Roland TR-606 Drumatix

Roland TR-606 Image

A cool little box! So primitive and cute! The 606 was the percussion side-kick to the TB-303. It even looks like the 303. It stores up to 32 patterns and 8 songs. The 606 allows switching between Pattern Play and Write mode while running - making the 606 the only drumcomputer in the X0X series that can be edited while performing and switching patterns. It is also possible to link up to 4 consecutive patterns in Pattern Play mode. There is only a mono audio output, however there are mods from Kenton Electronics and Analog Solutions that will add individual outputs for each drum tone.

The 606 has seven analog drum sounds which are simple, yet great! Kick, Snare, 2 toms, open hat, closed hat, cymbal, accent. The hi-hats are a very tinny electronic sound and its toms are great for soft tribal patterns. These seven sounds alone are still quite popular today, and the 606 has been used by Überzone, Cirrus, Sneaker Pimps, Download, Aphex Twin, Astral Projection, Nine Inch Nails, Mr. Oizo, Jimi Tenor, Kid 606, OMD, Moby, Freddy Fresh, Autechre, Luke Vibert, Orbital, and Union Jack.

For control, the 606 can receive or transmit DINSync for synchronization with other TR and TB family instruments. There are also two trig-outs on the unit, which make it very valuable as a pattern-programmable dual-channel trigger sequencer. It's often used for this by various people (Jimi Tenor) to 'drive' other sequencers and the like.


Editable Drum Tones! - Analog Solutions external modification adds tuning for all drum tones, snap and decay for the snare drum, decay for the cymbals and a sweep effect for the toms.

Individual Outs! - Analog Solutions adds 5 individual outputs for cymbals, kick, snare, toms and hi-hats.

Synhouse MIDIJACK DINSYNC - Adds a MIDI jack so the 606 can be sync'd to external MIDI triggers and tempo sources.

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45 Visitor comments
February 23, 2009 @ 7:21 am
Load of rubbish. The snare sounds really cool, but the bass drum is soft and weak, and the other sounds are nothing special. You can't modify any of the sounds, and it's a pain in the arse to chain patterns together too.
It's a fun little toy, especially when you sync it up to a synth arpeggiator, but it certainly isn't worth the hundreds of dollars you see them going for on eBay. This is a perfect example of how analogue doesn't always guarantee great sound, and it's certainly Roland's worst sounding analogue beat box. You can get the CR8000 for around the same money (or cheaper!), and they are more flexible, can still be synced to other equipment and have superior sounds.
February 4, 2009 @ 10:54 pm
Sounded like crap when I had it in 1985. Now, I wish I still had it cuz it's cool again... and I miss its little clinky clanky ways... *sniff*
December 9, 2008 @ 7:26 am
What I love about this is its versatility - yes, it's versatile! It can be the beat in a Phil Collins ballad or with a bit of EQ and distortion it'll go well in a techno tune. Simple to run, too. The only down side is the second-hand price!
September 21, 2008 @ 11:17 am
So easy use. Small, Runs ages off batteries. Hard wearing, had a fight with the girlfriend, throughed this off a stone floor. Was all intacted inside, glued the case back together, worked good as new. Nice retro sounds, think early hiphop, and house. Two triggers, great for adding Boss HC-2 handclapper among other things.
September 11, 2008 @ 9:42 am
Probably one of my favorite machines in my studio... why?? Sound, features and size. It's like a mini-808. All analog with crispy HHs and Cymbals. Another highlight are the dual trigger outs which are controlled by the 2 tom lines... Perfect for syncing a 101, CSQ, Pro One, Mono/Poly, etc... to a Midi/Din set up. Also... you can write patterns and switch patterns without stopping playback! Essential...
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 7 Drum Tones
  • Tones - snare, kick, closed hat, open hat, tom 1, tom 2, and cymbal
  • Controls - Drum Tone Level, Accent; Tempo
  • Patterns - 32
  • Songs - 8
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer
  • Keyboard - 16 buttons
  • Control - DIN Sync in/out
  • Date Produced - 1982
  • Resources & Credits
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