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Rating and Reviews: Zoom RT-223 Rhythm Trak

Sequence beats on 13 touch-sensitive pads. The RT-223 is packed with 511 patterns, 70 drum kits and 12 bass sounds, with reverb, compression and EQ controls.

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"Great little bargain with lots of great sounds just around the learning curve." submitted June 3, 2011

By a customer from comcast.net
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Musical Background: Songwriter/Singer/Producer
Music Style: Pop/Adult Pop/Modern Country
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: I was looking for some new, realistic drum sounds for tasteful use on a mostly-acoustic recording project. This unit includes a number of kits that give me exactly what I wanted. Most of the preset patterns are a bit too cluttered, but once I learned how to copy them and remove the excessive clicks and clacks I was happy. Programming from scratch felt a bit convoluted at first (I'm used to an entry-level Alesis machine), but after a few hours I was able to quickly create plenty of my own tasteful, simple patterns. Feature: My first set of batteries seem to be lasting a long time, but I can't help but think it's pretty sneaky, cheap and environmentally-unfriendly of the manufacturer to not include an AC adapter with this product. The features of the machine itself are great, now that I'm learing to find them and use them. I like having the standard L/R outputs for recording, and a headphone output for programming anywhere at any time. (My old drum machine didn't have a headphone output.) I don't use the bass line option, so it's a feature about which I know nothing (I turn it off). I'm a fan of the "song mode" on this thing; it's pretty easy to load a bunch of patterns and go button-to-button while recording in real time--exactly what I wanted. (I'd give the features a 9 or 10 if an adapter were included. $20 extra for a made-in-China adapter that probably costs them $2 seems excessive to me.) Ease of Use: The manual is one of those "let me stare at this page for a while and maybe it will make sense" manuals. The information is presented in a reasonably sensible manner, but some important info isn't in logical places and an "I hate reading instructions"-type person like me could experience a little initial frustration. Once I got around the learning curve, I realized that this machine is pretty flexible and can do more than I expected. A few days in, it was taking me very little time to get exactly what I wanted. I'm keeping my percussion tracks way back in the mix on the current project, and these are sounding great with just a little reverb. Quality: Considering the cheap price, this unit seems pretty solid. I'm expecting it to hold up well in the studio. Value: My percussion needs are pretty modest, but I can say that I got everything I expected and everything I needed and then some from this inexpensive item. I didn't want to spend much, and I'm delighted to have found just the right product at this price point. Manufacturer Support: I haven't had any reason to get in touch with the manufacturer. The Wow Factor: The physical appearance of this machine is not impressive. But I tend to keep my fake percussion hidden in a corner when I'm not using it, and I didn't buy it to impress anyone. Overall: I had pretty much exhausted the percussion options in my studio, and now I feel like I have the flexibility I'll need for quite a while. I don't anticipate needing an upgrade any time soon.
77 of 79 people (97.47%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Seems like the very best bang for the buck" submitted September 18, 2009

