic piece of kit, both in terms of sound and technique it will never replace the drum kit. There is nothing like playing a drum kit, apart from playing the real thing. The Yamaha DD-55 is a great piece of kit and gives anyone practicing the instrument a taste of what it is like to play. The conclusion here is that the DD-55 has its place when it comes to practice for drum players, but there will always be the need to play the physical kit regularly, also.


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      19.10.2010 16:21



      I think that the DD55 is a wonderful piece of equipment to work with. It may have it's flaws but just because you have 20 years of professional experience it doesn't mean that you can say the DD55 is a pice of crap....try making one for yourself if you're not satisfied. With that being said, the DD55 is ideal for a small gig rather than having to carry the entire kit. It can be used for applications where the drum kit can't normally go. The best part about it is that it comes with a stand so it looks really professional. It may not be the best in the world but like a lot of people it how u get the best out of it.


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      17.05.2010 18:45
      Very helpful



      Good piece of kit for home use. Great for beginners, not as good for your more than average drummer

      Want an electronic drum kit but dont have the space for a full size kit? The Yamaha DD-55 does the job. If your looking to touch up on your drumming skills, or simply a beginner looking to learn, this piece of kit makes sure your not left out.

      With it's 7 customisable touch sensitive pads, each one reacting to how hard you hit them, and 2 foot pedals which can be customised from being the standard Bass and Hi-Hat pedals to the Heavy Metal person looking for a Double Bass pedal. You don't have to stick to just a Drum Kit, with the options to add African Drum sounds, or looking to do your own Techno beat, the choices go on.

      The kit is quite large and can be used on a desktop, table or you can fork out a few quid to get the official stand made by Yamaha. You have the option to record and play back your own custom beat, adjust the volume, switch between pre-set kits or select your own custom kit to suit your needs. You also have a MIDI output connection for those who use MIDI programming software like Reason. And your large headphone jack to keep the neighbours happy.

      Having said all that I personally feel this kit should not be used for gigging, be it at a the local pub or on stage, only home use. But that's just my opinion and I'm not saying you have to agree with me. If you get a decent enough Amplifier and adjust the volume on the pads and Amp I'm sure you could get a good use out of it.

      The kit also has it downfalls. After a few months of playing it I noticed it would freeze, or just switch off and back on again and delete my custom kit and recording. Sometimes the pedals would only work when I take me foot OFF the pedal, not as soon as I touch it like it's meant to, rather annoying when trying to get your bass drum part in time. A solution to that is to disconnect the pedal and pop it in again, but still a bit annoying.

      Overall I would recommend this product to beginners or people looking to touch up their drumming skills at home that done have a lot of space for a full kit. Shame about the glitch of it restarting or freezing but maybe I got a faulty kit.

      Hope this review was helpful.


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    • More +
      08.07.2008 16:45



      dont buy.

      absolute crap.
      i tried useing this for a small club gig. crap. bass pedal inconsistent. snare pad is just as bad. must have pin point accuracy for snare.
      it says "sampled drum" on it. i dont know where they got the samples from, but they all sound like electric drums to me.
      the main problem is the playability. the pedals dont work as good as they would need to. you cant go 30 seconds without a failure of some kind. i've been a pro musician for 20 years. i've had the yamaha dd5, dd11, this dd55, and another rap oriented dd that i think was a dd15.
      this, like all of the other yamaha dd's that i've purchased; is now a toy for my child.
      f.rock www.animalhouseband.com
      for rock music the dd11 was by far the best; but i wouldnt advise buying the dd55; kinda pricey, and you also must purchase the power adapter seperatly, and that's also overpriced.


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      04.06.2007 02:02
      Very helpful



      For beginner and amateur drummers who want to learn, not show off!!

      Have a child who wants a drum kit? Thanks to technology there have always been several styles of drum kits available, from basic sets to gig sets which consist only of skins on stands. There has always been however digital drum pads in the form of electronically produced companies such as Casio, Korg and Yamaha. ** This is a long review **

      Short of extending another room, or possibly attic space, a drum kit takes up a lot of space and causes problems particularly when it's being transported outside to live venues - if it is ever to be used for that purpose. Yamaha however appear to have the answer for space limits in a home as well as enabling beginner drummers to drum away in perfect peace thanks to headphone sockets.

