The RB-303 Project

Friday, May 12th, 2006 | 8:42 pm and filed in Reason, ReBirth, Combinator, ReFill.

There’s an old project that’s been sitting on my desk for almost a year. Ever since I discovered that ReBirth was going to be discontinued from the Propellerhead Software line of products, I decided that it might be cool to create a multisample of the modelled bassline synths in ReBirth. The project is not finished, but I finally have some time to wrap it up.

The first task was to create a ReBirth Song File that plays the entire range of notes which covers a 5 octave range. This is about an octave more than the Roland TB-303, which totals 61 individual samples. After rendering the RBS to an audio file. At first I thought it might be enough just to cut up the individual sample and load them straight into an NN-XT, but I decided to take it a step further.

I decided to further process the audio through an analog signal chain to add a some depth to the sound. After loading the audio file into Logic Pro, I bounced the track through a Revolution REDD.47 Mic Pre and compressed the audio with an old Manley Monoblock Compressor. Overkill? Probably… but after being re-digitized through the apogee, it sweetened up the virtual synth rather nicely. The result is punchy without being too bloated. The unprocessed 303 samples are bigger, but the REDD47 and Manley processing make make them slightly punchier.

As it turns out, the samples are a bit difficult to loop properly. I might go back and reprocess a new set of samples and loop them, but for the moment, they are simply straight samples. Once edited and mapped into NN-XTs, the samples were incorporated into the BF318 Combinator patch to (attempt, somewhat in vain) emulate the 303 filters. I’ve finally managed to find a working solution to a problem I encountered last year, but unfortunately, it’s still not a perfect simulation.

I put together a Reason file that incorporates two of these RB-303 combinators, the ReBirth 808 & 909 Combis from the ReFill RB-338 ReFill, and a PCF Combi fashioned from an ECF-42 and a Matrix. Along with a D-11 Distortion, Comp-01, and a custom Delay Combinator, I managed to create a reasonable facsimile of ReBirth. What surprises me the most is how much work is involved in actually programming a track using this interface. The amount of sophistication incorporated behind the ReBirth GUI became quite apparent as I put this song file together. There’s a simplicity and elegance to programming ReBirth which is not easily recreated in Reason. (click on the image to see the full size)

Anyhoo… i hope to get this thing together soon, now that I’ve managed to get the power supply cable back for my Quad. I forgot it up at RML a few weeks ago, and I’ve been working on the backup Dual. All of the combis will probably be packaged up into a ReFill, but i need to get the official OK to release such a project.

Some Previews made with the ReBirth RB-338 ReFill and the RB-303 Combis:



9 Responses to “The RB-303 Project”

  1. Flandersh Says:

    Nice one, see forward to play with the refill you announce! Respect, Anders!

  2. jojo Says:

    Excellent preview mate! It brings back memories from the old days. I look forward to play with this ReFill someday (if it’s released… and if I find time), it sounds awesome. Big ups for the Peff man!

  3. Ingo Vogelmann Says:

    i would appreciate this to heaven mate! this is what i was waiting for.

  4. Peff Says:

    Well, this is a relatively easy refill to make. The problem is that I get stuck for hours making 303 patterns :-)

  5. Jim Says:

    Sounds good Kurt! I start to wonder from time to time how much I really miss ReBirth — and hearing this reminds me that it is a LOT!

    Sort of like hearing outstanding guitar tone — you just can’t get enough.

  6. Peff Says:

    I’ve received the official “OK”. So it looks like the RB-303 project will be released. I’m still not sure about the timeframe. I think it’s finished, but i might try tweaking out the skins again.

  7. Jim Says:

    Kurt –

    Any word as to when this project will be released? I’m really looking forward to this!


  8. peff•com » Blog Archive » RB-303 ReFill Says:

    […] Rather than let this one continue to sit on my hard drive, I’ve decided to release the RB-303 refill. This fill is comprised of samples created using the ReBirth 303 Bassline synth, processed through a vacuum tube preamp and vacuum tube compressor. [Read More Here] I’ve received the OK from the props, so everything is set to go. The set is still in a semi-finished format. The samples have not been looped, and the combi skins are variations of the generic image. Every note is sampled, so note durations are not affected by pitch transposition. For typical 303 synth lines, the durations are long enough and should not be a factor. […]

  9. IBIG - Lars Bengtsson Says:

    That’s da bomb….really looking forward to test that sweet refill. I respect your work a lot.
    And have the book PowerTools for v2.5.

    Nice work!

    God bless.

    /Regards Lars Bengtsson - DK.

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