Midilab released JC-303, a freeware bass synth VST plugin for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Dust off your rave gear because Midilab released the JC-303 bass synth plugin, which you can pick up for your favorite DAW on any major OS.
The JC-303 bass synthesizer is designed to be an authentic clone of the Roland TB-303 Bass Line, a hardware bass synthesizer manufactured from 1981 to 1984.
The Roland TB-303 was intended to mimic the sound of a bass guitar, but it spectacularly failed at that and bombed commercially as a result. However, throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, the synth became a staple of acid house and techno, and was featured on hits such as Daft Punk’s “Da Funk”.
The TB-303 has since become highly sought after on the second-hand market, with units selling for as much as £1,000.
However, you don’t need to worry about saving your pennies to get your hands on it, as the free JC-303 does a pretty damn good job at recreating the sound.
Midilab, an open-source DIY initiative, stated that the plugin is a “JUCE port of Robin Schmidt’s Open303 DSP engine, with a mission to make Open303 accessible across different platforms and plugin formats.”
The developers said that the project aims to deliver “faithful clone emulation of the TB-303 step sequencer” and that “We understand that the TB-303 isn’t just about its distinctive sound; it’s about the entire gear and the iconic sequencer that defines its unique character.”
True to the mission statement, the majority of the controls on the JC-303 are identical to the original Roland unit. The following controls are copied over – Volume, Tuning, Cut Off Freq, Resonance, Env Mod, Decay, and Accent.
The original TB-303 featured a Waveform switch on the back panel. Interestingly, Midilab has implemented this differently by providing a Waveform pot instead, which enables a broader range of tonal choices from this parameter.
The Roland TB-303 features a dedicated sequencer, which takes up half the control scheme. At this point, the Midilab JC-303 does not feature this and just provides the controls listed earlier in the article.
However, Midilab does plan to implement this, stating that they have a roadmap for implementing a “faithful step sequencer, capturing the essence of the original TB-303 experience.”
The Midilab JC-303 is available in VST3, LV2, and AU formats for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Download: JC-303 (FREE)