Roland TB-03 Bassline Synthesizer In-Depth Demo

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This video, via Kosmic, takes an in-depth look at the new Roland TB-03 Bassline Synthesizer.

The new Roland TB-03 ($349) uses analog circuit modeling to recreate the sound of the original TB-303 Bass Line Synthesizer. It also modernizes the design, adding an effects section and improved connectivity. 

Topics covered include:

1:00 Technology involved
1:45 History of original TB-03
3:00 Difference between TB-3 and TB-03
3:51 Unique features of TB-03
4:58 How it works
5:54 Play a pattern
6:10 Colour the pattern
7:21 Difference to emulations
8:03 FX section
9:13 Different types of overdrive
10:08 Different types of delay and reverb
11:15 Change number of steps in a pattern
11:47 How to sequence
13:37 Sequencing – Pitch mode
14:16 Sequencing – Time mode (Rhythms)
15:42 Step mode – Creating a pattern
17:00 Step mode – Adding accents and slides
18:15 Three different patterns (part A, part B and part C)
18:35 Track mode summary
19:37 Built-in stand
20:10 Integrate TB-03 with computer

See the Roland site for more info.

31 thoughts on “Roland TB-03 Bassline Synthesizer In-Depth Demo

  1. “Even though there are a lot of other emulation out there, having that nice big Roland logo up there makes all the difference” @0:48

    Yeah.. the “logo” makes it better….

    Good thing that nonsense was right at the beginning of the video to inform us that this guy has no idea of what he’s talking about so I don’t have to watch all 21 minutes of it. Thanks!

  2. So far in what marketing I’ve read, they seem to act like the AIRA never happened. I thought AIRA was cool. I think this is cool, but seems like they’re competing with themselves.

    Good to see it addressed here

  3. The 909 box sounds good to me. The vocoder sounds really good to me. So far the videos people have made with the 303 box have not been inspiring. Seems like there are much better clones.

  4. This things comes pretty darn close in terms of form, function, and sound. Maybe there are other emulations that are closer in terms of sound, but I don’t think any have hit all three as closely as the TB-03. My pre-order is in.

  5. I think it sounds great and looks like a lot of fun to work with.. This is what the TB-3 should’ve been in the first place, and I’ll be replacing mine with this. I also have an XOXBOX, and this is close enough to that, which is close enough to the real thing..

    1. I went for the Tr09 too. The biggest reason I didnt go for the Cyclonix Bassbot is because I have one already and very happy with it. But It is a different flavour, spice and cooking sometimes just needs that subtle changes.

    1. Has anyone checked to see if the TB03 reproduces the ‘stacked accent’ effect? (Repeated, closely spaced accent notes cause the cutoff frequency to gradually climb). That’d be fair game for a video, I’m getting quite bored with these agnostic A/B comparisons.

  6. The TB-03 looks and sounds great. And yes I want one. For small footprint bass synths it’s less expensive than the Moog Minitaur and most robust than the less expensive Volka Bass. But if those SAME sounds came out of the Akai analog product—like the Timbre Wolf, a million haters (who never actually produced anything) would be complaining about the tones. Right?

    1. I wouldn’t down on the volca bass – it is a great 3 osc synth – that is how I use it – I don’t think of it as a 303 replacement – it is it’s own animal. but I do agree that even though haters gonna hate – I kinda like the tb03.

    2. Less expensive than a Moog Minitaur, which has two analog oscs a wider pallete of sounds available, and will probably hold its value better over the long run.

      I’m not knocking the TB-03, I think it is neat and sounds pretty good so far, but you’re not really comparing apples to apples.

  7. So to recap, if I’ve got this right, what this has to offer over the tb3 is more authenticity (in its appearance & programming), a dedicated env depth knob, and the ability to tilt the unit…..? Oh and cv/gate out for driving other synths?

    I’ve got the tb3 and I thought I’d be all over this new one, but personally I’m not sure the gains are worth the cash..?

  8. And here I was, hoping Roland would continue their (very reluctant) foray into real analog – which is the majority of their true legacy. **Sigh**.

    1. why would they? they built that analog engine so that all they have to to is program a synth and plug it into the engine in order to make new stuff rather than spending all of the man hours and prototyping to circuit design a new synth. It wouldn’t make financial sense for the company to do it when the only people that would appreciate it are analog purists – there is a much wider market that don’t care if it is analog or analog circuit modeled

  9. There’s something not quite right with the sequencer. Somewhere there’s already a side by side with a real TB-303 which has that distinctive bounce but the TB-03 is stiff and vaguely lacking in comparison. It’s a subtle difference to be sure but it’s hard to miss. What stinks is that right around the time they would have been hatching this idea Roland was offered a crack at Paul Barker’s RE-303 project which is actually as close as you can get part for part and expressed disinterest.

  10. Just registering some positivity around all of this.

    I don’t need a 303 clone, I probably don’t need a 909 clone, but people said “Roland, please do this!” They did it! And well, by the look and sound of things. I’m amazed how Korg can get big ups for doing X0X derivative gear (and I am a happy Korg owner/user) that is in reality quite different, cheaper, more compromised, quirky, imperfect but accessible. But Roland do effectively similar and are lambasted because the magic of analog TM is missing…

    So much choice now. It’s great!

  11. Apart from giving out and such and so on – it sounds pretty good I think. I think I’d prefer a AcidLab Baseline 2 but it’s not a bad sounding box and it’s a very decent sequencer with a CV and Gate out. I haven’t been a fan of Roland lately but this is not so bad.

  12. I just love the swivel stand. Best synth design in years. I could play with that for hours. up, down, up, down……..up………..stays up…have dinner…….down. The days will just go by.

  13. This thing sounds fantastic to me. It’s very close to the original, so much so that the vast majority of people would not be able to detect the difference in a mix. Finally there is an affordable acid box that sounds and looks like the real deal. When one considers the onboard effects and MIDI, I would argue that this is actually a superior machine to the original (GASP!). I’m not an analog purist though, I don’t give a shit how a sound is generated as long as it sounds good. This little machine might just spawn the rebirth of acid.

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