The Roland TR-606 Drumatix is a programmable analog synthesis drum machine built by the Roland Corporation from 1981 to 1984. It was originally designed to be used with the Roland TB-303, a monophonic analog bass synthesizer, to provide a simple drum and bass accompaniment to guitarists without backing bands.
The TB-303 and TR-606 launched in 1981 as a matched pair to provide solo artists the chance to practice without other individuals, solely using the TR-606 and TB-303 as drums and bass lines to practice to, but the programming and artificial sounds made the boxes uncomfortable to use and they soon lost their luster. The group was doomed to an early demise as popular music soon shifted to sampled drum sounds and real bass lines for hit songs, as sample capabilities were the newest development of the late 1980s. At one time, the TR-606 could be found in pawn shops for as little as US$50; since the resurgence in popularity of analog drum sounds for electronic music, however, the TR-606 will commonly sell for US$400 to US$500.
The TR-606 has six synthesized sounds: Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Hi Tom, Lo Tom, Cymbal and Open/Closed Hi Hat.
Accent level control and sync jack (not MIDI) for bass synth
An additional function labeled accent serves to modify the volume of the entire drum mix on a given beat. This allows, for example, a louder beat 4 in a simple drum pattern: boom-chik, boom CHIK. There is no "swing" parameter on the TR-606. The output is mono.
The Lo Tom and Hi Tom tracks have outputs to trigger an external sound source.
When the closed and open hihat are played together, a 3rd hihat sound emerges.
When the trigger output is in use, the corresponding internal sound still functions normally. The tom track could be employed, for example, to trigger a kick drum synth module as the Scientific Americans did.