DIN Sync today announced the RE-303 synthesizer – a new project to create a DIY Roland TB-303 replica.
There have been dozens of takes on a modernized 303 and 303 clones. These are typically adapted for efficient modern production and widely available modern parts.
The RE-303, on the other hand, is designed to replicate the original 303 accurately enough that you should be able to use the new boards as replacements for the originals.
Here’s DIN Sync’s intro video to the project:
As you can see from the intro video, there is already a working prototype of the RE-303.
The project is currently planned to be a hardcore DIY project, rather than a pre-packaged kit. According to DIN Sync, most parts are readily available, but either a real 303 CPU or Quicksilver CPU will be required for the sequencer.
Here is the DIN Sync RE-303 FAQ:
Q: What is the RE-303?
A: the RE-303 is a replica of the Roland TB-303 motherboard and switchboard
Q: Why do we need yet another 303 knockoff?
A: There have been many clones, I honestly wanted to make a genuine replica. Now the dead TB-303’s with broken motherboards can come back to life and new TB-303s can be born.
Q: Hasn’t this been done already?
A: Actually no, not in the purest form. We’ve had the x0xb0x which sounded very close but didn’t look the part. We’ve had the TT-303 which looks that part but is not a genuine replica of the original hardware. The RE-303 circuit boards have been made by dissecting a mint condition pristine TB-303 and manually recreating the board in CAD from the hardware rather than the service schematics. Every nuance and mistake in the hardware not in the service notes is recreated in the RE-303. It really is for all intents and purposes a TB-303.
Q: When can I get one?
A: As soon as they are ready, just post on the waiting list thread. By the nature of this project It’s likely to be limited, so first come first served.
Q: What about kits?
A: This is likely to never happen sorry, this project is probably going to be the most hardcore DIY many have tried. But it will be worth the effort!
Q: What about rare parts, the VCA and CPU, memory chips, switches pots etc etc.
A: There currently exists many solutions for these today and I’m actively working on some as part of the project.
Q: How long will this all take?
A: How long is a piece of string?
Details on pricing and availability are to come. You can follow the RE-303 development at the project site.
25 thoughts on “Din Sync Announces Hardcore Roland TB-303 Replica – The RE-303 Bassline Synthesizer”
I hope it has got midi so it can be run via a sequencer like cubase?
It’s a replica of the original.
The original did not gave MIDI.
This will not have MIDi.
There are plenty of options available if you want a MIDIfied clone.
I think if sequencing it elsewhere is your goal you have better choices, like the x0x heart which is a direct clone of the 303 sound producing circuitry without any sequencer attached. There are actually a bafflingly large number of 303 clones available in the market today.
I have a few acid machines, a bass bott and a Korean xoxbox. I think it would be a shame if this replica (?) was not midi operable .
You really don’t get it do you? 🙂
Umm… Abstrakt Instruments Avalon…?
Not DIY, but it has an exact copy of the TB-303’s PCB, which is backward compatible with the TB-303’s CPU. It nails the original 303, spot on, plus sooo much more.
I can see how this would be tempting to the DIY crowd, though, just for the experience (biting my lip, because I’ve got an Avalon, x0xi0, TT-303 AND TB-303…)
Do I need a fifth 303…? Prolly not…
You know you want it!
How do you like the Avalon? And how do the others stack up? Only if you feel like going into it. 🙂
The Avalon is king. Naturally, I love my TB-303 w/ quicksilver CPU, but there’s so much more that can be done with the Avalon. It’s a modded 303 with an amazing sequencer, which is sooo easy to use.
The x0xi0 (which I built) sonically has more features, but falls behind in the sequencer department. The TT-303 is good, but not as authentic (though it can be battery powered–nice for portability). It has a nice “Bass Bot” feature for “randomizing” patterns. The patterns aren’t fully random, so they are more musical than those created completely randomly. I whip up and mutate patterns in the TT-303 and then program them into the 303 & clones. (But then I also do the same thing in Technobox 2 on my iPhone…)
Why not? I don’t understand.
I wonder, what kind of enclosure do they envision?
A 3U panel with mounting holes? Oh yes.
So basically using all of the advantages of modern engineering for producing something that will be
something that is going to be used 99% of the cases in a midi based environment but then deciding not to install midi option just for the “realness” of it. If it was a replica car i would understand that you want it “like the real one” but aren`t we passed this old debate of what sounds better and the never ending “analog vs digital” sound quality and all the nonsense when almost all mastering and processing is being made in the digital world? It`s like “evolving but just a little bit, and with a parachute for safety cause we like it old school”… boring
I think it’s just the PCB’s for those with broken 303’s or those that want to DIY. I’m sure he doesn’t plan to sell hundreds or thousands of them and make lots of money, it’s more a project and something I’m sure he’s passionate about he wanted to share. Don’t see too much harm there, it’s more intriguing to me than all the useless DIY high school level kickstarter arduino projects you keep seeing crop up around here and sonic state etc..
That’s exactly it.
These are not meant to compete with other clones with more modern features.
kool project 🙂
i’m just wondering about one thing: the sound of the tb 303 is partly due to the use a of a 18db/oct filter that was a rather rare choice in the analog synth industry in those days, but it’s also said to sound so particular due to the use of cheap electronic components, that have been long replaced since then by higher quality ones: how do u expect to find such low-fidelity components nowadays ?
Source cheap components from some rando on eBay Hong Kong.
Anything with analog components is going to have some variance due to component tolerances. What you are describing is a parts aging issue…and there is no real actual component way to fully replicate that.
there is a guy on ebay from australia that still has old parts for xoxboxes are you using some like thos?
There is only one tb303 no clone has ever managed to recreate it’s unique sound , no Avalon xox… They don’t sound like a tb303 , a pastiche , impression yes but not acuratley like a tb303 , there are a lot of mysteries in that little silver box yet to be discovered , it’s the redicdulous sequencer , bizarre power arrangements and flaws that generate it’s hypnotic sound which somehow resonates with humans not just dance music fans but all humans there’s just something primal about it that touches us all , with the re-303 lies the only hope for acuratley recreating the tb303 sound , I won’t be building an re303 il be building a tb303 using an re303 set of boards and I won’t rest until I’ve sourced 100% accurate components
If someone offered me an x0xb0x, Cyclone or Avalon back in the late ’80s when I first had a TB303 (the TB’s were much more reasonably priced back then too), I would have jumped at the chance to have an upgraded acid box with all the extra features & MIDI! And if they don’t sound exactly the same as the TB, then that’s even better – why sound like everyone else, plus most of the time you run them through external effects anyway. The current clones do an excellent job, it’s not like anyone’s going to even notice the difference while they’re having it on the dancefloor.
I guess I’d take a DinSync copy if it they offered a kit (provided the pricing is reasonable), as I prefer to build my own gear.
How long IS a piece of string?
Want midi there are problems you put it …….
want input to the filter you do it.
The question is who wanted to recreate esattamete a TB-303 as it was out to factory and then it seems to me that the chip is much more ‘ahead of the original, and if I am not mistaken is already prepared for the Midi over everything I took JD- XA and outputs CV / GATE I also have a Kenton and SBX-1 who sync and CV Gate.
Above all there is a great tendency to rimenttere CV / Gate Trigger on new synth …
I want a RE-303!
Put me on the list ASAP
What is the cost going to be?
I am the Winner! I ma the Winner!