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Roland TB303

29-Jun-2017

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Roland TB303



Category:  Products / synth / old analog mono

Added: 19-Dec-98  |  Author: admin

New price:   |   S/H price: ......600-700 (uk)...and up in all territories

Roland TB303

Ok......we all had one... and maybe also a TR-606 blasting through guitar amps, in our squat's, back in the early 80's when we were all pratting around with guitars and odd bits of old techno-tat no-one wanted.. Just to start the ball rolling.... I got so fucked off with mine (bored), that i swapped it in 1992 (after the first acid wave died out) for ....wait for it..... 6 packs of guitar strings, and a BOSS Turbo-Distortion pedal !!....... Ok everyones got a story.... and actually in the end, i don't care any more.... but it'd be nice maybe to still have it.

The Roland Tb-303 has gained an almost mythical reputation over the last few years and is still, despite a semi-backlash against the sound, one of the most sought after bits of old analog kit around... weighing in at about a pound with batteries installed, and being about the size of a paperback book, it basically incorporates an analog TR style sequencer with step time or realtime (tap) programming, along with an 18bd filtered analog monosynth.

Released about 1982, the TB was accompanied by the TR-606 a very primative analog drum box with identical styling... together, they were supposed to provide a computerised backing of bass & drums to play along to... hmmmmmmm... well, it didn't really hit it, and the next year came the 909 with a few real samples, and not long after that pcm sample based TR-707 and others like the RX machines from yamaha etc were released... this sounded the death knell for these early transistor units, and they were quickly consigned to the music-shop bargain bin as users rushed to get 'Real' drum & bass sounds from early sample-based units... several years later, people started using them in a few dance tracks... and off it went, as a sought-after 'cooool' bit of kit.

I'd say actually that the cryptic programming interface of the TB was responsible for the whole 'Acid' thing... not just the sound... I find acid makes me alot more relaxed and stable actually, and certainly wouldn't make me programme something randomly if i was trying to do otherwise !!.... but it was so bloody impossible to come to terms with the TB programming interface as a newcomer to the unit, that the resulting 'chaotic' random patterns that emerged as opposed to the pattern the user was actually trying to programme, were the birth of the 'acid' pattern and sound... and it has to be said... (well, I say it).... that to really truly understand the 303 you must be bread-and-dripping your tits off !!... then... all is revealed !!

I'm not going to go into any detail, cos the excellent DJ Terrorist's TB-303 site has more infiormation for you 303 freaks than you can shake a stick at !!... so I'll add a few bitz, and then you can link up with his site below to get all the full in-depth stuff... it's an awesome 303 site believe me.

Ok..... basically the unit is devided into 2 sections.... sequencer, and synth.




SEQUENCER
Ok..... you get a 16 step sequence per pattern.... the unit has 'Song' mode (Play & Write), and 'Pattern' mode (Play & Write)..... You go into pattern write...., and the small led disply gives you the beat division... starting with beat-1... you press a key, and that set's the note, which can be transposed up or down from it's root position using the UP/DOWN buttons.... Once you've inputted a note, the unit steps to the next beat.... etc etc..... you can insert rest or notes... and add accents or slides as well... accents obviously make the sound louder, but also effect the cut-off frequency too making the note harsher or more trebly at an accented step....

You've also got a 'SLIDE' button... slides can be inserted into beats within a bar, with or without notes to accompany them... and if for example you insert slides between two notes that are 4 beats apart, then kinda like portamento, it holds the last played note, and slides it into the next inserted note... BUT... you can add slide's over any amount of beats in a bar, and also you can pitch the slides up or down an octave from the original notes as well as adding accent to slide steps... Anyhow... you get your pattern in that way... in STEP time... or in real time, where you tap in the pattern as the machine chugs around it's 16 beat bar....... various time signatures and shuffles are there too, and the total combination of the slides, notes and accents makes for a unique pattern sound that cannot really be completely imitated on any clone 100%... Probably the Rebirth s/w 303 comes the closest....

Once all the patterns are written, you sling them together in a SONG... after which they playback in a pre-arranged order






SYNTH
The 303 has a single note poly analog monosynth with an 18bd filter, and selectable SAW or Square wave oscillator... Controls are Tune, Filter Cut-off Frequency, Filter Resonance level, Envelope Modulation, Decay, and a master Accent control.... pretty basic... but combined with the sequencer nad the 18bd filter it really is unique... That and the limited production run of about 20,000 units worldwide acounts for the massive secondhand prices you see being asked for the originals.