      ** Nar’s Quick Skip Specifications **

      • 7 touch sensitive pads,
      • 45 programmed kits
      • 192 voices
      • 100 preset songs with additional 50 drums.
      • Adjustable song and drum kit "block out," facility.
      • Stereo speakers, with bass port boosts.
      • General MIDI, in and out.
      • Headphone jack
      • Bass drum pedal/hi-hat footswitch input jacks.
      • 2 pedals
      • Portable design, can also be run on batteries.
      • Tempo control using tap start.
      • Adjustable metronome "click".
      • Adaptable pads which can use hands as well as drum sticks, 2 of which are supplied in natural wood finish.
      • Reverb and Chorus effects.
      • User Bank for one set up for custom made drum kit.
      • Large red LED display panel.
      • Recording Facility
      • Initial weight; just under 4kg.
      • Does not come with mains adaptor!

      *** Yamaha - The School's Favourite Brand ***

      Used by many secondary schools up and down the country, Yamaha music instruments aren't just restricted to home keyboards. Yamaha make wind instruments whilst still maintaining good quality and value for money. Yamaha also make percussion kits, ranging from classical timpani sets up to beginner to semi-professional and indeed professional acoustic drum kits. You don't need to take out a second mortgage on your house to buy one, but you may need a possible loan! A beginner's acoustic drum kit presently costs for example between £450 and upwards, all the way to £2500.00 for a full professional set of drums and that can be a bit of a shock for a parent's child who is pinning to become the world's next best thing. What are the alternatives available?

      Of the preferred portable choices at most Secondary schools, teachers hand out rubber practice kits - a rubber cylindrical disk stuck to a wooden block and whilst this allows the user to drum happily away without being too noisy and it is intended to be used so that pupils can teach themselves hand control with left and right hand coordination and playing together, it can get boring! Of course, Hi hats, cymbals and lower, middle and higher drums for example are not accessible in such applications. But rubber pads are all very well for practising coordination and timing, what if you want something that creates sounds, that allows children and adults to experiment with sound as well as being able to drum?

      ** Prices and Stockists **

      The local music teacher at the Secondary school recommended an electronic drum kit, along the lines of Yamaha's already established machines but at £169-00 retail price from Yamaha direct I thought this was quite expensive for this more preferred product model than Yamaha's cheaper model the DD35 which only sports 4 pads - this machine has 7 pads and two directional pedals. But there's more to the eye than this product's spec on paper.

      Further research into this product brought the same price to £169-00 including my trusted store; Argos which I thought would have been cheaper. But no, £170-00 was the price quoted from almost all stockists I considered. John Lewis in Glasgow priced this offering at £171-00! Right across the board, retail wise this model came in at precisely £169-00. EBay revealed one main dealer with free P&P at £155-00. This is also the product which is featured highly on Yamaha's own advertising channel slots on the QVC Satellite channel on TV.

      But, the best price goes to my local and trusted (although I never thought of looking) Scottish Power electrical showroom which had this on at the previous £169-99 to £129-00. Now, that's more like it!! Particularly when even with all the stockists price quotes, none of the stockists include a mains adaptor, thanks to the worldwide availability of this product, and indeed the amount of languages in the manual dictate.

      ** General Controls & The User Manual **

      If anyone has ever used Yamaha keyboards from 1997 onwards then they will recognise some of the instant features on this machine. Recognisable features such as buttons and dials to control volume and options are the same as my own six year old Yamaha PSR 340 keyboard and as such getting around this machine is extremely easy with little input from the manual; although the manual itself is like any other Yamaha electronic keyboard manual; it has every possible detail covered and it is written in many different languages. It is well worth reading, even if controls look and feel similar particularly to any classically trained musician who has never used a drum machine before! This means for example that, if you want to change tempo, it's easy to use the designed black arrows located on the main fascia of the machine, but say you want to change a particular style, you have to keep your finger on the "Drum" button and the scroll key together to change the drum voice altogether. Whilst Yamaha could well have made the machine bigger to accommodate more buttons, the style which they have adopted here indicates a general sense of ease of use.

      ** Voices Available **

      This means out of 45 programmed kits available, there is a lot to choose from. Voices such as Latin sounds, Jazz, Rock, Symphonic, Analogue, Electric and Disco style drum sounds can be reached from this machine but it takes some time getting used to when the actual names of the drums are not located on the machine via single buttons. Reading the manual is the first thing you should do when you get this machine, no matter how experienced you are with general technology.

