Friday, December 16, 2016

Roland TB-03 vs. TB-3 | An Acid Machine comparison

So I have recently picked up the Roland TB-03 Bass Line synth, the latest in Roland's Boutique lineup. I've been a fan of the acid sound since the early 1990's, and a producer for almost as long, but until recently haven't felt the need to be strictly identified by that sound in my own works. I did pick up the Aira TB-3 early in 2015, and that has found it's way into my live sets and a number of my productions as well. One of the draws of the Aira TB-3, in addition to a decent replication for the acid sounds, was the flexibility that it offered in terms of other bleepy sounds and general weirdness. I like to make sure that my synth purchases can cover some ground and be flexible, which is probably why I never went the route of tracking down an expensive original TB-303 or even one of the various clones (x0xb0x, MB-33, etc.).

I've finally managed to break down and get a dedicated acid machine now, and my choice was the Roland TB-03. On first glance. it shares a similar visual layout as the original machine. The silver box format has been merged with the Roland Boutique case, resulting in a new yet familiar machine. My first thoughts when comparing the actual sounds to the other Roland re-creation was "OK, this has it's own sound!"

Yes, The Roland Boutique TB-03  has a different sonic character when compared directly with it's recent predecessor, the TB-3. I'm not entirely sure what the development team at Roland has going on under the hood, but there is a noticeable improvement in the depth and "bite" that this synth offers. Now, I have not owned an original Tb-303, nor I am I intimately familiar with it's nuances outside of how it sounds on a decent part of my record collection. I'm sure there are purists that will deride this machine with a litany of critiques, but I'm choosing to look at the glass as half full. I like the TB-03. It's a fun machine to turn on, and crank out some cool sounds, end of story.

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