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: singer/song writer/engineer/producer/studio owner
Music Style: pop
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: Very good, clean sounds. I could easily use this on commercial releases. decent variety of various snares, kicks, toms, and many other percussion sounds. cymbals don't ring forever, but in many tracks that is a good thing. velocity can alter pitch on some toms and other sounds, but there doesn't seem to be multi samples per sound (which is understandable at this price), Still sounds great, no complaints, I will use it on many commercial tracks Feature: the feature set is great: songs, patterns, jams, live play, midi in to trigger from eternal pads, velocity pads and velocity can alter some of the sounds pitches slightly, lots of basic and usable patterns. more features than I was expecting at this price range. I felt this box had more stuff in than the competition. does not come with AC adapter, and no MIDI OUT. I'm still not sure if I can backup any of the patterns I make but have not read the manual. Ease of Use: the quick start info makes sense, jumped right in using it for fun playing it live, listening to patterns, messing with the bass sounds Quality: quality is equal to the price point. plastic is thick enough and fairly sturdy. it should survive a few bounces on a cement floor. has four, thick foam feet on it. rubbery pads feel fine and are big enough for two fingers same pad playing. I've read some people had pads fail, but I've only had this for a day and played for a couple hours - feel as solid as the rest, but I will take care to not POUND harshly on the pads Value: I did many comparisons and listenings before purchase. Even considered the BOSS DR-880, but the RT-223 impressed me more because of the sounds, ease of use and cost. I own a few high end drum machines already and just wanted some fresh blood from a company I didn't own anything from Manufacturer Support: unknown The Wow Factor: I'm very happy with the purchase. Much happier than with the SR-18 I was waffling over for months and months. When I ran across this, I said to myself, "That's it! That is exactly what I want. Good, useable sounds, lots of patterns, and great price" Overall: this is a great addition to my arsenal of sound devices. I could easily use this a the main drums in a full production recording, and probably will many times. I knew it had no midi out before purchase and also bought a power supply for it. it can run on 4 batteries also and I might mess with that sometime. my cost was $170 total. very happy with the purchase. I couldn't find any other units this good for this cheap. I've got other drum machines and just wanted a new toy. It delivered MORE than expected.
100 of 103 people (97.09%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Nice sounding and easy to use." submitted October 17, 2005

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: rock
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Sound: very realistic for a budget drum machine. Feature: a midi out would make this category 10. Quality: plastic but nice and sturdy as long as you dont step on it. Value: I think it is underrated on this site, so wrote this review. Good value, nice addition to your studio or rig. good for daily practice and demo recording. The Wow Factor: Go get it!! Overall: excellent machine froom zoom.
33 of 34 people (97.06%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"This unit Rocks!" submitted October 4, 2011

By a customer from ymail.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Rock
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Sound: Sounds much better than I thought it would for the price! It realy sounds like the much more pricy rigs. Feature: It did not come with a power supply, but I have been running rechergable batteries and works better for home recording. Less wires are good! Many sounds and kits make this unit adapt to many types of music and styles. Ease of Use: I took to this drum unit faster that others that I have had. Directions are very clear and I was able to lay down beats and songs in minutes. Quality: First look might make you think this unit is built cheape... I have had this unit for 3 months and I like to play along other instruments like a live drums and this thing could take a beating and keep on clicking! So far no problems with beating on the pads. Value: This the most bank for the money if you want a drum unit for home studio or writing drum parts to teach your drumer what you want before recording. Manufacturer Support: No need yet for support. The Wow Factor: It is compact and cool looking. Crazy colors will make it cooler! Overall: Programing drums is the futer of this market. But I still like this for how compact and practical it is to have with you. I used it on a long drive to creat a bunch of the beats I needed. Lap top would have been much slower and batteries would have not made it.
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"the perfect tool for my live performances" submitted April 11, 2006

By a customer from adelphia.com
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Musical Background: In rock/pop bands for several years/some weddings/duo and solo lounge gigs
Music Style: Popular,rock,R and B,ballads
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Sound: i purchased this machine after auditioning it and reading the reviews on here. I am a keyboardist/vocalist that is looking for basic,adequit rhythum accompaniment. I'm glad i didnt rely on these reviews for my purchase because the rt 223 has definately surpased my expectations.The sounds are very realistic and with the pedal i bought the 223 will be the perfect tool for my live gigs.Very easy to use.I'm not concered about memory because elaborate songs are not my thing..i prefer writing fairly basic patterns as opposed to being locked in to song modes. This machine is an extremely musical upgrade to my sound. Feature: i would have liked an ac adapter to be included.....20 dollars for this is a lot. Ease of Use: i found this piece of equipment to be very user friendly and simple to use.i expected total confusion after reading other reviews comments about the manual which i found to be decent.I was surprised at how easy it is to edit individual drum sounds. Quality: Plastic and metal / I wouldnt step on it / it appears to be sturdy and well made.I handle my equipent with care and from what i've heard expect this product to last a long time. Value: I made the right choice for me and any apprehensions i had from reading these reviews are gone. I'd buy it again.Perfect tool for my live gigs and it sounds incredible. Manufacturer Support: I have know experience with tech support yet. The Wow Factor: For me a drum machine should not be so flashy that it stands out more that my intrument or any other equipment for that matter.Simple,black and professional looking.Fits right in with my set up.I love the small size too...easy to set up close to me for live use. Overall: This is what i intend to use for my live performances. My emphasis is on my vocals and keyboard playing and this brings a fantastic,and realistic rhythum to my music. For studio work i'd probably use a live drummer but the rt 223 would work well for demos.
12 of 13 people (92.31%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Simply the best for a stand alone drum/bass machine" submitted September 16, 2012

