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Welcome to confusedmachines.com
This site will one day detail modifications (mods) to all sorts of electronic instruments. For now however, it documents mods of my Roland TR-606, turning it into a Roland TR-666. The TR-666 is a beast that is part 606, part 808 and part devil.
Basically, as you can see from my pictures, I've added 19 new knobs (one is internal), and a switch to a Roland TR-606 to allow for some pretty smooth or freaky sound control. The new controls are:
BD. Tune, Tone, Decay, Pitch. (also internal max. decay limit)
The knob box is connected to the 606 by way of a 37pin D-shell type connector, so it can be unplugged and plugged in easily. This is a pain in the ass to fit, but makes things much neater, and reduces the need for a cable. You could still use a cable if you needed to.
The low tom is switchable to a kick somewhat like a TR-909 kick. Well, not really, but the pitch is dropped, the hollow tom noise is removed and you can tweak the tune and pitch to get it a hell of lot more aggresive. These controls work when not in '909 mode' also. The high-hats can, based on the decay knob setting sut each other off in reverse, like OHH cuts CHH. Nice..
What does it sound like? Just like these mp3s! (apologies for the complete non-musicalness and poor quality of these files. They are just some mindless tweaking, and the BD through my PC soundcard and speakers sounds way too clicky. It can actually get to a really low 808 like rumble. I'll put up something better when I get some time! - these are all 64kb MP3s)
BD solo - a range of BD sounds
NEW SOUNDS These are encoded at 128kbps for better quality. They're still mindless patterns though!
a better BD solo - good range of BD sounds
Every 4th LED is now bright green to allow easy finding of the 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th 16th in the dark. And, it looks cool too.
Some other mods that are not connected right now will be a three way selectable pitch envelope for the BD, and defeat switches for the hi-hat mods to allow the original sounds to be produced. Just need to add the switches to the knob box.
The machine was bought already modded by Robin Whittle of Real World Interfaces, to have 4 extra banks of memory, as well as individual outs. Very handy indeed.
The mods were heavily based, modified or designed from information and designs found by trawling through the archives of Analogue Heaven, Hyperreal's Music Machines, reverse engineering parts of the 808 schematics, trial and error, my own circuit analysis and importantly, discussing with other people.
Special mention goes to Plutonique9, who actually devised and designed the mod for convering one of the BD oscillators into a feedback stage to allow for BD decay. Thanks for letting me beta test it for you. The decay mod is particularly impressive. It is possible to have a decay that lasts well over two 16 bar patterns at 140bpm. Truly fantastic stuff. p9 is truly the king of 606 modifications, he has devised mods that go well and beyond the normal line of thinking when modding gear such as this. His thoughts and input on my own modifications were truly invaluable, and his posts on AH provided ideas and inspiration for many of my mods. So p9, thanks for all your help and answering my relentless questions!
Just a final note, I'm not looking at doing mods on other people's gear. Sorry. I just don't have the time to do it. I will try to answer any questions you might want to ask however! These mods are quite fiddly, but not difficult. If you know one end of a soldering iron from another, then you will be able to do them.
How to do the mods!
[Disclaimer:] Due to popular demand, I've rushed these mods up quickly, there may be errors in them. If you find any, please let me know asap. It's also been a while since I did these, so some of them I've resuscitated from old notes. They're probably fine, but hey... Just remember, you shouldn't be able to seriously break anything by doing these mods. Keep all your old parts and write down everything you do!
You can drop me a line at mc [at] confusedmachines dot com Any comments welcome!
last update: 12.11.2002