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Cyclone Analogic TT-303, TT-78 & TT-606

Synthesizer & Drum Machines
Published May 2017
By Paul Nagle

Cyclone Analogic TT-303, TT-78 & TT-606

We’ve seen plenty of revivals of Roland classics, but Cyclone Analogic’s recreations are not the usual trio.

When you think about it, Roland must be the most generous hi-tech music company ever to go into business. For decades they point-blank refused to rebuild, reissue or remake their analogue classics despite an obvious and unwavering appetite for them. This left the way open for countless others to step up to the mark, warm some solder and attempt to fill the gap. The TT-606 Drum Drone, TT-78 Beat Bot and TT-303 Bass Bot from Cyclone Analogic are three current examples of gap-filling, and as you can probably tell from their names, they aren’t the models most often copied (well, two of them aren’t), making it far more interesting for yours truly.

TT Races

While these analogue-voiced machines each contain different circuitry, they have much in common. Presumably, Roland’s altruism was stretched past breaking point because the earlier ‘dead ringer’ appearance of the TT-303 has given way to a new form with rounded edges and rubber, multi-colour buttons. This look has been adopted by the rest, which are a neat and very portable collection at 310 x 130 x 35 mm, weighing in at just 783g. Where possible, a common layout has been adopted, but thanks to RGB buttons capable of a dozen different hues, you can customise each unit to its own default colour. If I had my way, all buttons would be like this! Incidentally, the drum machines can manage a 13th colour (a slightly bluer turquoise) simply because more buttons equals more choices.

Although light, they don’t feel insubstantial. The silver plastic (or faintly coppery plastic in the case of the TT-78) is shiny rather than silk or matte. All the knobs feel suited to the fondling they’ll inevitably receive. I have just one minor reservation concerning the externals: the dark red text doesn’t show up well against the black background; thankfully it isn’t widely used.

The smoothly rounded TTs (no sniggering at the back there!) require an external 9V adaptor, which rules out the battery-powered jamming of the venerable TB-303 and TR-606. To ward off dust and protect the knobs from the ravages of the world, every model ships with a plastic protective cover that fits snugly over the top. In addition a neat canvas bag is included, complete with a compartment for the adaptor. And if you require still more evidence that care and thought have been properly applied, a full colour manual laid out in easy lessons is present too, guiding you through every nook and cranny.

All models are properly MIDI-enabled and I’d be surprised if anyone was too worried about the lack of DIN Sync. A...

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Published May 2017