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Roland TB-3 – Demo, Tutorial & Review

Check out our ‘Roland AIRA TB-3’ review and demonstration with Consordini.com and ‘Nathan Cleary Music!’ featuring a quick dive through some of the features, sounds, pros, and cons of the unit. Based on the wildly influential TB-303, the new TB-3 Touch Bassline is a performance-ready bass synthesizer with authentic sound and intuitive controls engineered to play. The TB-3 contains the unmistakable character of its predecessor, wrapped in a modern package with a pressure-sensitive touch pad that makes both playing and programming a total joy.

CAPTURING THE ORIGINAL

  • Meticulously crafted from a pristine TB-303 unit, original spec sheets, and archival data
  • Roland’s ACB technology models each component and every aspect of the original TB-303 sound
  • Faithful recreation of the original saw and square oscillator waveforms
  • Attack, slide, tie, and other elements that characterize the TB-303 have been fully reproduced, including how they interact with each other
  • Authentic filter behavior with smooth response and classic sound

TB EVOLVED

  • Pressure-sensitive touchpad
  • 134 captivating sounds, including the original TB-303 tones and new four-oscillator, effects-processed basses, leads, and sound effects
  • Dedicated Tempo control with shuffle and tap tempo functions
  • Control built-in effects with smooth, responsive knobs
  • 7-segment, 3-character LED display
  • Seamless switching 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 in real time on the touch pad
  • Change step count during playback to alter the length of phrases
  • Random pattern generation and pattern modification
  • Pattern copy function

Beginning with a quick overview and discussion about the unit, followed by a quick tour of the main features and a minimal to no talking sound demo of the presets to finish and let you come to your own conclusions.

Overview

The Roland AIRA TB-3 is an official Roland developed, a modern reimagining of the famous Roland TB303 which was released way back in 1982 and reshaped the sound of music from dance, pop, rave and everything in between.

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As there is plenty of coverage of the sounds of the original Roland 303 online and in various publications over the years, rather than comparing the sounds of both units (or any other clones etc) we will be focusing more on giving a fair and overall presentation of this modern unit’s particular functions, sounds and workflow as much as possible in this AIRA Review.

INTUITIVE GUI

As mentioned in the video itself, if you are a Musician or are coming to Synthesizers from a Musical Background, you will be pleased to know that the GUI of the TB 3 is VERY intuitive.

With a simple LED based keyboard layout it’s quick and easy to see what is happening at any time with a minimal amount of menu-diving to keep you on your toes and into the Music.

SEQUECNING, SEQUENCING, SEQUENCING!

While the sounds that come out of the box with the Aira TB-3 are great, especially the A bank for the more retro enthusiasts/lovers, the Sequencer and the ability to link it’s aforementioned capabilities to External Hardware/Synths through both MIDI and USB is where it can really bring it’s unique Sequencing, Sound and Style to your productions.

In addition, with the new connectivity option of the USB opening it up to both the Hardware and Software side of Music Production, it grants a bunch more combination possibilities than some of its counterparts and gets a big plus from us!

WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT…

While the ‘Pattern Chain’ feature is a great way to create and string complex patterns together, and you can work around this by copy and pasting patterns to line up next to each other, it would have been nice to be able to chain link any pattern with input order.

Moreover, while the limited controls are great and add to it’s on-the-fly workflow, a more expensive model with more options to create or synthesize your own sounds rather than tweaking already created presets would be an acid bassline creator’s dream! (This can be achieved by Sequencing another Synthesizer but would also have been nice to have onboard for people getting into Synthesis.)

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for the Sequencing Power, Workflow and Sound of the famous Roland303 with a couple of bells and whistles on top, then the Roland AIRA TB3 Touch Bassline will be right up your street!

It integrates nicely into a wide variety of setups and while some Vintage Synth enthusiasts might claim that the original 303 or some of the modern hardware clones are better sonically (which they very well may be) but for the Creative Music Producer looking for a great mix of flexibility, sound, price, features and functionality this really is a great unit to get your hands on and get making some new pop, dance or rave bangers for the world to hear!

What do you think of the Roland AIRA TB 3? Let us know in the comments below.

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