Roland TB-3
Roland TB-3

TB-3, Analog Modeling Synth from Roland in the AIRA series.

Infracid 03/23/2014

Roland TB-3 : Infracid's user review

« Awesome, for improvisation »

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Great product, as long as you accept its improvisational and old-school side.

You can't save a single sound!!! You can't associate a sequence to a sound, you can make your own pattern (thank goodness), but the sound will always remain the same. This means that if you wish to change the sound you may bump into surprises because not all sounds have the same volume (some are much louder than others) and all parameters act in real time, which means that if you have a cut-off set to 3/4 on a sound, it will also be set to 3/4 on any other sound you change to.

The effects: Some of them are pretty interesting and even very good, but unfortunately they are associated to sounds, so if you like a distortion effect you can't use it on any sound you want (even though we must concede that the manufacturer made wise choices in this regard).

So you can't save sounds nor choose effects per patch.

The piano: Rather good overall, no problems for step-by-step recording, but if you intend to play in real time, don't expect to be able to play what you recorded. It has a function to play without notes (like on he Kaoss pad), but it's impossible to record with it.

Like on the tr-8, you have the lazy function (to randomly generate a pattern).

Program change OK, control change OK.

2 bars max per pattern with the possibility to link 8 (16 bars in total).


In terms of sound it is truly excellent, it includes the sounds of the TB and much more. You will have the sounds of the TB, which have been used by many artists for 30 years, the TB with distortion of Daft Punk or Prodigy, the TB with reverb or delay of Aphex Twin, etc., etc...But also new sounds.

Some patches feature up to 4 oscillators, it's awesome.


An irreproachable sound, but with old-school handling. Unlike the tr-8, it's an instrument that aims at the future with its new acid sounds (while the TR-8 remains more traditional in this respect).
Unlike the tr-8 you can fully decontextualize the TB and move towards new horizons (but also to remain more traditional).

For $300 you will have much more than a TB-303. If you compare both, this one is truly awesome, but I expected more in terms of editing (and saving your mods).

I don't regret my purchase, even if I will need to find a solution to be able to change patches live with more precision.

PS: It would've been nice to have a push-on knob to change sounds. It would allow to switch from A30 to B33 (for example) without having to hear all the sounds in between.