By Denny S in Vancouver, WA
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Musical Background: Played off and on for more than 30 years on several different instruments
Music Style: Rock, Funk, easy listening etc......
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Overall: I have owned many of the top brands of drum machines and for my use this one is the simplest to use and the most comprehensive for my uses. The Drum voices sound good, not the best I have ever heard but way sufficient to do the job and the bass voices are clean and well defined & tasty. It's also easy to hook the zoom up to a midi keyboard and program the bass voices into the zoom using the keyboards more expressive and better defined sensitivity on each note via the midi channel changes in the keyboard to the zoom. I use the zoom's pads to program the drums for my user programmed beats and they work just fine for differing levels of sensitivity needed in my original patterns. All in all it's a great drum machine and I am glad I bought it and in my solo act (with Korg keyboard) it will do just fine as an accompaniment to my tunes.
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"ZOOM products give excellent VALUE" submitted October 16, 2008

By a customer from verizon.net
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Metal
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Sound: Have the ZOOM HD-16 multri-track recording unit and feel the sounds are better on the recording unit than on this machine. To me this sounds a little thin. I've fiddled with the sounds, but haven't been able to replicate the "liquid metal" sound, which the multi-tracker can. I need to spend more time with it, to find the sound I hear in my head, so partly my fault. Feature: No accessories included. I do like the ability to modify shapes and sounds of drums, and definitely find the "song" portion of the device helpful, espcially with fills. Ease of Use: Like all other ZOOM products, the manual is laid out comprehensively, and is exceedingly easy to follow. I, too, like to rush home, tear open the packaging, and plug and play. Today's technology simply is too technical--the learning curve is long if one has little experience and attempts to learn on the fly. I recommend reading all manuals before even turning the device on. Quality: Have been thoroughly pleased with the quality of ZOOM products. Superb value. Value: I'm sure other companies offer excellent value, but I'm sticking with ZOOM. Manufacturer Support: Giving a 10 because I haven't needed to use their support, so the quality of construction, by inference, is excellent. The Wow Factor: I actually think the Alesis machines are aesthetically more appealing, but they're 70.00 more expensive, and based on what I heard, the sounds are no better. Overall: My recordings are pragmatic, so I am of the school that adapts to the device, rather than have the device adapt to me. As long as the machine continues to function properly, will not change.
34 of 38 people (89.47%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Nice responsive pad, neat sound." submitted August 2, 2005

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: rock
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Sound: It sounds realistic, good enough for my home studio. Feature: Drum+bass machine, you can jam with it. I hope it had a dialing pad and a more accessible volume control. Quality: plastic casing-only had it for 2 weeks, but looks kind of cheap. Value: $180... not bad. Manufacturer Support: NO idea really. The Wow Factor: the best budget drum machine. better than Alesis sr-16. Overall: good.
10 of 11 people (90.91%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Hip Hop Rap Producers read on..." submitted March 21, 2005

