Nobody could have anticipated what would happen to the world of dance music when inventive musicians on both sides of the Atlantic embraced Roland’s now-legendary TB-303. Since the 1980s, it’s been a staple of electronic music—it is the defining sound of acid house, and has since been the marquee instrument on an array of groundbreaking electronic dance tracks. It’s not only been used to write songs, it’s had songs written about it. In fact, the release of the original TB-303 has been heralded as one of the key events in the history of dance music. Not bad for a little silver box.
Launched in 1981, the TB-303 continues to be an indispensable bass synth for dance music. In developing the TB-3, we’ve meticulously analyzed the circuitry of the original TB-303 piece by piece, right down to the individual circuit behavior. Using Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology, we’ve fully reproduced the TB-303’s sawtooth and square wave oscillators, as well as the -18dB per octave ladder low-pass filter used in the original, capturing that unmistakable cutoff and resonance character.
In addition to the faithful reproduction of classic TB tones, the TB-3 is packed with new sounds that live and breathe. Bubbling synth basses, hard distortion basses, trippy delay sounds, and drippy effects—they’re all here, and then some.
A TB-303 bass part not only sounds unique—it has its own trademark feel as well. The TB pulses. It drives. It bubbles and it percolates. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to faithfully reproduce the accent, slide, and step sequencer behavior of the original unit. But our vision went beyond simple reproduction. The truth is, the step entry on the original TB-303 was difficult to use, the keyboard was difficult to play, and special maneuvers were required for the shuffle functions. So we experimented with a variety of prototypes in our quest to create the optimal TB interface.