Actually no two 303's sound exactly the same, some are better than others (in a subjective way)... some are just plain fucked... Also, there are various midi retro's that can be fitted to the unit to allow you to play it via midi, but these can alster the units sound and feel, and alot of purists will tell you that a midi 303 just does not sound right... (although alot of that may be due to midi's inability to immitate the 303 sequencer... But I have heard many times that getting a 303 midi'd can change it's sound... Hey, you can even get them rack-mounted by various modification places.

Lastly... if you want to sync it up to your midi set-up, you'll need a midi to DIN sync unit... The 303 clocked to the 606 via DIN sync, and when addding real 303 to a midi track you have to start at the top... the 303 plays along...... and you switch patterns as the track progresses, and fade it in and out, and tweak the synth in realtime to get the builds etc that you want....... or just run it in song mode.... with patterns strung together playing back as the midi song progresses.....

Well... that's all I'm gonna add..... You can post your comments, and/or get onto the TB-303 Forum area, which is linked up with DJ Terrorists 303 pages.

Get over to The Terrorist's site, for the real total in depth stuff. l8ers








Product Videos


How To Program A TB-303

There are a lot of videos with TB-303's in 'em on YouTube, but none that shows how you actually prog...


TB-303 Documentary - Bassline Baseline (2005)

TB-303 Documentary - Bassline Baseline, 2005 narrated by Nate Harrison (creator of then Amen Break d...







Product Manuals or Files





Product Resources










User Comments

Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Kilo
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Jan-99

TB-303 TEST........1............2.............3

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: nathan smith
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 19-Jan-99

Why do you compare every peice of equipment to the 303?

You make it sound as if the 303 is the only instrument

worth playing.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: TBone303
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 19-Jan-99

This is the god's incarnation in silvers!

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: 9000
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 19-Jan-99

ok... i used to be crazy for a 303 sound. until i realised that it is totally totally totally totally played out. it isnt worth purchasing a 303 unless u put it through effects... even then u coulda just gotten rubber duck for 18 bucks.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Luis
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Jan-99

I would like to buy a tb-303,MIDI if possible.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Dennis
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Jan-99

Vill ha!!!!

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Acider
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Jan-99

30303030303030303030303030303030303030303030303030303

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Jered Flickinger
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Jan-99

If you like the TB303 sound, but can't find one, tired of trying to program the darn thing, or just wish it could do a whole lot more??? Check out the 777 from

FutureRetro, complete analog synth and sequencer, paaacked with features, and an unbeleivable price!!!

Their site is at: http://www.angelfire.com/biz2/FutureRetro

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Sean Vindahl Frederiksen
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Jan-99

I WANT ONE.......

If any one is selling, PLEASE CONTACT ME...please...

pretty please... .....

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: chrisk
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Jan-99

just picked one up(for bout $300

its the fucking bomb!, dont waste youre time with clones, nothing comes close.

seriously, before i actually got it, i was like, its cool but theres plenty more powerful machines out there, but now its like, its absolutely awesome.

cant put my finger on why its so cool, just is.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: gabber piet
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 19-Jan-99

It sucks!!!

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: ReZo-99
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 19-Jan-99

Hey, I felt the same way about the TB-303. I loved it. Shit, I still do. BUT, I couldn't find one anywhere! Then, I was told about the 777 from FutureRetro so I checked it out and...DAMN! The 777 is the bomb! It can identically recreate the sound from the TB-303 and do waaaaay more. Hey, for something that can do way more than the TB-303 and cost alot less, has got to be a miracle, right? Call it what you want. I cant set mine down. I love this thing. Check out thier site.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Sebastian Eriksson
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Jan-99

Ska kpa en snart....He-He

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Ice Trey
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://dancemusic.iwarp.com
Activity: part-timer
Date: 14-Oct-99

I messed with one once. Totally awsome. Hook it up to a distortion unit and you got some serious shit.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: bOWND
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 14-Oct-99

Does rebirth come close to the real thing?

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Bazz
Email: Email supplied but hidden
nope
Activity: part-timer
Date: 30-Nov-99

So here we have another fashion statement..You're paying for the 303-badge;The prices went sky-high and everyone wants to have one to be cool.Well , i don't have one and when i see the prices people are selling them for..it's ridiculous:$1000????
For the same money you can buy a second hand Nord lead for %$^%$-sake!!!I have a JP8000 and it makes a very good 303-sound(when you program it in the right way..).Maybe it's too difficult to make a dancetrack WITHOUT the sound of a "303" in it...(I do it all the time).Try to free your narrow '303'mind for other 'cool' sounds...