      ** Quality of Controls **

      The switches and controls in general move with precision although it's a shame that the on off slide bar control feels so cheap. It has the function of being put on "standby," when batteries are used in lieu of mains power. The large screen digital display is similar in style to that of a microwave digital clock window and only allows 3 capitals at the most to show what has been selected. Red dots also appear whenever a preset rhythm bank or when the metronome "click" button has been selected and run across from left to right to show the first beat and last beats of the general tempo. At least in the colour of red, the light is bright enough to be seen in poor light, if anything and doesn't cause glare.

      In terms of main controls, all controls have been marked clearly in red writing upon the silver colour of this machine, other than the Scroll Dial which has many features. The Demo button is yellow in colour, which mimics many of Yamaha's own keyboards with the same function whilst other buttons are black rubber circles and arrows. Small red LED dots have also been added to the design which show when certain banks of percussion have been selected or not.

      ** Quality of Sounds **

      Over the DD35, Yamaha's little brother, the DD55 has several features which improve the general stereo quality of sound. For starters you get a bass boost function which adds to the overall sound production - the bass drum for example and several of the lower drums vibrate sometimes if the volume is set too high - 2 way stereo speakers and Yamaha's much acclaimed AWM, which basically means Yamaha's "Advanced Wave Memory," which enables as close to the real sound of percussion as possible. As with the DD35 Touch Response means that effective balance between loud and soft can be achieved, but against the DD35's 16 note polyphony, a further 16 notes can also be played at the same time, which is double the capacity on the DD55.

      The speakers on this product are limited to just 20 watts, 10 watts for each speaker respectively and sure enough without headphones, the quality of sound is very impressive. Sometimes I am reminded of the quality that Sony products in the 1970's seem to sound similar with this 2000 year product. But with headphones inserted, the sound control on the volume doesn't appear to go high enough for my liking, although Yamaha are more concerned about the owner's ear drums here rather than choice of volume.

      However, if you want to boost the volume on the machine in general you could well buy a small amplifier to boost the sound. Without anything, the machine copes well and puts out a lot of volume set to its highest rating and I rather appreciate Yamaha's reason to put a limiter on headphones each time they are plugged in - any headphones can be used infact but they must have the 35mm bigger plug adaptor, which also serves as the lead socket for any amplifier cable used in conjunction. With the headphones plugged in of course, you can have you own little world of percussion without disturbing anyone, and it is perfect for practising undisturbed.

      Of the sounds available, Yamaha have gone to great strengths to add suitable reverb and DSP levels for each programmed kit. Unlike Casio, which I deem as the cheaper brand for most electronic music instruments, the drum sounds available on this machine actually sound very similar to real life drums and the reverb changes constantly per drum kit style which has been selected, adds colour and variation between the styles too. Chorus effects are also added which adds yet more colour to the overall sound that this machine puts out.

      *** Particular Helpful Features ***

      The Yamaha DD55 is equipped with 100 preset songs saved on its internal memory and only a connection through MIDI points to a computer can ever erase the songs that Yamaha have pre-recorded. Although purely instrumental based, you can select many styles and have the availability of playing along.

      There are of course several ways you can do this. Similar in design to my own Yamaha keyboard which has a 6 bank track recording equaliser, you can cancel out certain banks of drums featured in the songs which give the player the opportunity to either copy the style by ear or put in their own version of drumming. Take out 3 percussion styles and you are left with just the metronome ticking or perhaps a tambourine or similar percussion instrument ticking away in the background. You see, learning can be fun, even if it means you are simply training your ear in the process to pick up rhythm rather than learning it from music notation.

      The DD55 also supports the idea of being used like a hand drum machine and when this feature is activated, it is possible to use all 7 pads for hand drum sounds. Whenever this feature is switched on however, drum sticks cannot be used.

      ** Additional Percussive Sounds **

      The DD55 also has an additional 50 drum styles that you can also "cancel" channels with which enables more creativity and drumming practise.

      These instrumental tracks aren't just limited to the drum samples but also have a full bass and piano or orchestral / backing accompaniment. If say you don't like the sound of Yamaha's pre -recorded Big Time Band swing rhythm, you can cancel the drums out and add in your own version whilst the accompaniment and general "tune" fill out the bars. It's almost as if despite the fact that you are learning, Yamaha offers a suitable "teacher" method of supplying and supporting you with sounds. 4 tracks can be cancelled; the bass drum, the snare drum, the cymbal and the backing accompaniment.

