Roland TB-03 Recreates Classic Acid Bassline Sound

Roland today introduced three new items in its Boutique line: the TR-09 Rhythm Composer, TB-03 Bass Line synthesizer and VP-03 Vocoder.

Each is designed to recreate the sound, interface, and operation of a classic Roland product. Powered by Roland’s advanced ACB (Analog Circuit Behavior) technology, they also extend on the originals’ capabilities, adding enhanced features and modern connectivity.

The new Roland TB-03 ($349) uses ACB to recreate the sound and character of the original TB-303 Bass Line Synthesizer.

A new four-digit LED display allows for enhanced programming, while rotary dials give hands-on control over tuning, cutoff, resonance, envelope mod, decay, and accent.

Saw and square waveforms are present, alongside new overdrive, delay, and reverb effects.

In addition to the original’s Pitch and Time write modes, there’s a new Step mode and fine tempo control, and sequences can continue playing while switching modes.

Ports for external gear include a dedicated trigger input to drive the internal sequencer, plus MIDI IN/OUT, USB, and CV/Gate for control over analog gear, modular synths and DAWs.


All three new Roland Boutique units run on 4 x AA batteries or USB bus power. Each module also includes a powered mini-speaker.

See the Roland site for more info.


37 thoughts on “Roland TB-03 Recreates Classic Acid Bassline Sound

  1. Really big downer.
    Noone cares about 303 but if the tr09 were analogue with modable circuits it souls have been a sensation but digital engine and no individual Outs… More of a nice toy

  2. Can’t believe anyone buys into this ACB bullshit Roland are selling. They just didn’t have the balls to remake the original. $350 for software in a box. They could easily have reproduced an analogue version of the TB for far less than this

    Korg must be laughing as are any manufacturer that make TB clones. This won’t impact on their sales

    The kick in the face is the CV/Gate to control “external analogue” gear. What a joke !

  3. Love these – great idea to recreate the look / feel / interface but with the ACB tech. Something for the wife to get me for Xmas this year for sure 🙂

    P.S. Looks like the controls are giving the users electric shocks? 🙂

    1. That’s what I’ve been debating. I think I’d go TR-8 for drums because you can get five drum machines with tunable controls, but the TB-3 doesn’t offer much beyond editing presets with the smallest amount of possibilities. I prefer the Aira TB-3 interface but this is definitely the way to go if you want that original 303 feel.

  4. I would have paid some +50% for a full analog reissue… Even with the same toy-box quality case, but analog…
    They look like a big opportunity catastrophicly thrown away…

  5. Perhaps Roland has warehouses full of TB303s somewhere,
    and is just happy to ramp the value of them by winding everyone up.

  6. nice and glossy promo video of nice glossy units.

    Nevermind the fact that its all smoke and mirrors and theres nothing real analog about the products at all.

    What a bloody joke.

  7. Seems they sell enough and earn enough money that they have enough big balls to come up with even more ACB gear.

    I’m sure they will again sell a lot of them, because there are more than enough musicians out there who don’t care if something is digital or analog unless it sounds great.

    I like the easy DAW integration via USB. It’s something that you won’t get with the analog stuff.

  8. For a real 303 check out Avalon Bassline. Based on the original circuit with more functions. Proper 303 sound, bit more expensive

  9. Just a thought:
    Roland started selling the Aira line and plugin stuff to manipulate and control our buying habits to make more money in the long term, rather than giving us exactly what we are asking for, now. “It’s not the original, but it sounds pretty close.” Then they release the boutique line. “It kind of looks like the originals as well, here’s my money.” Now they release this new line of boutiques. “Well, now that’s as close as I’m going to get to the real thing, so I better buy that as well.” “Here’s some more of my money.”

    In a year or two, after they’ve sold all of this Aira/boutique crap to us because we long for the old days, they will release real analog, full size versions of their 30 year old designs and then we will have to buy them because that’s what we wanted in the first place…. even though the pricing will be ridiculously outrageous. “Finally, that’s what I wanted, here’s my money, and thank you Roland, we knew you could do it”

    1. Aside from all those assumptions you made about buying habits and Roland’s development cycle, you raised a fair point about the economy of reissues.
      – Where’s the saturation point?
      – How many times is one person willing to buy updates of the same thing?
      – Will splitting the market across Aira and Boutique buyers lead to an irreconcilable difference in Roland’s customer’s expectations?

      This kind of release cycle did no favours for the music industry and its retailers (too many Led Zep & Marley reissues across CD, vinyl, MP3 and tape plus not enough new music). Hope it doesn’t lead to a race to the bottom starting with Roland & Yamaha’s reissued synths.

      At least the TR8 & boutiques are fun to use as well as sounding good & being reliable. Can’t ask for much more than that without being greedy. Haters- don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. That Aira euro modular set is underrated AF for newbs.

      Still waiting on a new Roland sampler though.

  10. People have been recreating these sounds in software for years, and getting bagged on for not being authentic and analog. But Roland does it in software, and somehow people accept it.

  11. Can’t guarantee I won’t go for the TB-03, but after Roland’s foray back into analogue with the JD-Xa & JD-Xi, I’m surprised they did the 303 as VA. Actually, both JD’s have digital sound-sets of all the classic drum machines, including 909… Roland, please do more real analogue! my (real) Juno won’t live forever!!

  12. All these Roland boutiques and reissues just make me so happy I bought Korg products. They are cheaper and simply better sounding and more accessible. There’s nothing that Roland has done in the past 3 years that Korg didn’t do better years before. It just proves once again that Roland is desperately trying to play catch up and their price points are completely overblown to the same if not more powerful Korg product. Roland, I turn my back on you. Not impressed at all. It took Roland THIS LONG to invent something close to the Volca line. Nice try. FAIL!

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