Roland TB-303 vs x0xb0x, TB3 & TT-303 (Quick Comparison)

This video, via retrosynthads is a quick comparison of the Roland TB-303 with XOXbox, Roland TB-3 and TT303, using the same (or at least similar) pattern.

This isn’t a ‘scientific’ comparison looking at how closely the various devices match a pristine original 303, but instead more basic demonstration of how they compare in action.

15 thoughts on “Roland TB-303 vs x0xb0x, TB3 & TT-303 (Quick Comparison)

  1. I like his note in the video description:
    “And, as for audio quality, please remember I don’t know what I’m doing.”

    I think even someone who does know what they’re doing would find it hard to do these comparison videos, when the TB-3 has so many different presets. How do you decide which square preset is more authentically squarey? Compounding this is the fact that no one uses a TB-303 without some effects, so real A/B testing should probably include them as well… but the TB-3 has individual effects built in to all of the presets. Quite a tricky proposition.

    I think the main take-away here is the TB-3 sounds pretty good next to its analog brothers. Well done, Roland. It wasn’t the synth we wanted, but it is a better reboot than we expected.

  2. This video made me want to get an x0xb0x. I like the sound of its filter and reading up on features, it seems like it would make a great backing track instrument. I probably still wont get an x0xb0x though. I would much rather get a Mode Machines SID or Elektron Analog Four to do my backing.

    But I understand what I want to do is different than what other people want to do. I have no interest in acid music but I do like the sound of the TB-303.

    1. I’m kinda wary of Mode Machines, the Mode Machines SID was a pretty disappointing machine, extremely limited control if you aren’t using a Java app for PC they’ve made to create presets for it, and notes tend to get stuck constantly, both when controlled over MIDI or when using the built-in step sequencer. I hope their x0xb0xes are better, but after my SID experience I’ll probably look for alternate manufacturers (since I’m not able to put one of those together myself), maybe I’d even go for the TB-3, which is cheaper than most of the premade x0xb0xes I’ve seen, and sounds good enough for what I’d use it for.

    1. When it comes to hardware vs software the sound is one thing, some will care and some won’t.
      More important is immediacy, physical controls, reliability and inspiration you get from hardware.

  3. The thing is, you could add another TB-303 in there and that would probably sound different again to the other TB.

  4. Of course TB-3 is a totally different monster. Had a chance to play one at GC this week. The touch screen is awesome–notably the envmod xy function.
    However, compared to the others, Bass Bot is drastically lower on the final two notes. Thoughts?

  5. I really hope someone will do a “blind” comparison test. First a video with just the sounds, let everyone comment and after a week show us which one was favourited most.

  6. Original still sounds the best, but they all sound very nice, i guess £245 for a TB3 is a fair price to get access to that type of sound in a hardware live friendly tweakable box.

  7. It sounds cool. I too am not that interested in the acid stuff on its own but love the sound of the machine.
    For me too it would be the immediacy of having all the controls laid out and tweaking instantly. D16 is fine but the fiddly stuff is always a negative on the wrist and fingers/ mouse. I think it was a cool movie you made anyway. Thanks

  8. Great video. They all actually have nice qualities. From what I can hear, the Xoxbox seems closest, the TB3 has more bass/less mid range so this needs some eq-ing to get it closer. The bass bot has less sustain so you dont hear that glide so much so that needs boosting somehow – or does the Bass Bot not sustain as much? It is true that you get put two analogue synths together and they will also sound different. Also it is true about which preset to choose on the TB3. I would hope that the TB3 has a raw TB303 square and saw sound to choose from. I have a Deep Bass 9 which I managed to get some nice acid type sounds from but its not got that whiny glide sound you expect form a TB303 but it awesome for hard thick bass.
    I think from this video I can conclude that I should get the Xoxbox if I want that Acid sound for a good price or the TB3 is I want flexibility for other things. Might as well get both eh 🙂

  9. edit. I heard some more presets form the TB3 and if if they all had some tweaking through a more refined eq you could get the sound closer. Just need the envelopes tweaked. The TB3 sound a bit heavy on the attack and the sustain on Bass bot and TB3 could do with increasing.
    At the end of the day, after mastering, playing in a club it will change again

Leave a Reply