Really cool synth! It’s too bad it doesn’t have a built in speaker and battery so it can be a mobile unit also, but maybe not enough people use it that way to be worth it. It would also be cool if you could choose between instruments on it, like you can on garage band for example but plugging it into my MacBook allows basically that. All in all happy.
I took a chance. This device is topshelf. Surprise!
Excellent experience. Unit came in timely manner and sounds great. Much happier with this than the TD-3. Only improvement for future models would be more legible button text and if possible closer to the button it partials to. Great Job though!
It works like described
It's fun to play with. Cool bass synth.
So let me start out by saying that this WILL get you the classic 303 sound. Purists might not appreciate the way the slide works with accents but 95% of the rest of the world will never know the difference. The ability to play it as a synth is a godsend, and the sequencer is good (but not great.) The distortion is lovely and while some reviewers on YT have shrugged at the delay, it has a lo-fi quality that I *really* appreciate. Unlimited feedback would be better, but it gets the job done and has a good character.
My issue with the sequencer isn't ease of use--it is the easiest 303 clone I've programmed since the FR-777 back in the early aughts. My issue is that you can't set pattern lengths--and I believe this is something that could be fixed with a firmware update. I have some ideas that require 3/4 or 6/8 time signatures, and I can only accomodate that with the B1 by creating a phrase and sampling it to my Digitakt. This isn't ideal. So for those songs I use my TD-3 MO.
The pattern length thing is literally the only thing keeping this from a 5* review. I really really like this piece of kit!
I really like the sound, build quality, ease of use! I'm pleasantly surprised!
Cheap, reliable, analog acid. Really fun to play with, the on the fly ability to trigger gate etc with button presses while it’s actively playing is a great feature. If you’re looking to dip your toes into acidic waters this might just be what you need to get going without a big financial commitment.
Great product very fun to use and high quality!
Great synth! Sounds great and very easy to use. The first one I ordered arrived broken, but customer service got back to me right away and sent a new one the next day. Awesome product and awesome service!
This B1 is just so great sounding and an excellent way to learn about analog synths and sequencers. I am using it alone for sequences and also using the MIDI out for sequences on my B2600. It also pairs up well with effects pedals if you have any to create electronic soundscapes.
Great fun and amazing riffs
A absolute, stunning, tiny instrument of joy. Rich and fat. I wish you made matching midi floor pedals so i could play it with my feet for live shows. The sound is thick. I love to write a short loop sequence and run it through my pedal board. It's amazing to sit and make music with it!! 5 stars out of five!! Oh yes, the fact it's a incredible bargain helps too!!
This sound incredible. And it looks great. Glad I bought it, hope I got a good price. Donner would know!
The synthesizer worked great. No complaints on the sound quality. I just wish that you had a sequencer program in plug-in form so I can control the slides and accents more easily in my DAW
The sequencer is awesome
D. W. H.
It's like a Behringer TD-3, which is a replica of the Roland TB-03 bass synthesizer. This Donner version does not suffer from the "unfriendly" user interface like the original does. I have a Behringer TD-3 also and it is an exact replica of the original TB-03 right down to the tedious programming of notes.
The Donner B1 is more "friendly" and can be learned by using its display which the Roland and the Behringer do not have.
Excellent very easy to edit but wish the software had more features to control it is a bit flaky but manageable, I did notice one thing the distortion switch cuts off my rhythm and then comes back to normal dont know if this is a glitch in Donner hardware but again thank you for shipping this product to my home, cheers!! keep up the great work with more products like this and affordable!!!
Really fantastic little synth. I was impressed by everything about it for the price - the build quality, the sound, the features (including the software editor which is a nice touch). Can do everything from subtle basslines to full-on Josh Wink.
Still wrapping my head around this awesome piece of gear! True, other synths offer more, but I find that having some limitations breeds creativity. And the B-1 does way more than it should for the price! Great purchase!
When I first saw this on YouTube, it was being billed as a "TB-303 clone" of sorts. But the truth is, this goes further than Roland's little silver box (or their three or four "we're not going to reissue it" versions). For one thing, this has something that makes sense as a user interface. The keyboard pads actually do double-duty by being visual feedback for various types of poking around with sequencing, the knob layout is very clean and direct, and the overall design is just a lot more user-friendly than the OG. For instance, you have a number of easily-accessible buttons that replace the unintuitive 303's function buttons...and the B1 actually adds a few tricks to the 303 sound. Ratcheting? Yes, please!
But the SOUND...is it what we all expect? Well, yes...in more ways than one. For example, the original 303 didn't have the most linear "glide" behavior...and amazingly, Donner's replicated even that and some other Roland "mistakes" that actually play a part in the classic acid sound. Now THAT is detail...and it's a detail that a lot of the 303 clone companies miss to varying extents. The fact is that if you want that sound, you also want Roland's "mistakes" which help that sound...and it's all here. But when you kick this thing on and put it through its paces...oh, myyyyy...it's 1987 and time for "Washing Machine" all over again!
Oh, yeah...MIDI...I almost forgot that since I'm not used to thinking about MIDI when it comes to the TB-303. But the B1 goes WAY past the original by having MIDI out AND in. You could clock the B1 with your DAW (it likes a number of different sync signals) and then have the B1's sequencer feed a VSTi in the DAW.
