Last Updated:
Roland TR-606 (#2)

This is actually my 2nd TR-606

Roland TR-606 and C Y

bulletHave always wanted a 606. I knew years ago that the 606 has guts. Although it has very basic "BEAT BOX" type sounds, the rawness you can get on the 606 is somewhat different, different to a 808. I think the 606 has a punchier tone than the 808.
bulletFinally got a 606, in very good condition, including original box - got it in a music store in Tokyo, Japan. It has Japanese manual...
bulletBack in London, the 606's are still selling strong, exchanging around £85 - £160 on eBay.
bulletI actually got 2 more 606's, these are in London. Both from eBay.
This 2nd 606 has individual outputs fitted, has original Roland bag.
The 3rd 606 was weird - it has an unfitted Kenton KADI mod with it, the previous owner couldn't get to finish the soldering, so i got it, thinking i might probably rackmount it one day.

The original Roland Carrying Case for the TR-606

The 606 inside the carrying case....

bulletThis 2nd 606 already has individual outs, although not very nicely done...

bulletThe case is in fair condition, not A1, not as great as the 1st 606 i got from Japan.

bulletThis 2nd 606, i planned to keep in its original shape  - no rackmounting, no tonal mods.
bulletAlso, somehow on this 606, the keypads are slightly stiff, so i might either exchange the keypads from the 3rd 606 or get new keypads & LEDs...
bulletSo my plan is probably just add MIDI to it - as a working musician, i have to have most of my stuff midi-ed, so that they could be used and recorded by my sequencer on the PC....


The 606 MIDI Kit(s)

There exists (to my knowledge / to date) THREE TR-606 Midi Kits other than the Kenton KADI mod.
bullet Emblab (Canada) - TR-606 Retrofit Kit (Midi606)
Possibly the 1st commercially available Midi-to-Trigger Kit specifically designed for the 606.
However, it is EXTERNAL. NO ACCENT, Fixed Midi Channel and Midi Notes (Non standard mappings).
bullet Analogue Solutions (UK) Internal Drum Midi Kits
Tom C. has finally offer these small Midi Kits for drum machines, since April 2004. The 1st one available is for the TR-606, it fits inside the 606!
Accent for velocity > 80, Assignable Midi Channel, Fixed Midi Notes Mapping, Midi to Sync.
However, it is not cheap, costs
£99 (+VAT)  fitted or £59 (+VAT) for the kit...
bullet Dtronics (Netherlands) - M606 Midi Kit for the TR-606
Another ultra small TR-606 Midi Kit that fits inside the 606.
Accent if velocity = 127, Assignable Midi Channel (via SysEx), Fixed GM Drum Notes Mapping.
Costs only 50 Euros + shipping.

* Early versions might not work with some USB Midi interfaces Midi Outputs
bullet MIDI303 (Vienna) - MIDI606 Midi Interface for the TR-606
Another ultra small TR-606 Midi Kit that fits inside the 606.
Completely Velocity Sensitive.
Or you can use other Midi-to-Trigger units such as ...
bullet Paul Maddox's Modulus Electronics Midi2SDS I/II
bullet EFM Midi Gate (16 Triggers).

PAiA Midi2CV8 as a Drum Trigger unit, expensive solution tho....

bullet Analogue Solutions Concussor MT-16 module
But these probably have to be external.



MIDI / LED Switchboard / Rackmount / MOD
I have yet to decide which Midi Kit to use on this 2nd TR-606.
Also, loads of thoughts and planning still going into the 3rd TR-606 which will be rackmounted one day....
UPDATE 2005/09
After some thoughts... I decided to grab one of those Technology Transplant new Switchboard + LED replacement board for this 606 #2. 
I also wanted to install an Analogue Solutions 606 Midi Kit in this. But in the end I decided maybe I'll keep this 606 non-midi for the time being. The midi kit can goto the rackmount for my 606 #3.
LED Switchboard

Originally I thought, maybe I'll get one of these to get the blue LEDs, and also have new buttons, the ones were a little stiff.  However when I was purchasing the board off chipsforbrain on eBay, they were doing a limited run of UV LED, so this is UV rather than blue!
Also I found that, the stiff buttons wasn't actually a problem of the old switchboard, rather, the panel button holes were to tight, obstructing the button movements.
LED Switchboard replacement can be found on this page: 606 LED Switchboard.



Other Links on the Roland TR-606...

bullet Confused Machine - detailed 606 modding
bullet J's Port23 Site has 606 pages full of mods...
bullet Hyperreal Music Machine has 606 pages full of info, sound samples, mods...
bullet Real World Interfaces (Devil Fish Mods) has some mod info on the 606.
bullet Cyborg Zero's 606 page - you can see what other people have done to their 606s...
bullet Dtronics sells Internal Midi Kits for various Roland/Boss Drum Machines, including the 606 and Boss DR-110. Also has some manuals for download.
bullet Technology Transplant sells remake LED Switchboards, Upper Pots replacements for the TR-606. (You have to get them thru Chipsforbrain on eBay tho).
bullet Analogue Solutions sells loads of mod kits for the TR-606, now also a Midi Kit that fits inside the 606.
bullet MIDI303 - sells Midi Kit for the TR-606, also small internal Midi interfaces for the Roland gears SH-101, MC202, TB-303 !!! Check out the 606 demo video!!



Home Synths

TR-606 606 SwBrd LED

Roland TR-606 Roland TR-909 Boss DR-110 Tama TS-305 Drumfire DF-500 Cheetah MD16RP