TB-303/RE-303 sequencer: why so freakin' weird?

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Sir Ruff
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TB-303/RE-303 sequencer: why so freakin' weird?

Post by Sir Ruff » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:25 pm

just got an RE-303 with Sonic Potions CPU--while they certainly added a number of useful features, the core sequencer is the same as the original. I'm all for sticking to it for the sake of authenticity, but (as someone who's used a 202 and xoxbox) I NEVER imagined the 303 sequencer to be so archaically bizarre.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the "two-channel, pitch/time" aspect and WHY this would have ever made sense from a musical standpoint. It forces you to add extra "dud" notes just to insure the steps hit your actual desired pitches. I don't think Roland used this type of sequencer anywhere else? So if anyone can enlighten me as to the logic behind it (which may help me make better use of it), I'd love to hear!

Also, does tap time somehow make this easier to deal with? This is another thing I haven't figured out yet.

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Post by DiscoDevil » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:44 pm

Possibly the worst sequencer I've ever used. Once I got my Avalon the 303 has sat collecting dust. I did put a Quicksilver CPU in it recently but still haven't gotten around to using it.

I think the sequencer sort of makes sense if you're entering sheet music in and happen to know exactly what you want before you sit down in front of it but it's all about the happy accidents with that one for me.

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Post by Panason » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:38 pm

All it needs is a little display to show what step you're editing out of how many total steps in the pattern...

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Post by Sir Ruff » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:42 pm

Panason wrote:All it needs is a little display to show what step you're editing out of how many total steps in the pattern...
The Sonic Potions CPU actually shows you what step you're on, so that's not really the issue. The issue for me, at least, is that entering a tie or rest doesn't "push" the notes to the right, instead it overwrites them essentially, so you can't just play in your melody and them add the time after. You have to add extra notes to account for the ties/rests (or, conversely, write your time first and then factor in where the ties/rests are with dud notes). This is bonkers to me and never leads to anything logical, even when you are totally aware of your step location.

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Post by mome rath » Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:23 pm

that's why all the "classic acid" sounds like random garbage

it is :love:
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Post by nuromantix » Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:23 pm

The issue for me, at least, is that entering a tie or rest doesn't "push" the notes to the right, instead it overwrites them essentially, so you can't just play in your melody and them add the time after. You have to add extra notes to account for the ties/rests (or, conversely, write your time first and then factor in where the ties/rests are with dud notes).
Neither my TB303 nor any I've ever use does this. Rests & ties do "move the rest of the notes to the right".

The only weird thing I think is if you put a glide between two notes of the same pitch, the sequencer automatically substitutes a single long note instead of two short ones tied together.

Not familiar with the RE-303 though.

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Post by Sir Ruff » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:37 pm

nuromantix wrote:
The issue for me, at least, is that entering a tie or rest doesn't "push" the notes to the right, instead it overwrites them essentially, so you can't just play in your melody and them add the time after. You have to add extra notes to account for the ties/rests (or, conversely, write your time first and then factor in where the ties/rests are with dud notes).
Neither my TB303 nor any I've ever use does this. Rests & ties do "move the rest of the notes to the right".

The only weird thing I think is if you put a glide between two notes of the same pitch, the sequencer automatically substitutes a single long note instead of two short ones tied together.

Not familiar with the RE-303 though.
agh... you are totally right! :doh: I started off on the wrong foot because the RE-303 manual describes note entry as I did, and so I basically set about entering stuff with that limitation.

With that in mind it now all makes complete sense :) Though I am still a little confused as to how the slide works--I think this is due to being used to other sequencers like the 202, where it is more of a portamento rather than a pre-note "slide".

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Post by nuromantix » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:52 am

Think of slide as "slide to the next note" and you're sorted.

It is portamento but you apply it to the note you're sliding FROM.

I kept 101 & 303 but sold 202, my brain couldn't get used the the sequencer on that. But 303 is easy once you get the hang if it, you'll be entering patterns in a few seconds.

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Post by Sir Ruff » Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:33 am

nuromantix wrote:I kept 101 & 303 but sold 202, my brain couldn't get used the the sequencer on that. But 303 is easy once you get the hang if it, you'll be entering patterns in a few seconds.
yes... the 202 seems significantly more complex now that I've got the 303 figured out. although saying that, I did have a brief moment last night where I was kind of thinking about pairing the 303 with another 202 8-)

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Post by kwaidan » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:00 pm

To a bass or guitar player, initiating a slide on the first note makes sense because you slide from one note to the next on a fretboard. Since some bassist and guitarists do not know how to read music, language like portamento looks like it belongs on a wine list.

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Post by nuromantix » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:33 pm

101 is so much easier to use than 202.

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Post by Sir Ruff » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:27 pm

nuromantix wrote:101 is so much easier to use than 202.
yes... but also i think they come from philosophically different places--the 101 was clearly meant to be a simple phrase sequencer while the 202 extends on the MC4/8 line and was designed for full songs. The additional gate/note time options (plus additional channel) seem directed more toward trained musicians, whereas the 101 was probably more prosumer-y.

These days I'm sure everyone would prefer to have the 101's sequencer in the 202, but the 202 at least offers a loop option so it's manageable for simple phrases.

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