by Robin Vincent | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Roland 303 Day

Roland 303 Day  ·  Source: Roland

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It’s 303 day and so it’s time to get squeaking on that filter, cranking up those basslines and embracing those long lost days of hope and happiness.

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Come on Roland

Despite it being the 50th anniversary year of all things Roland, the inventors of the TB-303 Bassline don’t have a whole lot lined up for the made-up day of 303 celebrations. However, what we do get is a cool video and an exclusive collection of patches and patterns from DJ Pierre Phuture for the software versions of the TB-303, TR-707 and TR-727.

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Oh yes, that hits the spot! Sadly there’s no Roland news on anything new coming out just yet although new products have been promised. Perhaps Roland is waiting on the official birthday of the 18th of April.

303 Alternatives

In the meantime, we have a few current 303 alternatives to play with if it has to be hardware and you don’t have the cash for an original. Here are my favourites, what are yours?

Erica Synths Bassline DB-01

You can’t get deeper, darker for more playable than the Erica Synths take on a seriously fun analogue bass synth. The filter is filthy and straight from their Acidbox, the BBD detune effect gives it an unusual amount of beef and the overdrive is ridiculous. The knobs are very playable, the sequencer is a cinch to use and features randomisation and an automation track for the cutoff. It’s a brilliant box and the only one to feature a sleeping cat in the demo video.

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Erica Synths Bassline DB-01

Erica Synths Bassline DB-01

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Roland TB-03

If it’s by the makers of the original 303 then it’s got to be good right? Roland nearly aced it with the boutique TB-03. It’s authentic, familiar and will sound as good as any emulation of that 303 sound that you will ever hear. Roland added a display, overdrive and delay effect which saves you from having to get a few pedals to go along with it. It’s cool, compact, made of metal and loads of fun if you can ignore that little doubt in the back of your mind that keeps telling you it’s not analogue.

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Roland TB-03

Roland TB-03

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Behringer TD-3

Probably the most successful synthesizer ever made where Behringer pulled off a perfect combination of analogue cloning and additional features at a price point that puts one in practically anyone’s hands. You even get a choice of colours. The TD-3 sounds great and looks funky. It’s not trying to be anything other than a fun plastic synth that perfectly mirrors the vibe of the original. You get a bigger sequencer, integrated distortion and MIDI and CV connections. The TD-3 is a fun time and more fun I would say than the Modded Out version which for my ears takes the 303 sound in less enjoyable directions.

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  • Behringer TD-3 page.
Roland 303 Day

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8 responses to “Happy 303 Day! What’s your favourite box of ACID?”

    Ab. says:
    0

    Novation Mono station (or even the Bass Station 2)

    Affordable, innovative, feature packed, not a simple clone and icing on the cake : they don’t try to rely on nostalgia to sell their stuff

    iixorb says:
    0

    My favourite is definitely my Roland TB-303: the second one that I have been lucky enough to own over the last 32 years, although not both at the same time.

    I’ve owned a number of clones / re-imaginations over the years too incl. Aira TB-3 (sold), Bassbot TT-303 (sold), Boutique TB-03 and now two Behringer TD-3’s.

    I have to say, as an owner of ‘The Original’ acid box, Behringer did an incredible job (especially once the cutoff trimpot inside is adjusted down a bit for a darker tone 🙂

    Mike Mos says:
    0

    Forget the TB-303. Everybody needs an Abstrakt Instruments Avalon.

    Paul Boos says:
    0

    The clone that isn’t a clone – Rare Waves’ Hydronium! Plus you can insert effects directly into it which is great for adding a Flanger, Phaser, or Distortion signal in…

    JoelBrave says:
    0

    Rare to find but the Wildberry x0xb0x has all kinds of cool mods for some amazing and unique timbres.

    Cyril C. says:
    0

    You don’t know acid if you’ve not heared the Hydronium:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87-sDqEph_k
    Stay safe, this is strong

    Nezzy Idy says:
    0

    The best clone is the Abstrakt Instruments Avalon Bassline

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