Based on the wildly influential TB-303, the new TB-3 Touch Bassline is a performance-ready bass synth with meticulously authentic sound and intuitive controls engineered to play.
Nobody could have anticipated what would happen to the world of dance music when Roland’s now-legendary TB-303 was embraced by inventive musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Since the 1980s, the TB-303 has been a staple of electronic music. It is the defining sound of Acid House and has since been the marquis instrument on an array of groundbreaking electronic dance tracks. It’s not only been used to write songs, but it has songs written about it. In fact, the release of the TB-303 has been heralded as one the key events in the history of dance music. Not bad for a little silver box.
Launched in 1981, the TB-303 continues to be an indispensable bass synth for dance music. We have meticulously analysed the circuitry of the TB-303 piece-by-piece and down to the individual circuit behaviour.
Using Analogue Circuit Behaviour technology we have fully reproduced both the saw-tooth and square wave oscillators as well as the -18dB/octave ladder low pass filter used in the original TB-303, capturing that unmistakable cutoff and resonance character.
In addition to the faithful reproductions of classic TB tones, the TB-3 is packed with 134 sounds that live and breathe. Bubbling synth basses, hard distortion basses, trippy delay sounds and drippy effects. They’re all here - and then some.
A TB bass line not only sounds unique, but it has its own trademark feel as well. The TB pulses. It drives. It bubbles and it percolates. That’s why we worked so hard to faithfully reproduce the Accent, Slide, and Step Sequencer behaviour of the original unit.
But our vision went beyond simple reproduction.
The truth is, the step entry on the original TB-303 was difficult to use, the keyboard was difficult to play, and special manoeuvres were required for the shuffle functions.
So we experimented with a variety of prototypes in our quest to create the optimal TB interface. Touch Pad
The new TB-3 is equipped with a brightly lit, green and red, pressure sensitive touch pad that lets you seamlessly create patterns and interact with the unit during performance. In addition to pitch and volume, you can tweak filters and even control modulation by simply pressing down on the pad with your finger. It also makes the keyboard a breeze to play.
- Envelope modulation and decay can be controlled with a single finger
- Switch patterns, transpose, and chain patterns with finger gestures
- Internally partitioned at keyboard intervals so it’s easy and natural to play in realtime
- XY PLAY (X: Continuous pitch change, Y: Volume, Press down on pad: Modulation)
The TB-3’s evolved Step Sequencer is easy to use and allows seamless switching between pattern creation and performance. Of course, an attractive aspect of the original TB-303 was how it would sometimes generate unintended sounds as the user maneuvered through its complex and cryptic pattern creation operation. In order to inject that element of chance and discovery, the TB-3 has automatic pattern generation and random pattern modification. Scatter
The TB-3’s Scatter function features slicing, reverse, gating and other effects, instantly creating variations, stutters, and glitches that would normally require painstaking editing in a DAW. Complex, per-step functions are triggered easily with the Touch Pad and a single finger. Keep things fresh and interesting with 8 different types of Scatter variations and 10 levels of Scatter Depth – all controllable in realtime and in perfect sync. Just like the original:
- Meticulously crafted using a pristine unit, original spec sheets and archival data
- ACB technology models each component and every aspect of the original TB-303 sound
- Faithful recreation of the original saw and square oscillator waveforms
- Elements that characterise TB-303, such as attack, slide, and tie have been fully reproduced, including how they interact with each other
- Authentic filter behaviour with smooth response and authentic sound
- Pressure sensitive Touch Pad
- 134 captivating sounds including 4 oscillator effects-processed tones
- Bank A: Original TB-303 sounds
- Bank B: New synth bass sounds
- Bank C: New synth lead sounds
- Bank D: New sound effects
- Dedicated Tempo control with Shuffle and Tap Tempo
- Control built-in effects with smooth, responsive knobs
- 7 segment, 3 character LED display
- Seamless switch between pattern creation and performance
- 16-step indicator lights to aid in pattern creation
- Pattern support for up to 32 steps
- Easy access to Shuffle control for bass lines that groove
- Enter steps manually or record realtime on the Touch Pad
- Change Step Count during playback to alter the length of phrases
- Random pattern generation and pattern modification
- Pattern copy
A few more things
You can connect the TB-3 to your computer via its USB jack for USB bus power and to send and receive Audio and MIDI data.
The TB-3 can receive MIDI clock information to sync with external devices including other AIRA series units.
The TB-3 is designed to work seamlessly and look great with other products in the AIRA series.
TB-3 Version 1.1 New Features
Backup and Restore
- Manage your pattern library with easy backup and restore over USB.
- Tuning — Control both pattern tune (-700 to 700 cents) and master tune (430-450).
- Pattern Tone — Assign a specific tone to a pattern so sound will change automatically when pattern is selected.
- One-touch Transpose — Transpose a pattern during performance by simply pressing a note on the touchpad’s keyboard. No need to hold “Keyboard” button.
- User Bank — Organize your favorite patterns for quick access in live performance with a custom user bank.
- Pattern Lock — Lock the contents of a pattern so you can experiment without losing your original groove.
- Pattern Pitch Shift — Quickly change the root note of a pattern by shifting its pitch.
- Extended Note Range — The sequencer now supports notes from C0-C6 for added flexibility and dramatic slides.
- Extended Transpose Range
- Modes — Local On/Off and MIDI Controller modes determine how MIDI data is sent and received.
- External Record — Record patterns in real-time from external MIDI devices.
- Slide and Accent — Implementation of both slide and accent pattern by MIDI control change.
- Scatter — Scatter On/Off, Type and Depth can be controlled via MIDI control change.
- MIDI Off — Disable sending of all MIDI messages.
- Extended Range — Note range has been extended from C0-C8 when controlled by external MIDI device.