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Trev
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://www.resonance.fsnet.co.uk
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 02-Feb-00

Want the *best* 303 clone? If you know a bit of electronics and can use a soldering iron :-) then check out:

http://www.techrepairs.freeserve.co.uk/tb3030.htm

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: ryan
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity:
Date: 28-Feb-00

I love my tb303, it's the best thing in the world, don't try using clones, they'll just fuck up the sound, the 303 hatred that's been around lately i believe is do to the fact that many people try to emulate the 303 sound, and it makes it sound ugly, rebirth does not come close to the real 303, why? i believe it's because the analog oscillators drift in pitch because they're old and analog, so it gives it a breathing sound quality, the outputs are noisy, and also the tb303 has a sequencer that's great like the original reviewer said, it leeds to chaotic basslines, and if you take out the power supply+batteries out all the patterns get replaced with random ones, i don't think they're truely random though, i think there's a little alien inside my 303 that controls patterns, each pattern can completly alter the sound it's a wonderful machine : )...don't emulate get the real thing if you can't afford it get a dx7 and make some crazy ass new sounds...

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: ryan
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity:
Date: 28-Feb-00

I love my tb303, it's the best thing in the world, don't try using clones, they'll just fuck up the sound, the 303 hatred that's been around lately i believe is do to the fact that many people try to emulate the 303 sound, and it makes it sound ugly, rebirth does not come close to the real 303, why? i believe it's because the analog oscillators drift in pitch because they're old and analog, so it gives it a breathing sound quality, the outputs are noisy, and also the tb303 has a sequencer that's great like the original reviewer said, it leeds to chaotic basslines, and if you take out the power supply+batteries out all the patterns get replaced with random ones, i don't think they're truely random though, i think there's a little alien inside my 303 that controls patterns, each pattern can completly alter the sound it's a wonderful machine : )...don't emulate get the real thing if you can't afford it get a dx7 and make some crazy ass new sounds...

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: ryan
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity:
Date: 28-Feb-00

oh yea, to add to that to what that guy said about get a jp8k or a nord, sure you can do that, but it doesn't make it harder, try some insane patch routings through effects with the 303, experiment, if you want to have some shit that'll be a pain in the ass to make a "dance track" get a modular, or as i said before DX7 THEN LETS SEE WHO HAS SKILL : ) ANALOG EMULATION IS THE WORST THING INVENTED, make some new sounds don't try to get old sounds...

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: SwampMan
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity:
Date: 29-Feb-00

There are alot of other synths in a mix than a 303 (usually). Unless you play the 303 solo it's extremly difficult to hear if it is a real one or a good clone. But who is saying that the real one sounds the best? I think that many synths does 303ish sequences much cooler than the real one. Nord Modular is one that comes to mind. You can make some real hard shit with that one.

Cheers
/SwampMan

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Stanny P.
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://www.iceinc.com
Activity: Professional
Date: 29-Feb-00

Definitely is part of the history.
Awesome sequencer and synth but let's not just stop there. Move on, guys.
303 is not the end of it.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Jethro Clampitt
Email: Email supplied but hidden
www.distortedtater.com
Activity: Professional
Date: 02-Mar-00

what th'....that thang's suh little my full grown fangers keep mash'n the keys wrong. I'm a workin man an I'm here to tell all you wusses this thang makes some purty, purty music. where's the 'loudness' button?

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: FreakBoy
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://www.alliedsubstructure.com
Activity: Professional
Date: 12-Apr-00

i have a 303 with the devilfish mod and i must say it is the absolute coolest thing i have ever owned in my life. It adds so much to the 303 that its not even funny, i just wanted to recomend to everyone who has the cash and wants to take your 303 to the next step in evolution to get it done.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: djsakin
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://eatme.com
Activity: Professional
Date: 13-Apr-00

Ok Rebirth does not come anywhere near sounding like a real 303, it is total crap.
Try the 404 in Fruityloops, it is a lot closer to the real thing than rebirth It does a lot than rebirth + it's more fun.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: chrisk
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity:
Date: 26-Aug-00

