Synth Site: future retro: revolution: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Steve Porter a professional user from Urmston writes:
Got bored and tired of my Revolution, sold it to pay for a couple of tranny's to come round our flat. Imagine the suprise of our record label manager when I tried to bill him for my frolics....

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jan-16-2008 at 17:44
Soundwave a hobbyist user from Cybertron writes:
Well I got my shiny new Revolution today which was thrown into a head to head battle against my mate's original TB303!

First the waveforms although similar sound much clearer on the Rev with more harmonics in the hi end than on the 303 which sounds a little muddy and low-fi in comparison however the 303 does sound warmer as a result. The filters are almost identical but with a much more extended range on the Rev (similar to a Devilfish303), both have that liquid hi end sweetness but the Rev does seem a little more sparkle probably due to the higher harmonics in the waveforms and cleaner signal path. The only criticism of the Rev is that the amount of range on the cutoff knob isn’t as wide in that acidic sweet spot as on the real 303 so around 90 degrees of movement on a 303’s knob is the same as about 40 degrees on the Rev but this is again due to the Rev's extended frequency range but maybe a more logarithmic response on the knob would be more desirable but this is really isn't a major problem if a problem at all. The accent is very similar on both machines however there is a slight amount of clipping induced on the 303 when cranked up full which isn't quite the same on the more cleaner more stable sounding Revolution. Its this subtlety is where the Rev maybe just (and only just) falls short as it gives the 303 a little more punch in this area. It's a shame the overdrive on the Rev is either on or off as a subtle amount would be just enough to make them on par, perhaps putting the Rev though a stomp box could remedy this. On a whole it seems the sound parameters on the Rev have a bigger range in all areas than the original 303 which overall gives it a slightly wider sound pallet. Its almost like the Rev has an more open clean hi-fi like sound next to the 303 which is more dirty/lo-fi in character, this is not to say one’s better than the other as they both carry as much analogue clout just in slightly different flavours.

What you don't get on a TB303; The Rev’s sequencer wins hands down not only for ease of use but for versatility as it outputs both MIDI and CV which makes it useful for hooking up with the new and the old. Owing from the Mobius/777 heritage there is also an excellent remix feature with 256 variations on any pattern just using two knobs. I circular layout and cool neon blue flashing LED's is a refreshing and unique approach to the groovebox concept and while some find it confusing (blurred my arse) I personally found it very innovative, usable and really comes into its own when chaining patterns on the fly. I've tried many different groovebox style sequencers and I can honestly say this is probably the best monophonic realtime sequencer I've used, I didn't even have to read the manual to get dug in and its certainly versatile enough to be used in a performance scenario. The Rev's sequencer is in another league to the 303's which I personally find very arcane to use and nowhere near as much fun in fact I don't think I'm the only one to say the 303's sequencer can be called anything but fun to program. The on board overdrive is cleverly connected with the resonance so the volume is consistent at high and low settings (Devilfish?)and has a nice grungy analogue bite which comes into its own with the decay accent knob its just a shame there isn’t a more variable control just on and off. The filter audio and CV in is great for integrating with other synths and I can't wait to buddy the Rev up with my Pulse+. On that note the keytracking CV doubles as an external CV amount and together with the decay accent control give the Rev more scope than just a simple bassline synth. The DSP FX are a joke on a serious bit of kit like this and apart from adding a little depth when listening on headphones its pretty much a waste of front panel space, it's the first thing to get ripped out when the warrantee's up. The build quality is solid but the knobs are slightly wobbly and I think the unit could have been made a little smaller but this is an American so bigger is better, it certainly doesn't look out of place next to a TR909 and you know there's plenty of room under there for modifications.