But why would you do that? If this were Yet Another 303 Knockoff, I'd say, sure...sequencer's right, sound's wrong, or vice-versa. But the B1 has THE SOUND...all of the nasty growl (especially when you jack up the distortion!), squeal and howl, and so forth, just as you'd expect. That distortion circuit was, I think, a good choice...it meshes with that near-industrial acid sound and pushes it one step further into the acid lead that you'd expect...only you DON'T have to pay $3,000+ to get it now!
Oh, and it's got a delay. Acid lines sound great with that effect, and Donner seems to have thought ahead there. Sound-wise, the delay isn't as aggressive as you might think, but if you're out doing a DAWless gig, it's excellent to have that right there and ready to go. Again, Donner seems to have done their homework on what the TB-303 needed to have.
But the B1's not quite perfect. There's two things I'd like to see in a firmware revision, one of which a Donner rep said on (I think?) Gearspace will probably be in the next update: randomization. This is actually far more important with a TB-303 clone than one might think. Some of the most amazing tracks from the heyday of the acid house scene were written by taking the 303's batteries out, then putting them back in. This would scramble the sequencer...but in ways that could be prodded into more solid lines, or in a few cases, nothing further was needed. So being able to "take the batteries out" on the B1 is, I think, a must for any proper TB-303 redux.
The other thing I'd love to see, which wasn't an acid thing but which loads of other synthesists would go bonkers over, would be a way to kill the VCO's output. Since the B1 has an "audio in", switching the VCO off would let you use the instrument as a sequenced filter. Like I note, this wasn't exactly part of the original Roland 303, but it was a mod that some users could do, along with some other trickery with the "voice" such as FM, VCO doubling, and the like (think "Devilfish mod" here). Although, given the sound that you get from the B1, I think it shows its heritage just fine without extensive mods to the audio path beyond that one "VCO off" trick.
So it holds up against its progeny just fine...but against the other 303 clones? Well, as I mentioned, pretty much all of the clones miss a detail or two that winds up altering the sound. And some of that, I'm sure, is due to companies copying the circuitry itself and then calibrating things to sound "good". But the TB-303 DOESN'T "sound good" when up against a "real synth"...and Donner nailed that nasty, skittery, squealy, snarly distorted sound...which is a really big feat, in my opinion. Add to that the ease of programming the sequencer, and you're in a little better territory than the other clones that tried and didn't quite hit that early 1980s mark.
Oh, yeah...one other point: the software. Software? For a 303?
Yep, software...and it fixes the worst part of the original: dealing with that damnable, obtuse TB-303 sequencer to write and play patterns. With the B1's simple software, you can write sequences, transfer them via USB (yeah, it's got USB!) to the box, and there you are! Didn't like the ninth note in that line? OK, just go back and move it via MIDI...no gnashing of teeth due to having to re-enter things again. And that's another point about the sequencer here...if you ARE forced by circumstances to alter specific notes in some way, it's NOT a total gig-killing disaster. Need glide on the fourth note? Well...just add it right then and there. Put in a new sequence? Yeah...it'll take a few minutes of button-poking, but you're never in a situation where you're utterly, totally stuck.
So...for those who want a TL;DR on this, I've got to say that the B1 is the thing you or I or ANYONE who wants to get that awesome acid sound have been waiting for. Took 40 years...but the Acid Box is back! And, to be honest, it's BETTER! No need to scrape up...hmmm, lemme look at Reverb...ok, about $4,000 for the little plastic original. Just hand Donner what's in your change jar and wait for delivery. And THAT is the best part of all!
BASS! Great sound and the distortion and delay take it over the top. Sync in? Yeah. Full MIDI specs, yep!
I’m betting an analogue drum machine is next. Take my money, Donner!
This is a fun little synth. It doesn’t try to be a direct TB-303 clone, but it’s sonically much closer to a TB-303 than some of the more expensive clones. The Arp and Ratchet functions are handy and the delay and overdrive are usable.
It is easier to figure out than some other 303 clones (not that any of them are very challenging). It has some features that are unique so it's worth getting one even if you have other brands.
This is quite a handy piece of equipment for not a lot of money - build quality and sound quality is very good - nothing in the price range is better and that includes the Behringer equivalent.
Great first crack at a synth, I hope they stay at it. I'd love to see support for modding for USB power!
The synth itself is quite nice but the documentation is minimal, lacking examples, and the English is not well translated. The software has similar issues and is not intuitive. But still, you get a well made Reason style bass synth with sequencer for $152, not bad! I wish it had a rechargable battery with Ni-MH or Lithium batteries.
This synthesizer sounds good, for what it is, and the controls are usable. Overall, it's a decent little live performance synth.
What it lacks is any sort of MIDI automation for the parameters: there's no way to encode things like filter settings or even volume to MIDI CCs so you can sequence them. So this ends up being a very limited device, in terms of MIDI functionality. You can sequence the raw notes, but nothing else.
This would be a 5-star device if the controllers generated and used MIDI CCs. As it is, it's a decent synth for noodling, but I'll never use it in production because it's just too limited.
Pretty limited in what you can do with it. Two waveforms and no way to store presets. No midi control of the synth parameters. So basically no way to really make use of this in a MIDI sequencer environment.
A very good product. Fast delivery, well packaged！
best analogsynth in it's price range