Zoë Blade's notebook

Behringer RD-6

RD-6 tech specs

Behringer RD-6-BK
Behringer RD-6-BK

The RD-6 is an analogue drum machine released by Behringer in 2020. It's a clone of Roland's TR-606.

It supports the hi-hat quirks of the original, namely the sort of choked open hat sound achieved by triggering both a closed and open hat simultaneously, and the open hat's variable decay length. However, the hi-hat sound in general is higher and cleaner than on a real TR-606. This is arguably an improvement, although it will inevitably disappoint those looking for a cheaper way of attaining a classic sound.

Unlike the original, it supports MIDI (and even MIDI over USB), offers separate individual outs as well as the whole mix, adds the Boss DR-110's clap sound (sequenced rather awkwardly via the cymbal and a switch, but completely independent, and usable at the same time), and has a built-in distortion effect. Not bad for something cheaper than the real thing.

To use accents over MIDI, simply use velocities. Notes with a velocity of 97 or higher are accented; notes with a velocity of 96 or lower are unaccented. Unlike triggering via the internal sequencer, can you accent individual sounds, not just the group as a whole. This would be another big advantage over an original TR-606 — except it appears to be somewhat buggy. It's probably best to treat accents as grouped, like on the sequencer.

When using each sound's direct audio output, its volume knob and the accent level still affect its volume, although the RD-6's global volume doesn't. In other words, the main volume knob only affects the mix output, not the individual outs, whereas all the other knobs affect both the mixed and individual outputs. Connecting a cable to an individual sound's output removes that sound from the mixed output.

As with the VC-340, this is pretty much exactly what I'd want in a clone of vintage gear: authentic analogue sounds, MIDI control, and in the case of the RD-6, individual outputs. At the current price, I couldn't resist adding one to my studio.

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Digital step sequencers: Behringer RD-6 | Roland TB-303 | Roland TR-606 | Roland TR-808

Drum machines: Behringer RD-6 | Roland R-8 | Roland TR-606 | Roland TR-808 | Roland TR-909