I think the sequencer is almost worth the money alone but purist will argue about the sound not being exactly the same as a real 303 but the Rev’s sound is a little more than convincing in most areas has bags of acidic charm and does a whole lot more besides. The 777 was criticised about not having the hi end sweetness of a real 303 yet did tons more and as a result is now more desirable than a real 303 since its been discontinued. The Revolution excels where the 777 didn't quite reach and will no doubt become just as desirable in the future hence ‘Future Retro’.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-May-19-2007 at 15:59
analog nutjob a professional user from uk writes:
I think the revolution is a good machine but it is not as good as the real tb303,and all the hype about the circular design is in fact just that....hype. Circular design???makes it easier to program????what on earth is all that about??? I prefer the method of programming the 303 because alot of the time you just key in semi random notes and hit glide and accent at random points and the machine just comes up with something groovy,not so with the revolution you have to select each note and then adjust the pitch of each note in the bar until you get something that is good,it is time consuming and not as randomm as the 303.

The sound is close to the 303 but not the same and the overdrive feature sounds like a cheap stomp box distortion.

The revolution does sound good though and can make some great sounds and grooves similar to the 303 but for what you will pay for a revolution you can get a 303.

Would I buy the revolution again???I have to say a big NO to that one.I would get a real 303. Save your cash and buy a real 303 because it destroys the revolution it is just more liquid sounding and wet. The pots on the revolution are poo poo and the overall feel of the machine is not exactly good,the blue leds are good but in no way does it make it easier to program stuff up in fact it hinders it. As the led circles around to show you what beat it is on iyt is the same colour blue as the led so you cannot really see where about it is in the circular fashion,I think it would be a good idea to have the led change colour to indicate whwere it is in the circular 16 beats. I emailed future retro suggesting this but they did not even reply...i guess they think they know best when really they should listen to the people who are using the kit.

Never again Future retro....enjoy my 600 quid.

Rating: 1 out of 5 posted Friday-Sep-15-2006 at 10:40
sjmojo a professional user writes:
a great product and graphic design!!but sadly it doesn't has a tempo knob!!!pressing up/down while holding the tempo button is a silly work! but the sound is good,though imo not as good as the real tb,but near,and adding the analog overdrive made it scream.i gigged w/ it once and everyone focused on it and asked me what the fxxk it is!!!:P

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-12-2005 at 12:58
Sneaky Alien a professional user from UK writes:
I Recieved my Revolution Synth and have spent 48 hours with it and can make a good review of it. This machine in short is awesome!!!it nails the famous 303 sound but also nails the all important sequencer which gives the original 303 its groove,in short it sounds and grooves just like the real deal but it also has many more tricks up its analogue sleeves. The method of programming this beauty is so simple I did not even need to look at the manual because the features are all laid out so simply in front of you in a circular fashion which really does make you look at what your doing in a more musical way.You can jump in and out of sequence edit mode while the machine is playing so you can edit sequences on the fly and then jump right out and do somthing else without stopping and starting the sequencer. One of the most outstanding features of this machine I think is the remix feature; put simply if you put a pattern in and don't like the outcome then just rotate the two remix dials and it will rejuggle the notes you have put in and totally twist them into a new groove whilst still retaining the essence of what you put in in the first place.....very very inspirational.

the overdrive feature makes this thing sound like a devil fish 303 and can screech like a madman on acid.

You can feed the headphone socket output back into the synth for some crazy sounds and the CV and Gates allow me to control my roland system 100 too. The machine also has some in built effects which are good and can be utilised to good effect but really the machine stands up without them but its good that they have been included.The Revolution is true anlogue and all its sound is analogue generated except obviously the effects processor which is DSP based.

Conclusion:- I would swap a real 303 for this machine anyday question... period!!!!There is no question about it or i would sell the 303 now and buy this with the money and probably have a couple of hundred pounds left,trust me this machine really is that good. I could not put this machine down over the weekend and it makes analogue love with my 909 via its in built din sync output. All in all this synth is another awesome machine from the Boy Genius Jerod at Future Retro and I think it is destined to become a classic and used to assault dance floors all over the world. Oh he even included a free future retro T-Shirt. Keep up the great work Future Retro I look forward to other products from you. In fact I think I will be ordering the Mobious sequencer for my sh101 very soon.

Without question a 5 out of 5 for sheer brilliance in design,build quality(it arrived from the states all in one piece) and most important its sound.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Feb-07-2005 at 05:44
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