Zoë Blade's notebook

Roland TR-606

TR-606 tech specs

!Roland TR-606

The TR-606 was an analogue drum machine made by Roland in the early 1980s. It's 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[4]

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.[19]

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. "Soho Soundhouse" Soho Soundhouse (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, Oct 1982
  2. "Future Music" Future Music (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, Oct 1982
  3. "Soho Soundhouse" Soho Soundhouse (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, Jan 1986
  4. "Landscape On The Horizon" Tony Bacon, Music UK, Aug 1982
  5. "Aphex Twin studio collage"
  6. "Aural Technology Redefined?" Simon Trask, Future Music, Jan 1995
  7. "Autechre: Techno-logical" Christopher Holder, Sound On Sound, Nov 1997
  8. "Autechre" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Apr 2004
  9. "Stagefright" Ian Boddy, Electronics & Music Maker, Aug 1984
  10. "Past, Present and Future" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Aug 1992
  11. "A Guy Called Gerald" Vie Marshall, Micro Music, Oct 1989
  12. "Voodoo Chile" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Apr 1990
  13. "Kracked Plastik" Roger Brown, The Mix, Dec 1994
  14. Everything Is Wrong Moby, 1995
  15. "Recording Moby's 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?'" Tom Flint, Sound On Sound, Feb 2000
  16. "Key 1999 Tracks: Mr. Oizo — 'Flat Beat'" Chal Ravens, 2019
  17. "The Orb" Mark Prendergast, Sound On Sound, May 1993
  18. House Music... The Real Story Jesse Saunders, 2007, ISBN 1-4241-8994-2
  19. "TR-606 service notes" Roland, Jan 1982






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

Drum machines: Behringer RD-6 | Roland R-8 | Roland TR-606 | Roland TR-808 | Roland TR-909