This small drum machine doesn’t look like much, but in fact it has a good amount of nice features, and is more versatile than one would expect from a preset drum box. This is mainly due to the presence of five ‘cancel’ buttons which allow you to remove unwanted sounds from any of the rhythms; very useful, because so many times you find a great beat, but one of the sounds ruins it…
The HR-2 also has a digital numerical display that actually writes the bar number, instead of the usual blinking light in other units from the era. This must have been pretty exciting at the time!
Of course, you can depress more than one button at a time, which allows for unexpected variations (or, as they say, super variations!), and one of the beats is in 5/4 time, which is pretty unusual for any preset drum machine…
This drum box was pretty expensive at the time, as can be seen from the following catalog; 55,000 Yen amounts to more than 500$ US dollars!
Technical Info / Service Notes
I’ve never had an issues with my HR-2 so far, so no maintenance has been performed. I’m planning to mod it for multiple outputs in the future, I’ll update this section once it’s done.
One thing that worries me is the presence of what seems to be a ROM chip to store the preset rhythms. Every time I see one of those, I get nervous. You see, once they go, there’s nothing much that can be done except finding another unit and ripping the chip from it. And they do fail, it’s happened to me more than once… So I’m crossing my fingers this one won’t break.
|Manufacturer||Hillwood corp. (Japan)|
|Date||Mid/late seventies (appears in a 1977 catalog)|
|List price||55,000 yen|
|Sounds||8 (BD, SD, Cy, low conga, high conga, claves, bongos, tamborine)
|Presets||10 (Mambo, Rhumba, Bossa Nova, 5/4 Jazz, March, 3/4 Jazz, Waltz, Rock, Swing, Samba)
|Controls||- Balance control
- Cancel buttons for five sounds: low conga, high conga, bongo, claves, tamborine
|Footswitch||Start / Stop|
|Related models||The Hillwood HR-30 Super Variation|
Very helpful info – nicely done.