      ** Performance Facilities **

      Unlike other accompaniments on similar drum machines I have tried, the duration of the songs seem to play for a very long period which is totally controlled by the user and not the machine! On the left hand side of the machine just located in the middle, there is a pie chart circle which shows 4 buttons. Whilst Start/Stop is self explanatory, there are several buttons included which improve the possibility of playing live and putting in your own fill ins and breaks. For example;

      Upon hitting the Break/Tap button once when the backing track is being played, you can have an empty space of 4 bars of silence which enables the user to add a fill in before returning to the original song. Another button located on the left hand "circular" pie chart area also allows users to obtain a Repeat A-B button which effectively puts the music back into the A section or B section depending on specifying. The digital display shows "A-b" or just "b" on its own when this button is activated, and like all the other sounds on this machine, everything can be stopped by pressing the Stop button also located within the pie chart circle.

      To exit any of the pre -recorded banks, you simply press Break/Tap again to cancel the function previously activated and press Stop to cease production of pre-recorded sounds.

      Other facilities that are available on the DD55 such as change of DSP and Reverb have to be reached by pressing three buttons on the main fascia. Although this isn't the hardest task to perform, it can be forgotten particularly when working with this machine in school. Again it helps to read the manual here and I can understand why Yamaha have gone to great strengths to make the changes harder for children who may not want to practise in class time but happily busk away because the activation of DSP and reverb actually makes it harder to cheat!

      ** Recording **

      Letters "CU" (Custom User) will be shown if the record button is pushed. Firstly it's important to select the voices that you want to record, with either all the banks selected or without any backing accompaniment. Any backing tracks from 0-99 can be used, and if for example a Waltz rhythm style is selected, the metronome starts to click 3 times as a count in before the user can start to play. The recorded song is then saved under the "CU" setting.

      ** Any Other Features? **

      Well the 7 pads located on the machine have already been pre-assigned with voices but you can change them to suit how you feel, if for example after a while you tire of the set up that Yamaha have provided. I haven't changed the set up since I bought the machine in the summer because Yamaha's pre assigned pads mimic the real drum kit at school.

      For example, the smallest pad to the left hand side is a Crash Cymbal, larger pads upwards and falling down to the right hand side indicate Mid, Low and Floor Tom-Tom's (similar to the sound you get right at the beginning of "Eastenders" TV programme sound tune!) whilst the small pad in the right hand side is set to a Ride Cymbal. The Snare drum or Open Rim Shot is located on the bottom left hand side whilst bang in the middle where the last seventh pad is located, this small pad allows a closed hi hat in conjunction with the Left hand pedal or open without the pedal being pushed, whilst the last pedal on the right hand side of the machine sets the bass drum.

      You can swap around these voices as much as you want by pressing the "Pad" button and once all the desired settings have been met, press the "Kit" button to save the settings. Thereafter the machine will keep your settings saved - but switch off the mains power and back on again - and that memory will STILL be saved.

      To erase any of the Custom User settings, nothing could be simpler - simply switch off the machine and before switching it back on, press the Demo button down and switch the machine on. The letters "CLR" to indicate clear will be shown in the digital display in red LEDs to let the user know that all of their custom memory is clear.

      The foot pedals which are supplied with this machine are very easy to fit, as well as headphones, amplifier and mains power adaptor. Everything either fits into the left or right hand underside of the machine.

      ** General Use Compared to a Drum Kit **

      Whenever I use the drum machine at school I quite enjoy the experience. The sticks that Yamaha provide are wooden suitably curved and must be used with the machine at all times unless the Hand percussion button has been activated. Importantly though, the sticks and hands can be used to hit any side of the pad - Yamaha have gone to all the trouble of producing each pad with an overall rim that covers every part of the sensitivity levels. What is more apparent though is that the machine will not play if you think you can pick up the sticks and just bash through. The machine's elongated angle moves toward the user but at the same time demands that the proper seating position must be maintained in order for all the pads to be hit correctly. The Yamaha offers up a very similar set up physically to the same set up found on a standard drum kit.

