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
- Pressure-sensitive touch pad
- 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
Nobody could have anticipated what would happen to the world of dance music when inventive musicians on both sides of the Atlantic embraced Roland’s now-legendary TB-303. Since the 1980s, it’s been a staple of electronic music—it is the defining sound of acid house, and has since been the marquee instrument on an array of groundbreaking electronic dance tracks. It’s not only been used to write songs, it’s had songs written about it. In fact, the release of the original TB-303 has been heralded as one of 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. In developing the TB-3, we’ve meticulously analyzed the circuitry of the original TB-303 piece by piece, right down to the individual circuit behavior. Using Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology, we’ve fully reproduced the TB-303’s sawtooth and square wave oscillators, as well as the -18dB per octave ladder low-pass filter used in the original, capturing that unmistakable cutoff and resonance character.
In addition to the faithful reproduction of classic TB tones, the TB-3 is packed with new 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-303 bass part not only sounds unique—it has its own trademark feel as well. The TB pulses. It drives. It bubbles and it percolates. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to faithfully reproduce the accent, slide, and step sequencer behavior 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 maneuvers were required for the shuffle functions. So we experimented with a variety of prototypes in our quest to create the optimal TB interface.
The new TB-3 is equipped with a brightly lit, 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 real time
- XY Play—X for continuous pitch change, Y for volume, and pad pressure for modulation
The TB-3’s evolved step sequencer is a snap 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 includes automatic pattern generation and random pattern modification functions.
The TB-3’s Scatter function features slicing, reverse, gating, and other effects, allowing you to instantly create 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. You can keep things fresh and interesting with 8 different Scatter variations and 10 levels of Scatter depth—all controllable in real time and in perfect sync.
A Few More Things
The TB-3 looks great, and is designed to work seamlessly with other products in the AIRA series. In addition, you can connect the TB-3 to your computer via USB to send and receive both audio and MIDI data, including MIDI clock information for syncing with external devices and other AIRA units.
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.
Audio & Video
With roots in the very origins of electronic music, AIRA is the new series of products designed to meet the evolving needs of today's electronic musicians.
AIRA in Miami
The Roland crew hit Miami Music Week with AIRA, and we thought we’d show you some of what happened. We shared AIRA with a lot of big artists, and, as you can see, it caused quite a stir and blew a lot of minds.
Movement Detroit 2014
The Roland AIRA crew headed to Movement in Detroit—a city integral to the history of electronic music and to our history as a company. AIRA gear was in lots of the performance rigs, keeping the music thumping and the crowds jumping.
Analog Circuit Behavior
Go behind the scenes and learn how Roland's newly developed Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) faithfully captures the sound and feel of some our most revered classics.
Artists First Contact
Groundbreaking artists talk about their experiences with Roland instruments and make first contact with the AIRA gear.
Artists First Contact - Todd Terry and Kenny Dope
Dance music legends Todd Terry and Kenny Dope check out the AIRA TR-8, TB-3, and VT-3.
Artists First Contact - Oscar G
Pioneering DJ and dance music producer Oscar G checks out the AIRA TR-8, TB-3, and VT-3.
Artists First Contact - MATOM
Groundbreaking electronic duo MATOM (RADIO SLAVE & CAGEDBABY) check out the AIRA TR-8, TB-3, VT-3, and SYSTEM-1.
Artists First Contact - Germano Studios
The staff at the famous Germano Studios in NYC tell us how they feel about their new AIRA gear.
Artists Arthur Baker, Ricardo Villalobos, Hardfloor, Netsky, Dr Meaker, A Guy Called Gerald and Boys Noize talk about their experiences with Roland instruments and discuss the joys and challenges of performing electronic music live.
TR-909 Rhythm Composer
Roland engineers discuss the technologies involved in getting the right sounds for the successor to the TR-808. The TR-909 Rhythm Composer evolved from the TR-808, adding digital samples and MIDI. House and Techno were born. Now the next step begins.
TR-808 Rhythm Machine
Roland Engineers discuss the initial concept of the TR-808 which was conceived and built in 1980. Although it was designed to create “backing tracks,” creative musicians started to use the Rhythm Machine as an instrument and music changed forever. Now the evolution begins again.
- Preset Patches: 134
- User Patterns: 64
Maximum Step: 32 Steps (each pattern)
- Preset: 8
- 7 segments, 3 characters (LED)
- PHONES jack: Stereo 1/4-inch phone type
OUT (L/MONO, R) jacks: 1/4-inch phone type
MIDI (IN, OUT) connectors
USB port: USB type B (Audio/MIDI)
DC IN jack
- Power Supply
- AC adaptor, or obtained via USB port (USB bus power)
- Current Draw
- 500 mA
- Owner's manual
Leaflet "USING THE UNIT SAFELY"
- Size and Weight
- 240 mm
- 173 mm
- 57 mm
- 820 g
1 lbs. 13 oz.
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Updates & Drivers
If you have questions about operating your Roland, BOSS or Cakewalk product, please check our Knowledge Base for answers to the most common questions.
You can also contact our Product Support department by phone or email.