Behringer has has announced his newest synth, the TD-3, an analogue bass line synthesizer that is essentially a clone of Roland's TB-303 from 1982. Although the company does not mention the TB-303 directly, it gives a big wink by saying that the TD- 3 features "authentic reproduction of original circuits with adapted transistors" and a "pure analog signal path based on lcegendary VCO, VCF and VCA designs. "
The fully analog instrument gives you a sawtooth and square wave VCO, an arpeggiator, a 4-pole low-pass resonance filter, distortion circuitry and a 16-step sequencer with 7 tracks, each with 250 user patterns. There is also an addition of a 16-part poly chain, with which you can combine several synthesizers for a maximum of 16-part polyphony. It is therefore not an exact replica of the TB-303 from Roland, but it is pretty close.
A video comparison has already turned up for those who want to see how the TD-3 compares to the TB-303. All similarities and differences are split up side by side. For example, the TD-3 has a plastic housing like the original Roland model and the lower part has the same button layout (although the TB-303 has some additional functions).
On the top half there is an added distortion unit on the TD-3, modeled after the Boss DS-1 distortion pedal. This recording makes sense because many artists deliberately introduced overdrive and distortion in the 303, which helped to define the classic sour sound that can be heard in songs such as the 1995 hit hit by Josh Wink:Higher state of consciousness. "
Although you can program patterns on the TD-3 itself, there is also the option of connecting the device to your computer via USB to create or edit patterns with the Synth Tool app from Behringer and then import them again.
In general it seems to be a good budget version of the TB-303, but some purists may not find it as good as the original. It has many sonic similarities with the TB-303, but the comparison in Loopop & # 39; s video shows that certain parameters on the TD-3 sound considerably different, and it is often brighter, sharper and chirpy than the Roland original.
The original TB-303 was released by Roland in 1982, marketed as a "bass line" synthesizer. It was a commercial flop, but was eventually picked up by electronic musicians and became a fundamental tool for various forms of new genres in the & # 39; 80 and & # 39; 90, perhaps particularly the acid house. Used by everyone from Daft Punk to Aphex Twin, it has since become an iconic mono-synth, known for its characteristic resonant and squelchy sound.
Although many are fond of the fact that the clones of Behringer make iconic hardware more affordable (buying an original TB-303 can cost thousands), the practice means that the company has had a controversial history. Behringer has been sued many times in the past by companies such as Aphex Systems and Peavey Electronics Corp. due to trademark infringement. And it was already confronted in 2005 with a Roland lawsuit over various issues of infringement with a line of guitar pedals. The two companies subsequently came to a confidential arrangement in 2006 Behringer changed his designs.
In some cases, Behringer has waited patents expire to replicate the technology, just like with the Behringer D, a copy of the Minimoog Model D. Other times he says it is reverse engineers to make products. In a Facebook post from last year founder Uli Behringer defended the company's practices by saying that “You must be clear about the distinction between the clear copying of someone else's product and the principle of reverse engineering. Copying a 1: 1 product is clearly illegal, but reverse engineering is something that takes place every day and is accepted as part of a product development process called benchmarking … Think of iPhone followed by Samsung Galaxy. This is the principle of competition. "
This is also not the first time that the TB-303 has been cloned. There is the Cyclone Analogic Bass Bot TT-303 MK2, the DinSync RE-303 and others. At the end, Roland applied for a trademark of the European Union earlier this year for the TB-303, including an image of the visual layout and hardware design. For now, the status of that deposit is still being processed.
The TD-3 from Behringer is now available for pre-order in silver, red and blue, and costs $ 150.