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Music Style: Rap/ Hip Hop
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Sound: Pads are very responsive, not like the sr-16 and the sounds are good too, cool for hip-hop/rap beats if thats what your looking for. Feature: Main complaint is there isnt a jog dial or number pad to flip through options or sounds real easy, but your can hold down both the + and - buttons for a speedier search. The effects are ok. Groove play is nice though. Quality: The machine seems pretty sturdy the bottom is metal the top plastic part is a see through type but not a big deal overall it seems good. Value: This product is a great value especially if your someone just starting out making beats will be easy I've had the sr-16, the mrt-3 and this and this one is the best by far. the mrt-3 is good too but not so much for hip-hop or rap beats. At this price its great. Manufacturer Support: Never had to use them so wouldnt know. but the website is helpful you can hear demos of all their drum machines. www.zoom.co.jp is the url. Check out the onboard demo its cool. The Wow Factor: This is a must have peice of equipment, set this up with a computer and some software and you got a studio ready to produce some cool beats. Overall: I wanted to write this review to help people decide if its right for them for the hip hop peoples out there looking to get into beat makingt this is it. You wont find anything near it in its price range. So unless you have enough for a dr 880 go with this especially if your just starting out. Learn the vocab on these things too it really helps.
11 of 13 people (84.62%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Very easy to use; great feature set; great value" submitted March 15, 2011

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Sound: The sounds is good; not as good as the Alesis SR18 if you are trying to emulate real drums. However, the Zoom RT-223 allows you to edit the equalization and compression effects, as well as the reverb. The Alesis SR18 only allows you to select a preset eq/compression combo, and a preset reverb. The Zoom is more flexible. I found some sounds I liked; I did not like the drum sets used on the presets very much. You can change the drum set used on any preset. I wish it would use the selected drum set for incoming MIDI. You have to use program change messages to select one. I don't like most of the drum patterns built in. They are too complicated. Feature: Best software on any drum machine I have used. Only my Yamaha QY20 had better editing. The Zoom RT-223 is much better than the Alesis SR18 for creating real songs. I own both of these drum machines, and I have used the Zoom for many years. Here are the features on the Zoom RT-223 that are missing on the SR18: - Before you record a song, you can assign a pattern to each pad. These setting are stored per song (hit record once to save them). For each pad, you can also assign a bass key, and you can select the next pad that is played when the pattern finishes. With this feature alone, you can create continuous loops for practice, without recording a song at all (just trigger the first pad in a loop). The SR18 has a "pattern play" mode but it is not for recording songs, and you cannot specify the bass transposition at all when setting up a song. - On the Zoom, you can record a song by hitting the pads in the order you wish the patterns to be played. You can let a pad automatically go to the next pad 8n a previously specified sequence, or you can override that and hit a pad. It will switch to the pattern assigned to the pad you hit on a measure boundary, but the switch can occur in the middle of a pattern, or after letting one loop for a while. This makes it really easy to create songs on the Zoom. On the Alesis SR18, you cannot specify transposition or step length for each step in a song. Ease of Use: Extremely easy to use. The manual is clear. To free up memory, you can step edit a song and remove redundant events. This might have been specified in a tips section. The pads light up as the drums play, making it easy to analyze a pre-existing pattern. Quality: Very tough looking case of translucent plastic with lots of cross reinforcements visible. You can probably stomp on it. The jacks are plastic. I bought mine many years ago, and it was made in communist China. Zoom is a Japanese company so they probably have good quality control, but I would have preferred something made in Japan or Taiwan. Value: Extremely good value. Easy to use, good sounds. Just missing a midi out and some better patterns. But it has midi in, so you can use external patterns. Manufacturer Support: I cannot say anything about support; I never needed it. The Wow Factor: It looks very nice with the pads lighting up, and the translucent black case. Overall: I have played along with this drum machine for many hours.
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Jeff's RT 223" submitted April 19, 2006

