Zoë Blade's notebook

Roland TR-606

TR-606 tech specs

The TR-606 was an analogue drum machine made by Roland in the early 1980s. It was essentially a cut-down TR-808, with only seven of its sounds present, in simplified form.

The hi-hat has some useful quirks: triggering an open and closed hi-hat at the same time makes a different sound; and the tempo knob affects the open hi-hat's decay length, even if it's externally synced and otherwise ignoring the internal tempo.


The hi-hat's quite good on the 606, you can get quite good feels on it if you know what to do with the hi-hat, what hi-hat players would play, and of course Richard does.

— Chris Heaton, Landscape, 1982[1]

Notable users

Technical notes

The TR-606 uses a 4-bit NEC μPD650 microprocessor, and two NEC μPD444s for a combined 2048 nibbles of RAM.[13]

It can trigger up to eight things at once, seven sounds and one accent: ACcent, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Low Tom, High Tom, CYmbal, Open Hi-hat, and Closed Hi-hat. This suggests each position in the sequence uses 8 bits (2 nibbles). As with the TR-808, this means the one global accent is shared amongst all sounds at once.


  1. "Landscape On The Horizon" Tony Bacon, Music UK, Aug 1982
  2. Aphex Twin studio collage
  3. "Autechre: Techno-logical" Christopher Holder, Sound On Sound, Nov 1997
  4. "Autechre" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Apr 2004
  5. "Stagefright" Ian Boddy, Electronics & Music Maker, Aug 1984
  6. "Past, Present and Future" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Aug 1992
  7. "A Guy Called Gerald" Vie Marshall, Micro Music, Oct 1989
  8. "Voodoo Chile" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Apr 1990
  9. "Kracked Plastik" Roger Brown, The Mix, Dec 1994
  10. "Recording Moby's 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?'" Tom Flint, Sound On Sound, Feb 2000
  11. Key 1999 Tracks: Mr. Oizo — "Flat Beat" Chal Ravens, 2019
  12. "The Orb" Mark Prendergast, Sound On Sound, May 1993






Digital step sequencers: Behringer RD-6 | Roland TB-303 | Roland TR-606 | Roland TR-808

Drum machines: Behringer RD-6 | Novation DrumStation | Roland TR-606 | Roland TR-808 | Roland TR-909