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.
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)