By a customer from aol.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Jazz, Motown, latin
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Sound: The RT 223 is simply the BOMB! I love the sound quality. It has deep lick drum tone and with the widely varied drum patterns and bass lines it has helped me get back in touch with my creative side. It offers a good number of grooves oriented towards the type of plying I like most which is jazz funk and latin. I can't say anything bad about the RT 223. The only question I have though is that when I plug my bass in the input side, it does not allow me to push it in all the way as the sound drops out of my bass. Anyone else have that issue to deal with? Aside from that; LOVE IT! Feature: Loaded! Ease of Use: Smething this versatile I suppose it would be all that easy to master especially if you have not done programming of any sort. But I can make it do what it does for me. Quality: Seems to be constructed quite ruggedly. Value: Lot's of bang for the buck. Manufacturer Support: N/A as of yet. The Wow Factor: My brother heard mine and it blew his mind. He's a bass player too and he's decided to lay down his previous drum machine. It's a must have as far as I'm concerned. Overall: It ain't going no where. All I wanted was a simple drum machine that gave some beats to help me woodshed on my chops and I got much more than I expected. I'm totally pleased.
9 of 11 people (81.82%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Great machine" submitted May 25, 2014

By Jon S in Lincoln, NE
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Musical Background: Lifer
Music Style: Blues/funk
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Overall: Works very well for individual practice and group. Very nice the mobility of anywhere any time with the battery operation. It's a keeper!
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"Zoom 223 Drum Machine...Become your own band" submitted November 28, 2008

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Alternative space power pop dance house punk
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Sound: The sounds are amazing, and you have lots of control over that sound.....Changing drum kits,adding effects,etc. Very realistic sounding drums....Love it Feature: It does more than what I want it to do. You can compose songs by setting different patterns next to each other,its got groove play,live pads etc.... Ease of Use: It's acually easy to get some good beats started and jamming out with them, but the learning curve looks like it's going to be pretty steep. (I just bought it a week ago) But at least I know its capable of doing a lot later on if I ever want it to. Quality: It looks like its made of high impack plastic. I like the way it looks and is put together. I think as long as you dont drop it to many times it will do ok! Value: I bought mine on E-bay for $75 and it was almost brand new. Now that I have it and playing with it I can easly say that I would pay $175 for a new one.....Yep...its worth it. Manufacturer Support: Have not dealt with them yet....probably wont have to Im bettin. The Wow Factor: I really don't like the color of the plastic.....well...it's not that I don't like it,its just that I would have chosen another color. Maybe like...white and yellow...or blue with white and green. Overall: I am going to be very satisfied with this product, it meets my musical needs now and I know as I grow musicly I will be able to use this to its highest potential......did I spell that right? uhhh yeah whatever....BUY IT! You will love it!
11 of 14 people (78.57%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Good machine,no support,company lied about memory." submitted September 29, 2005

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Part time professional degreed musician
Music Style: Church and whatever pays
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Sound: Adequate sound for the price. The bass sounds are mostly cheap-sounding, with a couple of quality-sounding sounds. The drums are very good for the price. When run through a decent mixer, it sounds pretty good. When played with our small group (one keyboard, one guitar), it sounds great. Feature: Features are decent. I ordered the power supply and the foot pedal. The foot pedal really helps when I am playing the bass line on the keyboard. The power supply should come with the machine...that should probably be a predictor of the service to follow. Quality: When you pay $179, don't expect Fort Knox-type protection. This is plastic and rubber, so you handle it like plastic and rubber. Unless you're thrashing around on the stage, typical use shouldn't cause problems. I carry it around in the box it was packed in to protect the buttons. Value: Any better quality and I would expect to pay more than twice what I paid for this. For the price point, you get a decent machine with more features than you should expect for the price. Manufacturer Support: I am a patient person, especially when it comes to service calls. However, support cannot even be rated because it is non-existent. It took almost three weeks for an email response which just passed me on to another website which has not responded at all...and will not even load in my browser half the time. The Wow Factor: I am a part-time music professional with a music degree, so I expect a lot from my instruments. Not real sexy for a musician who gets paid to play. Might work as cheap accompaniment beside the pool, but can't pass off as the real thing in most arenas. Overall: I thought I would not use this to capacity before I had more musicians (drum/bass), knowing there was no memory expansion available. However, I ran out of internal memory on this after inputting 4 songs, while the advertisement said up to 100 song storage. I could understand a variation based on useage, but did they really not expect somebody to enter a typical length song? Now I must delete 10 factory-installed patterns to input 1 of my own. That really made the machine not worth it. I'm back to no drummer/bass player anyway and out $179!
10 of 15 people (66.67%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"zoom rhythm track... nice but no cigar." submitted September 1, 2007

