The Roland TB-303 Bass Line is a legendary synthesizer that defined the acid house movement of the late 1980s. Its unmistakable sonic signature brimming with warmth, energy, and character has captivated generations of electronic music producers and listeners. However, finding an original TB-303 hardware unit is not easy or cheap, so many software developers have created virtual emulations of this iconic instrument. In this article, we will review some of the best TB-303 VST plugins that you can use to create hypnotic acid bass lines in your DAW.
RF-AB303 by Ronan Fed
RF-AB303 is a free VST plugin that simulates the Roland TB-303 vintage analog bass synthesizer with a very satisfying exactitude. It comes with different filters and a variety of effects such as Parametric Equalization, Reverb, Delay, Distortion, and Compression, enabling the production of intricate acid patterns typical of Acid House, Techno, and Trance music. The interface has three main sections; on the far left, youâll find the oscillator board, where you can switch waveforms and define pulse width. At its right sits the filters board where you can have fun defining the waveâs velocity and its decay, and where you can apply cutoffs, add some resonance, and define the envelope mod. Then on the far right, you have the master board where you can fix the overall volume, slide, gate, tunning, phase, and panning. The RF-AB303 synth has a crisp sound and nicely penetrates the mix. The envelopes are very much analog in the sense that slight adjustments can significantly alter the shapeâs character and can make you stumble upon many happy accidents. It also offers you the ability to loop a bassline you composed on the piano roll, while on the RF-PAD you could be drumming or designing a pattern. Something that can come in handy in live performances. RF-AB303 is compatible with Windows 8, 10, and 11, and needs Visual C++ Redistributable Package to run. It is available in VST and VST3 plugin formats for 64-bit digital audio workstations on Windows.
TB-303 by Roland
TB-303 by Roland is a software version of the classic instrument that takes it to the next level. Utilizing Analog Circuit Behavior modeling, the virtual TB-303 captures the hypnotic tone of the original hardware and forms the perfect complement to the TR-909 and other classic Roland instruments. The iconic interface and signature crunch and squelch of the original are perfectly reproduced, while adding new features which surely would have turned heads back in the day: The 303âs new editing window is one of the most striking features. For the first time, you can create and edit patterns with a visual interface. With the ability to see the DNA of a preset pattern, you can edit a variation, or start from scratch then step-edit a new pattern, using up to six octaves with user-defined scales, accents, slides, pitch manipulation, and more. The new randomize/generate functions create an endless supply of classic 303 patterns. With five new play modes (Forward/Reverse/FWD&REV/Invert/Random) the TB-303 Software Synthesizer widens the ability to experiment. These new functions allow sonic alchemists to twist and turn the bass, changing direction at will. TB-303 by Roland is part of Roland Cloud Legendary series and requires a subscription to access it. It is available in VST2/VST3/AU/AAX plugin formats for both Windows and Mac OS.
Rebirth by Propellerhead Software
Rebirth was one of the first TB-303 software emulation, in 1997! And itâs free since 2005. Rebirth is more than a TB-303 emulator; you have two TB-303s, and TR-909 + TR-808 drum machine emulations + onboard effects. The software is old, but it still sounds incredible. Rebirth allows you to create complex acid sequences with two independent 303s that can be synced or played separately. You can also tweak each parameter in real-time using your mouse or MIDI controller. The drum machines provide authentic sounds and patterns from classic Roland machines that complement the 303s perfectly. You can also add effects such as distortion, delay, compression, phaser, flanger, aa16f39245