Personally i think re-birth is pretty damn close to the resl thing, especially if you have a decent soundcard (dont expect to rock your world with a poxy creative), i think its definately the next best thing. Personally i feel, though the fruity loops is pretty cool and versatile, it dont really have the 303 sound too well.
Though truth be told, in my opinion, the real magic of the 303 lies in the sequencer not just the sound, andthe fact that the caps dont fully de-charge and the sound just gets wilder and wilder the more accents you have in a row, with each consecutive note getting more and more freaked.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: mathew
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity:
Date: 29-Aug-00

if any one is interested i can give you the address of a WAREZS site that you can download every think from rebirth to silibus. this is no joke people are out there on the net tring to help musians with little money or who can't be ass'ed to pay that kind of price.full versions . give me an email if you are a musian with a need for software.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Static Recordings LTD
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Dec-01

Irish Techno Record Label seeks demos for release! Please send CD's or MD's only to Static Recordings LTD or e-mail JulianE@e-merge.ie for further info

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Makis
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 21-May-02

Ther's probably nothing like the sound this little machine makes!I got to know it as a producer with the rebirth software but it's my dream to touch an original tee-bee and tweak its knobs in real-time.I would really like to make a new genre of my own just using the classic sounds of 303,808 and 909.Till then, keep on tweakin'!

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: stuart
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 15-Jul-02

TB303 for sale in Sweden great condition with case!

send your offers!

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: estebann
Email: Email supplied but hidden
www.estebann.info
Activity:
Date: 21-Aug-02

TB303 is PURE ENERGY
ITS SOUND MAKE LOVE TO MY EARS
AND SO DOES TO EVERYBODY ELSe!!!

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Shadowrunner
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 02-May-03

Yeap!! Finally i got one =) an it sound's like i dream't about. The Acid lovely sound, but also the fat-bass sound, no othere of my synth can't make. My price were about 900$, but i think it's every single count werth

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: manthra
Email: Email supplied but hidden
---
Activity: Professional
Date: 04-May-03

......the 303 died with the WarpBrothers......
Also...The raw sound of the 303 is a bit limited, you really need a lot of FX to make it sound fresh.
The sound is fat, but if I could choose,
An ARP or Moog would be the thing to own, not a TB303. The reason ppl say "dont use emulators" is that they want to justify the silly amount of money a secondhand TB303 would cost you.
USE EMULATORS!!!!!!!!! much cheaper and
easier to integrate with other gear.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: C738
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity:
Date: 07-May-03

Actually... when I spend an afternoon programming my Micro Modular, it produces the same sound. People ask me if I have a 303.
:D So it isnt THAT unique sounding. And before you start talking about the glides etc... I programmed that too. And if you want noise on the output, you can add it too. Hell Its even got an internal distortion, its smaller and its much more versatile!

F**K THE 303!

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: output9
Email: Email supplied but hidden
www.output9.com
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 26-Oct-06

me & a mate hooked a Roland SH2 to the cv/gate output of the TB and got it sounding thick & squelchy I said it actualy sounds better than the 303 so we concluded the real magic is the seqencer not oscilator & filter, although analog helps.

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Dr. Chester
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 31-Jan-07

ANYBODY! that tells you that ANY clones out there sound the same as the real
deal is full of shit and DON'T have a CLUE what the true sound sounds like! and i
love my two 303"s. also it is easy to program one

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: DJ SMD-MILESALLSTYLES
Email: Email supplied but hidden
milesallstyles.com
Activity: part-timer
Date: 17-May-07

WELL!!! I HAVE TO SAY THIS 303 IS JUST WHAT IVE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!!
NOT TO DISSAPIONT ANY ONE? , BUT I GOT THE TB 303 LIKE BRAND NEW,
AND WORKS LIKE A CHARM !!!!!!! SWEET!!!! GOT IT AT A YARD SALE FOR$10
GOT A LOVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: nick
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 16-Nov-07

all i have to say is that the tb303 is a totally
unique sound and no clone will ever match its
power.I have owned my 303,s for 20 years and never get tired of tht acid sound.
Anyone who trys to compare it to rubber duck or
any other emulator obviously has never owned one
or does not know how to program it.
long live the tb 303

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Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: Eli
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 29-Aug-09

Hey! I have a copy of the original TB-303 schematics still in it's plastic. Anyone want um, give me an offer.
Eli

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Last added comment

Product:  Roland - TB303
Name: mark mulligan
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 17-Nov-09

i am looking to buy a Roland TB 303 Bassline

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