Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Definitive Roland TB-303 vs Adafruit x0xb0x shootout



I hope you have your flame resistant suits on because here we have it, the definitive Roland TB-303 vs Adafruit x0xb0x shootout.

Is there a difference? yes.

Is it really noticable? no.

To be quite frank, if the x0xb0x is built well with the right components then the differences are subtle. In my ears it's something to do with the resonance, the 303 seems to be a little more squelchy and dare I say it a bit warmer, with a little more groove. The x0xb0x gets 99% of the way there and overall feels a little more stiff.

But don't take my word for it, check out the video, decide for yourself and leave a comment with your opinion. But don't forget, no two 303's sound exactly the same, so stands to reason my 303 will sound different to my x0xb0x.

Perhaps this will end the debate?

unlikely...

Let the flames begin.

19 comments:

  1. btw... got mouser links for those x0xb0x knobs?

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  2. those knobs were part of a group buy on the x0x forums, bascially they are electribe mkII knobs which you can only get from korg.

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  3. I wouldn't say thats 99%... more like 85%.
    The xox sounded inferior in most patterns.
    Must be something you can do with the resonance to bump it up a bit on the xox..
    Would be interesting to see if the xox got a bit more bite with a BA662A installed too..

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  4. The BA662A has NO difference in sound what so ever. It's been tested time and time again. That's purely for fetishists. And it sure didn't sound inferior than the 303. It IS a 303. Same parts. The only difference is the resonance, which the 303 has the edge on. The x0xb0x just can't get that sharpness to it. This makes it sound slightly lower in pitch. No matter what resistors get swapped, it just won't get there. Nobody can explain why.

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  5. Well you can't really argue that is IS a 303 cos its got the same parts, then turn around and say it hasnt got the same sharpness to the resonance and no-one can explain why. To me it sounded weaker and inferior. Great box. Cheap alernative. 85%.

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  6. Wow, that is so close as to be negligable. Whatever the difference in resonance, will probably not matter in an actual mix as that freq band will be filled with hi-hats and other sounds anyway. I would like to hear these same tests on 2 side by side 303s and see what differences are heard. I think we can all agree that if you made two tracks, one with each, I wager no-one will know which is which. I always entered the "Pepsi Challenge" convinced I loved Coke, but blind taste tests proved I loved Pepsi. Is this that much different? :)

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  7. Have a listen...

    http://soundcloud.com/computer-controlled/acid-tone

    One is a 303, the other is an x0xb0x... what is what?

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  8. i'd hazzard a guess the 303 is the distorted one, though its a lot harder to tell in a tune obviously

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  9. That's always the one that everyone guesses. But it's the x0xb0x. The 303 is the bouncy one that comes in later. The overdrive on the x0xb0x is from the x0xi0 mod.

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  10. BTW, where did you get your 303 style over lay??

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  11. haha so it was a trick, i suspected so much, still the differences are way less obvious when distortion is added. The overlay you can find details about on the x0x forums, just search for TB-x0x

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  12. Ya i found it. Mailed Jeff about it, we'll see what he says.

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  13. very very close indeed ! Cheer for posting this.

    Getting mine in a week ! Cheers for advice on DOA.

    Ben Paradigm X

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  14. Hey man, cool video. I gotta get me a tb303 some day.

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  15. For me, the main difference is in the sequencer...
    It has always been the mystical part of the box, no ?
    ;)

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  16. @Greg you should check out the n0nx0x firmware, it aims to replicate the 303 seq

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  17. I wonder if you're hearing the leakiness of a 25-year old capacitor in the 303.

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