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
Colin Brace
May 16, 2014 @ 10:20 am
Really cool machine experiment with different tape machines and you can get an almost 808 like kick.
Alex
April 6, 2013 @ 3:23 pm
Found the sound if the 606 to be a little thin and was ready to abandon it, but I found a way to beef it up. I plug my 606 into the EXT IN of my Moog Little Phatty. Playing with the filter and overload of the Phatty gives the 606 a serious boost. You can get some crazy sounds out of it this way as well playing with the resonance it self oscillates.
MikeG
April 6, 2013 @ 12:27 pm
Sorry - I should have left my email address: Phidippides140@aol.com

I bought the TR-606 new many years ago...and just found it. It's probably 30 years old and it works! I can't find the adapter but it works with batteries. How are these used in live performances these days if at all? Thanks
MikeG
April 6, 2013 @ 12:11 pm
I bought the TR-606 new many years ago...and just found it. It's probably 30 years old and it works! I can't find the adapter but it works with batteries. How are these used in live performances these days if at all? Thanks
Ian
March 31, 2013 @ 8:20 am
This is of course the drum machine featured in the sonic onslaught of Big Black.
 
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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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