By a customer from utvinternet.com
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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: all types
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Sound: The sounds are reasonable in this machine,the drum sounds are better than what the alesis sr-16 has to offer.The bass sounds not as good but effective in a live music situation. Feature: It has a few design flaws:you have to scroll up and down with arrow keys to access song/pattern numbers instead of being able to directly type in the number which wastes time at a gig.The internal memory is not great I could only programme 40 songs(not very complex arrangements either)before I ran out and this was AFTER I had erased all the existing patterns.You cannot assign swing to individual songs either. Ease of Use: Programming does not take too long to get the hang of and is nice to work with especially in real time mode. Quality: Seems well put together and relatively robust. Value: It is around the same price as the alesis drum machine and is as good as it with the added advantage of bass but internal memory needs to be doubled. Manufacturer Support: n/a Overall: I'm already considering looking for a machine with greater memory capacity, that is the the greatest single drawback with this machine and what makes it unsuitable for live venues where a musician has to be able to draw from a bank of 100+ songs.
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Zoom RT-223 Rhythm Trak Customer Review submitted November 13, 2005

By a customer from cfl.rr.com
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Musical Background: player
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Sound: Sounds are excellent, if i could just figure out how to use this thing. I must be drum machine challenged as this is the 6th one I've had, and supposed to be the easiest to use, but after 3 months, i'm no further than the first day ! Feature: Lots of features, just cant get it do do anything i want Quality: Good quality unit. will be very happy if i EVER figure this thing out. I do hear the memory us quite limited whenb using BASS as it takes up alot of the memory Value: Great value if you can make it do whatx you want it to , seems to have a mind of it's own, and doe's seem to like me much . Overall: I'll keep plugging along reading and reading, but nothing seems to help, does not seem to corisponde tio the book instructions. Difficult to use in my estimation.
2 of 6 people (33.33%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"If it worked, it would be great!" submitted October 28, 2009

By a customer from nc.rr.com
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Musical Background: Active musician.
Music Style: Country/Blue Grass
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Sound: Sound id good - but it doesn't perform the functions advertized and described in the manual. Tech support is non-existant. Feature: Doesn't perform advertized functions. I bought this because I wanted to use the FS-01 footswitch to play 2 sounds - one when pressed down, the other when released as described in the manual. It doesn't do this! Ease of Use: Sounds are fine. Some of ther functions don't work. Quality: Malfunction described above may be a quality issue. Can't determine, since there is no tech support. Value: Doesn't perform as advertized. Manufacturer Support: Non existant. Web site says to contact the distributor. The Wow Factor: Compelling, with lots of nice functions and good sound. Unfortunately, some of the functions don't relly work. Overall: If I can find a product that does what this is supposed to do, I'll switch imediately.
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"MIDI Problem. I can't make it work as a MODULE.I can't get help either." submitted November 23, 2008

By a customer from sympatico.ca
Overall
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Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Professional
Music Style: Rap, Pop,
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Sound: quality is good. Feature: no power supply. Ease of Use: I can't make it work as a sound module or drum module like other machines (SR16 and boss) Manual says I could, But I tried everything and faild. Manual didn't explain a lot how to do it. SR16 and boss dr5 just worked right after I plugged them. I don't know if it really works as a module. Quality: Not bad. Value: Not bad. Manufacturer Support: No support yet. The Wow Factor: Looks OK. Overall: If I could make it work as a MIDI module as the manual said, I would keep it for 5 years. And If it didn't work that way, I would return it to the store very soon, And get the Boss.
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Zoom RT-223 Rhythm Trak Customer Review submitted January 16, 2008

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Features
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Sound: The soun is so good,but the only draw back is the pad buttons is not working after some use, ( snare & bass) is not working no use of it after few months of usage
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