Zoë Blade's notebook


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[5]

Maybe the weakest [kick drum] in the industry. When I play in clubs, the difference between "Flat Beat's" kick and some new-school song is crazy, but it's part of the charm of this tune. It was really homemade. I never got round to doing a proper mixdown!

— Quentin Dupieux (Mr. Oizo), 2019[6]

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.[4]

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, p. 27
  2. "Future Music" Future Music (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, Oct 1982, p. 29
  3. "Soho Soundhouse" Soho Soundhouse (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, Jan 1986, p. 42
  4. "TR-606 service notes" Roland, Jan 1982
  5. "Landscape On The Horizon" Tony Bacon, Music UK, Aug 1982, pp. 18—23
  6. "Key 1999 Tracks: Mr. Oizo — 'Flat Beat'" Chal Ravens, 2019
  7. "Polygon Window" Polygon Window, Surfing on Sine Waves, 1992
  8. "Aphex Twin studio collage"
  9. "Teenage Kicks" Phil Ward, Music Technology, Oct 1993, pp. 18—19
  10. "Aural Technology Redefined?" Simon Trask, Future Music, Jan 1995, pp. 51—53
  11. "Autechre: Techno-logical" Christopher Holder, Sound On Sound, Nov 1997
  12. "Autechre" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Apr 2004
  13. "In the Studio With Biosphere" Headphone Commute, Jan 2021
  14. "Stagefright" Ian Boddy, Electronics & Music Maker, Aug 1984, pp. 66—67
  15. "Beat Dis" Mike Collins, Sound On Sound, Jun 1991, pp. 24—30
  16. "Past, Present and Future" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Aug 1992, pp. 61—66
  17. "A Guy Called Gerald" Vie Marshall, Micro Music, Oct 1989, pp. 75—76
  18. "Voodoo Chile" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Apr 1990, pp. 50—54
  19. "Kracked Plastik" Roger Brown, The Mix, Dec 1994, pp. 110—114
  20. "Heaven 17" Mark Jenkins, Electronic Soundmaker & Computer Music, Nov 1983, pp. 16—18
  21. "Interview: Originals... Kurtis Mantronik" 909 Originals, Aug 2020
  22. Everything Is Wrong Moby, 1995
  23. "Recording Moby's 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?'" Tom Flint, Sound On Sound, Feb 2000
  24. "The Orb" Mark Prendergast, Sound On Sound, May 1993, pp. 28—34
  25. Obsessive Surrealism Parallel Worlds, 2007
  26. Shade Parallel Worlds, 2009
  27. "Parallel Worlds Studio"
  28. House Music... The Real Story Jesse Saunders, 2007, ISBN 1-4241-8994-2, pp. 55—57






Digital step sequencers: MS-1 | RD-6 | SH-101 | TB-303 | TR-606 | TR-808

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

Roland: DCB | JV-1080 | Juno-6 | Juno-106 | MC-4 | MC-8 | MPU-101 | R-8 | SH-101 | SN-R8 series | SN-U110 series | SO-PCM1 series | SR-JV80 series | System-100 | System-100M | TB-303 | TR-606 | TR-808 | TR-909 | U-110 | VP-330 | W-30