      ** Any Downsides? **

      There are few that I have noticed in particular with this model, since we have also used this at school in the classroom and also used for performance when the drum kit proved too bulky to dismantle and transport. In terms of general performance, the DD55 impresses and many of our audiences have asked - where's the drum kit? - Only to see a pupil in the background of the band by an amplifier drumming on this silver hi tech looking machine. Whilst the controls are ideal for one person all the time, Yamaha could well develop a machine which has greater access to controls for all to enjoy.

      One of the problems that I don't like about this machine is the fact that the pedals don't have grips fitted to them. This means whilst I'm in throws of showing pupils how to drum a 16 beat rhythm pattern, the pedals can start to move across the floor and in time; start to loosen the connection to the machine. At the moment my DD55 is located on a table flat against a wall so that the pedals don't have a chance to escape! At least with the experience of using the machine at school, I can return home and be sure not to make the same mistakes on my DD55!

      Another problem is the simple fact that the DD55 does not come with a mains adaptor as standard and for that reason I think that is quite silly despite the machine's known availability worldwide. Any mains adaptor can be used although Yamaha would prefer customers to buy an exclusive Yamaha branded adaptor ("PA-5C"), which is available to buy from Yamaha's massive UK website. I on the other hand didn't bother because you can use any mains corded adaptor with a 12V supply.

      *** Conclusion ***

      In terms of providing a suitable machine in lieu of an expensive and bulky drum kit this product gets a thumbs up from me. It does everything it is supposed to do, but with its general ease of use and sheer quality of sound, this is the ideal machine that could be bought even if it doesn't portray the actual physicality a real percussion drum kit conveys. Being a Yamaha means that it can also be connected to a MIDI keyboard and transmit voice signals over or used in conjunction with a PC which has Yamaha software installed - a cost option but not necessary if this product is to be used purely as a drum machine. Yamaha's smaller DD35 which comes in at £99 doesn't have as many features as the DD55, and for the extra £35-00 I paid for this model, I feel that the DD55 has a more rounded universal appeal.

      In terms of being used every day, from time to time we have endured accidents where the pedals have been stamped on too hard and after a 3 year ownership, the school DD55 will need a new set of pedals before long. The touch sensitivity applies to both the drum pads and the pedals though, which opens up similar musical creation with a real drum kit. The silver detailing and overall finish is classy although our 3 year old machine has managed to withstand minor scrapes incredibly well.

      The manual for this machine is very easy to read with clear explanations given for every device and feature on the machine. It is primarily written in English, then French; German and Spanish. The manual also sports a very quick "trouble shooting" guide as well as full instruction of how to use MIDI with the device.

      So if you want to brag to your friends that you are going home to have a politically correct domestic, this is the machine to do it on! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.



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        13.05.2003 05:30
        Very helpful



