Sunday, October 26, 2008


I just brought my new x0xb0x home, and all I can say is, “Wow!”

I have a few boxen of various types, some low-end, some high-end and some “middle-end.” The x0xb0x is the real deal, however. Not that the others aren’t good, but they’re not 303s. Some would say, “well, neither is the x0xb0x,” but it’s as close as I’m going to get without spending a zillion dollars (actual, genuine cost of a real 303 in 2008 US dollars).

The boxes I already had are a good assortment. I first got a Korg ER-1/EA-1 pair. They’re awesome, sound great, are fun to use and can do things a 303 can’t (such as recording every knob movement as part of the stored sequence). I was perfectly happy with them, but still, the EA-1 is not a 303, even though it sounds quite good.

I also have an Elektron Monomachine/Machinedrum pair. I wrote about the Monomachine in an earlier post, and have recorded several tunes with it. It’s awesome, sounds great, and is fun to use. When I first got it, I thought it would fulfill my 303 lust, but it’s not that sort of box. Well, maybe it is, but not in my hands. I think of it as another synthesizer in my arsenal, one that happens to have a 303-like interface.

Lastly, to fulfill my need for excessive squelchiness, I got a Future Retro Revolution. It worked. I finally had “that” sound.

But then, I had an opportunity to get the x0xb0x for a non-usurious price. I thought about for a day or three and decided I couldn’t pass it up. I brought it home this evening, and not counting a two hour break at Nevada Smith’s to watch Man City, my team, defeat Stoke 3-0, throughout which I could feel the presence of the x0xb0x in my backpack at my feet, I’ve been playing with it non-stop since I returned home. It’s the real thing.

Now admittedly I’ve only had it for a few hours, but there have already been a few bumps in the road. This is not a critique of the x0xb0x as it works more or less exactly the same way a 303 would as far as I know. However, and I could be wrong, but it seems to me that you can’t edit a sequence live while the machine’s running. I have a funny feeling that I’ve been totally spoiled by the Monomachine and the Revolution as both of those are completely editable while they’re chugging along.

It don’t matter though. The thing just sounds amazing. <grin>

Also, the x0xb0x came with a few mods on it. From right to left, top row, as you’re looking at the back of the unit are the bass boost, resonance boost, and unholy distortion, with an amount knob and an on/off switch. (The last switch on the left is the as-far-as-I-know “normal” on/off switch.)

Which brings me around to my original thoughts about whether or not I had to get the x0xb0x considering that I already had the Revolution. The jury’s still out on that one, but the large reason I decided to get it was that I couldn’t refuse the price I was offered. No, that doesn’t sound quite right. I got it because of the sound, but I’m still a little in shock at coming across a reasonable deal for a fair amount. In fact, I’m honestly not sure I could tell the two apart in a blind taste test. Also, I have a friend who has and actual TB-303. At some point in the near future I hope to get all three machines together in the same room along with a video camera and my laptop so I can record one of those which-fader-is-the-real-303 videos.

I’ve got to go now, there are hours of squelches I have to get to.

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