Roland Made A Free TR-808… For Your Browser!

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Roland has launched 808303.studio, a free browser-based music-making platform that emulates the sequencing workflow of the original TR-808 and TR-303 hardware.

The new 808303.studio is free to access in any internet browser. It’s a web-based music instrument based on Roland’s classic TR-808 drum machine and TB-303 bass synthesizer. The two legendary instruments are presented in a very simplified format, of course, but that’s not to say that 808303.studio isn’t fun to jam with.

The instrument’s interface is separated into two sections. The 808 drum machine is on the left, and the 303 bassline synthesizer is on the right. The devices will play in sync at all times, so it’s super easy to get a quick acid jam going. The tempo and shuffle for both devices are controlled by the 808.

As for the virtual 808, there is no way to modify the drum sounds. It’s just a sequencer that uses (presumably) 808 samples as the sound source. The sequencer has eleven drum channels and one additional channel for controlling the accent.

You can build drum sequences from the ground up or use the AI-Variation mode to build a sequence based on your initial input. Another useful feature is the Fill button, which will trigger one of the several built-in fills after the current sequence loop has finished.

808303.studio is a new online music creation platform created by Yuri Suzuki and Roland, which features Roland’s innovative Step Sequencer technique, as well as emulating the sound of the original TR-808 drum machine and TB-303 bass synthesizer. It is a professional sounding online musical interface, which records your masterpieces and allows you to share your creations through social media, messaging and also as a download.

The virtual 303, on the other hand, does offer some hands-on control over its sounds. The user can tweak the filter cutoff, resonance, and the envelope (attack, release, and modulation depth). It is also possible to adjust the accent amount, but I couldn’t figure out how to edit which steps are accented. Finally, there’s the ever-useful Random button, which instantly spits out a fresh bassline with a single click.

The performance seems to be pretty consistent in different browsers, as I didn’t run into any bugs while testing in Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. The performance was slightly sluggish on my less powerful laptop, though, so it’s best to use a computer with a bit more CPU juice.

What’s really cool, however, is that 808303.studio will work in mobile browsers, too. Most of the functionality is there, except for the envelope controls missing in the 303 when the screen is vertical.

Here's how 808303.studio looks in a mobile browser.

Here’s how 808303.studio looks in a mobile browser on Android.

So, there’s something for you to do instead of scrolling through Instagram during your next commute (if you’re not working from home, that is). To be honest, I think Roland should make this little device available as a mobile app, too.

You can access 808303.studio for free in your browser. It doesn’t require signing up, so just follow the link below and get your groove on.

More info: 808303.studio (browser-based music-making app)

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About Author

Tomislav is a content creator and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief here at Bedroom Producers Blog.

12 Comments

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      Ah, that’s what happens when I post articles before my morning coffee kicks in. Thanks for the heads-up! :)

  1. Like you suspected, the 808 is sample based–all MP3s to be precise. I mean, it’s a little browser toy so more than this couldn’t really be expected. They’re VBR V2 (about 120kbps) and they have tags for ENC_DELAY and ENC_PADDING so that the bit of silence added to the start of MP3s doesn’t affect the timing of your rhythms. Here’s the file list I’ve collected https://pastebin.com/qQUcui4J

    The 303 is actually synthesized though, using Tone.js https://tonejs.github.io/ https://tonejs.github.io/docs/14.7.39/Synth.html https://tonejs.github.io/examples/simpleSynth (more examples in the top-left burger menu, like granulizer and monosynth and metalsynth)

    Tone.js actually has the ability to do 808-like sounds with Tone.MembraneSynth but I guess it was important to get the sound absolutely authentic with 120kbps MP3s :p

    Still, it’s a cute webpage.

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      Cool, thanks for all the info. Yeah, I guess it totally made sense to use 808 samples. Still, for a browser-based instrument, this one is quite fun.

  2. So, between their evil cloud stuff and this, should I gather that Roland is definitely dedicated to not giving us proper VSTi at all, ever? Tsk, tsk. ;-)

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      LOL! Btw, to be honest, I resisted the temptation to press play on this pattern. It was made for screenshot purposes only.

      • Whut? No, I mean, the website gave me a pattern on the 808. I clicked the hamburger since and A Guy Called Gerald is attached to the project, so it makes sense. ;-) I get a default pattern, apparently not everyone, weird. Firefox doesn’t sync up the 808 an 303 here, Chrome does. Ah, well.

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