What is x0xb0x and how to build your own TB-303 clone
If you are a fan of acid techno music, you might have heard of the legendary Roland TB-303 synthesizer, which was used by many artists to create the distinctive squelchy bass sound. The TB-303 was discontinued in 1984, but its legacy lives on in the form of clones and emulators. One of the most popular and faithful clones is the x0xb0x, a DIY kit that reproduces the original circuitry and features of the TB-303, with some added enhancements.
The x0xb0x (pronounced “zocks box”) is not just another MIDI-controlled TB-303 clone. x0xb0x is a full reproduction of the original Roland synthesizer, with fully functional sequencer. The sequencer can be programmed just like the original 303 (ok its actually a little easier, we think) and can be used to control other synthesizers via any of its various output formats. 128 banks of track memory and 64 banks of pattern memory are stored in onboard EEPROM, no battery-backup is needed!
The x0xb0x was designed by Ladyada, a well-known hacker and maker who runs Adafruit Industries, a company that sells DIY electronics kits and components. The x0xb0x kit includes all parts necessary to build a x0xbox: PCB, case with CNC machined faceplate, components, buttons and knobs, AC adaptor, pre-programmed microcontroller. The only thing you need to supply is your own soldering iron and skills.
However, building a x0xb0x is not an easy task. Many parts are rare and hard to source, and some require careful calibration and tuning. The kit also requires advanced soldering skills and knowledge of electronics. Ladyada has provided detailed instructions and tutorials on her website, as well as a forum where you can ask questions and get help from other x0xb0x builders. There is also a GitHub repository where you can find the source code, schematics, data model and other resources for the x0xb0x project.
If you are up for the challenge and want to build your own TB-303 clone, you can order the PCB set for the x0xb0x kit from Adafruit Industries. The PCB set costs $30.30 USD and includes the mainboard and the I/O board. You will also need to order or source the rest of the components from various suppliers. You can find a complete bill of materials on Ladyada’s website. Be aware that some components are very rare and expensive, so you might have to look for alternatives or substitutes.
Once you have all the parts, you can follow the step-by-step assembly guide on Ladyada’s website. The guide covers everything from soldering the components to testing and troubleshooting the x0xb0x. You will also learn how to program the sequencer and use the different modes and functions of the x0xb0x. You can also customize your x0xb0x with different colors, knobs, LEDs and mods.
Building a x0xb0x is a rewarding and fun experience for anyone who loves acid techno music and DIY electronics. You will end up with a unique and powerful synthesizer that sounds just like the original TB-303, but with more features and possibilities. You will also join a community of x0xb0x enthusiasts who share their tips, tricks, tracks and mods online. So what are you waiting for? Transistorize the world with your own x0xb0x!