The Roland TB-303 is a machine like no other. It features a single analog oscillator with two waveforms (ramp or square) and has a simple but excellent VCF (filter) with resonance, cut-off, and envelope controls - which is arguably the defining element of the 303 sound. There are also knobs to adjust tuning, envelope decay, tempo and accent amount. With an unmistakable sonic signature brimming with warmth, energy and character, the iconic silver box defined the acid house movement of the late 1980s. Widely misunderstood when launched in 1981, the true revolution began several years later when electronic music producers rediscovered the quirky box, unleashing the hypnotic, liquid sound that captivated a generation. While we may never really understand why the 303 sound makes people want to dance, there is no denying its power, influence, and unwavering ability to get a party started. It just works, even after all this time.
Back in 1981, the tools used to create electronic music were fewer, and less evolved, than those used today. The technologies used in electronic musical instruments were primarily analog circuits that generated its sound. Digital technology was just starting to make an appearance in instrument design which sparked the beginning of a new era of innovation and experimentation. At the time, Roland was less than 10 years old, and still based in Osaka, Japan.
The TB-303 used analog components to produce the sound with the digital revolution still a few years away. Using the best technology available at the time, the development team worked hard to recreate a typical bass guitar sound. In the same way that a drum machines plays patterns of different sound sounds, the 303 needed to do the same thing but with basslines. Using the keyboard to enter the correct note and its length, the user could program a bassline one note at a time which would then play along in time with the drum beat. This is known as a step sequencer and provided an innovative way to create patterns of melody or basslines where chaining patterns together could make an accompaniment for an entire song.
Although it was a valiant attempt to capture the tone of a bass guitar, the TB-303 didn’t really sound like one. It was only years later, with the advent of sample-based technology, that electronic instruments could convincingly replicate their acoustic brethren. So, after launching in 1981, the TB-303 was discontinued less than two years later, with around 10,000 units being made. This is one of those units.
This item is sold as is, and has had a full service by Synth Professor (receipt included), the highly respected analogue electronics specialist based in England since the early 2000s.Guarantee
This item is sold as-described, and therefore excluded from our standard returns policy or any warranty. We will only accept returns if the unit arrives in a condition not stated here.