        It's been a while since I've written a review, and the DD55 is one such surprising product worthy of a praising one as it's one that I would like to discuss with many people, without boring the uninterested. Thus I'm sparked to write. Digital percussion (or electronic drum kits, to be less snobby) has existed in many forms in the last few decades, most notably in late disco and early eighties pop which didn't do much for the longevity of it. The sounds were often rather laughably camp and unresponsive compared to their age-old acoustic counterparts. They were fancy executive toys (which many still are) relegated to attics. Nothing has changed much but electronic percussion has become much more fashionable in the last 5 years than it ever has - mostly due to the fact of successes like Roland's VDrums range (though expensive) - and electronic aided compositions (whether the end sound is more organic or not) are no longer a scarcity due to the slow progressive assimilation by dance music via crossovers and other sub-levels. I own an acoustic kit, and before I bought one I graduated to it via seeing if I would stick with this drum lark by investing in one of Yamaha's early DD machines, the DD9 (which after a decade since I bought it is still available as an as-far-as-I-can-see cosmestically modified DD20) back in the early 90's. It was by all means a borderline toy; fun for the kids but with considerable use for those who wanted simple practice percussion. Fast forward through the years and you'll see amongst other things that the DD55 already existed somewhere in between as a slightly less featured DD50 (now obsolete) that competed with the likes of Roland (not that there are many serious/semi-serious portable percussion pad manufacturers), and even usurped their similarly (but slightly higher) priced product line in terms of response and features; the 'going' thing for Roland was that thei
        r machines looked more serious and the brand name was slightly detracted from the idea of supplying instruments to families. And oh yes, they eventually made VDrums. The DD range didn't retire though, it had it's niche and a loyal base due to good pricing and apt features, plus the majority of digital percussionists would prefer a smaller kit than a large one. Think why programmable drum machines are such a success - no need to lug big cowskin topped cylinders around. Thus the DD50 was recently reborn in a remodelled shell with some enhancements as the DD55, and available in your local Argos alongside the similarly designed DD35 which is pretty much a learners version of the DD9/20. The DD55 is fairly weighty and bulky for a little machine, but with it's variety of features you shouldn't be surprised. Marketed as 'for the serious drummer' it appeals as it features the holy grail of electronic connectivity: General MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface - which has been going since the early 80's) - thus naturally played rhythm tracks can be played into your favourite sequencer app. It's much more intuitive than clicking in hits by a mouse or tapping them in by keyboard keys which can be time consuming and can produce a mechanicalness which may not always be desirable. The MIDI implementation via In/Out sockets is perfect (considering Roland's SPD's only do Outs), topped off with a little MIDI menu for more sequencer/hardware specific functions, plus you can record 1 20,000 (don't ask me how long that is, but it's plenty) note custom song which you can upload to your computer via special free software that you can download - perfect for capturing performances when you don't have anything to dump to handy; just make sure that the adaptor or batteries, even when off, are there to preserve the data - an irritating thing. The plastic body is silver at the top and black beneath, with 7
        black pads (4 5" and 3 small), rubber buttons, mesh plastic covering the bass port enhanced stereo speakers (you nary need an amp when playing in the confines of a bedroom etc.) and a 3 digit red LCD display. The pads are touch sensitive (and there's even a very response-y hand percussion mode with realistic hand percussion kits) and the samples are all in clear stereo. You may be forgiven for thinking that the acoustic drum kits respond almost like a real kit and are nearly as fun. The gripe jaws in with the fact that you can still hear the sound of rubber when you strike the pads with the sticks (supplied - an adaptor is the only thing that's not) and due to the pads being small you may miss, and if you don't you may sometimes not ignite the sound (though sensitivity can be adjusted to a degree) or get the strikes to 'flow' as you want them to. This can be demonstrated in the fact even if a maestro drummer recorded to the in-built sequencer, they may sound clumsy some of the time due to the restrictions. Having said that, I've read that the response beats Rolands, and some of the sounds match VDrums. There are 45 programmed kits (and space for one custom) and just under 200 sounds which can be assigned to any of the pads (or the two pedals for hi-hat and kick). The hi-hat pedal can also, smartly, be assigned to perform choke hi-hat action for the left-most selectively defined hi-hat pad. Nice one; don't bother with double kicking metal heads. The sounds range from percussion instruments around the world, coupled with some interesting sound effects and fills - thus you can trigger predefined programmed rolls with a single strike. To cater for those who are new to the percussion world there is tuition via 100 built-in rhythm styles to play along to, plus a few other features like the aforementioned triggering of in-built fills and the ability to listen to specific segments (the A-B marker function) to learn
        from. It mighn't match the visualness in tuition like the DD35's lighted drum rings but it is enough for someone with natural rhythm. In-built Reverb effect can also be applied, while DSP can be controlled via a connected sequencer. A headphone jack completes the kit as does great documentation with appendix tables for reference. The DD55 is by no means a replacement for an acoustic kit (and neither are VDrums) but for the price and features, the DD55 is possibly the best portable solution for digital percussion for both the pro and the above-amateur. It's portability and brilliant sampled sounds, plus full-featured MIDI make it a brilliant electronic and almost acoustic kit for recording (it's way cheaper than a mixer and a barrage of mics for an acoustic kit), and a pretty good first drum kit for anyone. The DD55 might be considered by the smug as an impressive toy, but so was the Roland TB-303 bass machine which ended up becoming a standard instrument in dance music. That's not saying the DD55 will end up with historical significance (though it might, who knows?) but what's for sure is that won't be trappled on by it's competition, and is well worth a look by someone who wants portable, powerful and versatile digital percussion. I give it almost full thumbs up.


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      • Product Details

        7 Touch Sensitive Drum Pads Allow Expressive Playing / Programmed Drum Kits / Hand Percussion Mode Adds Realism When Playing with Hands / Stereo Speakers with Bass Port Provide Great Sound Quality.

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