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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44 Visitor comments
June 15, 2009 @ 6:47 pm
Big Black definitely needs to be mentioned here
May 19, 2009 @ 4:34 pm
I have a Roland TR-606. It was past down to me by my father. He was a bass player. He used the hell out of it doing the late 80's.He wrote all of his songs using that box. He was the master. After reading the comments I'm going home and learn everything I can about the TR-606
Ras David
May 16, 2009 @ 10:24 am
The cr-8000 has programable paterns -(i Belive 8?) and is very cool,(I rocked 1 alongside a 78,808,909 & 303 for years) I tend to see the 606 and 8000 as pretty dif. sounding..the 8000 is more on the vintage cr-78 side sonicly,-real tingey.(think early depeche) the 606,more like an 808.they're both great..And if you just HAD to rock them live,you could switch back and forth for dif. songs/sections and still have a cool diverse,vintage sound.
May 14, 2009 @ 1:55 pm
kick is soft and weak? only if you don't know how to mix the sounds right. ;) and the claim that CR8000 is a more flexible/useful machine... what? you can't even program your own patterns on it!
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.
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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

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