The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'tb-303'
ReBirth, the 303/808/909 emulator/music production tool/toy of the late 1990s, is now free (as in beer). Propellerheads have put ISO images of it, as well as demo songs and mods (i.e., skin/sample packs), up for downloading. The software itself is unmodified; it apparently doesn't work with OSX, it still checks for the CD every time it starts (a useless exercise in "copy protection" when the CD is a burnable image), and even shows the old EULA which prohibits use on multiple machines (though the web site tells you that the new download license overrides that).
What would be cool would be if Propellerheads released the source code. They wouldn't lose any competitive advantage by doing so, and would stand to gain good will, while hackers with more time on their hands than Propellerheads would be able to update it (from getting it to run on OSX to porting it to new platforms, from Linux to hacked PSPs). And, of course, getting rid of the pointless CD check on startup.
Incidentally, the ISO image for the PC version isn't a pure ISO9660 image but has a large quantity of 0s at the start. If burning it with cdrecord (i.e., under Linux), you will need to first strip the nulls off with something like:
dd if=rebirth_pc_installation.iso of=rebirth.iso bs=4096 skip=75
There have since been more 303 emulators; there's a commercial VST/AU plugin here which is said to be good. And then there's Muon's Tau, a free-as-in-beer 303-esque softsynth. In the open-source world, there is a rather rudimentary open-source attempt at 303 emulation, written by Your Humble Narrator a few years ago, here (it runs on Linux and uses Curses).
An interesting and comprehensive documentary about the Amen break (QuickTime video), giving examples of its history from The Winstons' B-side Amen Brother to its influence on hip-hop and jungle, its appropriation and fetishisation by pretentious people with PowerBooks, and its subsequent ubiquitification into the wallpaper of consumer culture, and the (increasingly paradoxical) issues of copyright.
(One of the claims made is that The Winstons do not defend their copyright of the Amen break, though that hasn't stopped sample-CD companies from releasing their own versions of it and claiming copyrights on them.)
(There's also one on the cultural history of the Roland TB-303, though I haven't seen that yet.)
Limor Fried, the designer of the home-made Altoids-tin MP3 player and television-sensitive sunglasses, has done it again, with a honest-to-goodness DIY analogue TB-303 clone. The x0xb0x, as she calls it, is apparently as close to a real 303 as one can get; Fried and her collaborators actually took apart a 303 and analysed the characteristics of all the components. Where it differs from a 303 is that it has USB and MIDI (and can be, literally, computer controlled), can control external synths, and has extra modes in the firmware. The unit will be available in kit form for around US$300 (about £160 or A$400); additionally, the designs will be released as open-source, which means that if you can source the exotic transistors used in it (and a list is given), you can make your own.