Behringer's TD-3 comes late to the party where 303 clones is concerned, but it's super-cheap coming in at a measly £135 GBP or €145 Euros, sounds as near to the original as you'd want & offers a total copy of the original 303 programming interface...
Behringer's TD-3 comes late to the party where 303 clones is concerned, but it's super-cheap coming in at a measly £135 GBP or €145 Euros, sounds as near to the original as you'd want and offers a total copy of the original 303 programming interface which leaves those with no experience somewhat flustered when it comes to programming what they hear in their head... in fact it's probably true to say, much of the acid lines of the past resulted from users simply pummelling in some presses & creating patterns which perhaps they had never dreamed of coming out of the audio end of the unit.
You can hear plenty of comparisons online between this Behringer TD-3 & the original, as well as shootouts between both & other well known 303 clones such as the RE-303 and x0xb0x & while some might quibble about how close it sounds to an original TB-303, in reality many real old 303's sound very slightly different
So basically you get a super cheap 303 copy, but Behringer have added some extras like distortion - modelled on a classic BOSS DS-1 distortion pedal of old (with added tone control) - as well as an audio input labelled FILTER IN which allows the connection of an external audio signal instead of the internal VCO oscillator, a SYNC IN for external clock and start/stop signal as well as CV OUT (1V/octave) & GATE OUT.
Further additions on the TD-3 versus the original appear in the form of real MIDI IN & OUT/THRU sockets as well as USB connection which delivers a further way to MIDI the unit to your host DAW featuring MIDI over USB in both directions.... all that is topped off with a handy headphone socket on the front panel to augment the standard MODO audio 1/4" jack output on the back of the unit.
The Behringer TD-3 is offered in a wide range of colour options too! Classic Silver, black, blue, red & 'Acid Smiley' edition yellow, lol... actually it looks fantastic, but why not fluro pink I ask?!
Anyhoos... had this unit been released 20 years ago it would have been a huge event in the hardware synth world & Behringer would have been praised to the rafters by EDM fans, but today, honestly, the 303 sound has faded in popularity from it's once-upon-a-time revival & there are so many accurate s/w versions the question is really how much appeal does this have now? Ok true, nothing beats hands on evolving 303 twiddling over a loooooong passage of music in a live context... that's what the 303 was always about, and for that, given the price, you'd be mad not to get one IF that's what your thing is.
So even in this age of the all conquering DAW & software instruments the TD-3 is still a valid product, because as mentioned, it's about that hands on controlling which you DO get with this clone... for simple repeating pattern stuff you might as well stick with a plugin instrument such as ABL or the D16 offerings etc, but if you want the hands on... the TD-3 is pretty much impossible to beat for the price & you can not only record your performances via MIDI to your DAW, but you can always route the Audi OUT from the TD-3 IN to your onboard DAW mix via any instrument level audio-interface input & finally record your patterns & hand-on (or MIDI) controlling moves to an audio track for your final in-box mix.
I'm amazed at the price tbh... if only this had come along 20 years ago eh? Here's the specs:
- Fully analog singal path with VCO, VCF and VCA
- Sawtooth and Squarewave waveforms selectable
- 4-pole lowpass filter with resonance; manual controls for VCF envelope amount and envelope decay
- Adjustable Accent
- Built in distortion with tone control
- 16-step sequencer with 250 memory locations for patterns
- 16-voice Poly Chain of up to 16 units
- Audio input for external sound sources (3.5mm jack)
- Sync In & CV/Gate outputs (3.5mm jack)
- Stereo headphones output (3.5mm jack)
- Line out (6.3mm jack)
- USB-MIDI and MIDI in/out
- Includes power supply (9V DC)
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 56 x 305 x 165 mm
- Weight: 0.8 kg
If you own one of these, please add some user comments below. Cheers