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.

Modifications:

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
bond
March 8, 2012 @ 2:41 pm
An EEPROM may have lost some data, rond. Try burning your own EEPROM and replacing the onboard one.
smoinync
February 26, 2012 @ 3:15 pm
Love this thing, it misses clap but HC2 would do it. & don't forget add the PC2 to left trigg out.
visceralvoids
August 24, 2011 @ 6:03 pm
This was the drum machine that kickstarted Steve Albini's career - used on Big Black's "Lungs" EP from 1983
kluklu
August 3, 2011 @ 8:33 am
@ Rond:
That's normal! You just have to put the 606 in Write Pattern Mode and play the sequence then you press the Function Button and press 16 (for 16 steps so 4x4 bars)
Cheers
rond
May 5, 2011 @ 9:20 pm
My 606 worked just fine when I stored it WITHOUT batteries about 2 years ago. Recently got it out and put in fresh batteries and fired it up. It plays only short patterns and will not clear any of them. (pattern write mode and press pattern clear and function button at the same time.) Also tried every other comb. I could think of. Nothing worked. Opened it up and gave it a good spraying even tho it looked brand new inside. No change. Help!
 
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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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