The TR-606 is a drum machine which Roland manufactured from 1981 to 1983. It was designed to be used together with the TB-303 Bassline so as to be able to reproduce a drummer and bass player for guitarists without backing bands.
It sold a fair few units (around 30000 apparently), but wasn't very popular amongst guitarists because the drum sounds weren't too realistic. All the sounds in the 606 are generated with analog technology - noise sources and voltage controlled filters. The kind of sounds created by this technology aren't realistic, but kind of electro/retro sounding.
When house and techno arrived in the mid-80s, musicians were looking for cheap gear which could make decent sounds, and the 606 was a perfect choice. Because guitarists didn't like the non-realistic sounds, they were only too happy to get rid of their 606s for a couple of dollars to kids who could really use them.
Now the 606 has become a basic tool for many electronic musicians, including Autechre, Aphex Twin, Plastikman, and Nine Inch Nails. Its excellent programming interface, bouncy sounds and small size make it an ideal machine for "just banging out patterns".
- 32 patterns
- 1-16 steps per pattern
- 8 tracks (7 of 64 patterns, 1 of 256 patterns)
- tempo knob (approx. 40bpm - 300bpm)
- main volume knob
- instrument mix knobs (bass drum, snare drum, low/high toms, cymbal,
- main mix output (mono jack)
- headphone output (stereo jack)
- low tom trigger output (minijack, +14V 20ms pulse)
- high tom trigger output (minijack, +14V 20ms pulse)
- dinsync input/output
- run/stop input (jack)