Bass Bot TT-303 MK2 Modifications

fresh from the workbench
diverse mods and a bit of syncussion kick (all post processed)
rough map of various sections

Been curious for quite a while, especially with this thread in the back of my mind, so eventually went for a second hand Cyclone Analogic TT-303 MK2. Below are some initial modification descriptions, and the info will graually be fine-tuned and expanded.

This page is an *open-source* DIY project, meant for 303 aficionados with a Bass Bot and interest in moding it. I have no great ambition in doing A/B binges with other machines nor in weird trench fights. AFAIK commercial mods are planned/offered by Robin Whittle and Midnight Engineering.

As usual, the xoxbox wiki was very helpful, as were various threads. When doing these mods check, then double check, and as always, there might be typos/mistakes, and I’m more than happy to receive pointers to improving this page!

If you like this stuff, think about donating a little bit to a charity helping refugees.

Some general info

The revision I have is R2V1.3, designed by Rezonance Labs in 2016. CPU is an STM82S207-R8T6, with a 14174 hex flip flop interfacing 1v/oct and slide/accent switching. PSU features a sumida coil (not knowledgabel here, sorry). Slide, Accent, (and I think Hammer and Mute also) are done via 4066 IC switches. VCA is a discrete BA662 replacement. Headphone amp is a LA4140 (with a dedicated +6V supply rail). There are three trimmers: cutoff, resonance, and +5.33v regulator. I really like the sound of that thing and its sequencer is great fun!

Placing Controls

The MK2 is a tad tight, but there is space on the side panels and on teh follwoing pics you see areas marked under which the PCB is not too busy.

PCB and chassis superimposed
areas in black squares offer space for additional components

VCO

VCO SECTION

Some notable aspects before turning to mods: the VCO on the TT303 has an auto-tuning feature (seems TM4 and TM5 euqivalents to teh TB303 are IC11 and IC15, which are digipots). Q3 (equivalent of TB-303 Q8) is an 2SA812-M7, i.e. high hfe transistor. Most notably, VCO and audio in are buffered per opamp (IC2) before entering the VCF.

buffer stage before VCF

Square PW adjustment: R19 (22k) replaced by trimmer/resistor. I settled on 25k as a replacement but you might find other values nice(r). NB hollower square = less volume on square.

unmodded square wave
First ex-factory, then R19 bumped up to 32K
R19 with 25K

1V/OCT CV Input: tested with erica black sequencer, works! Pitch CV that tracks 1V/Oct can be fed to the left hand terminal (facing away from IC7). No resistor is needed, but NB that wiring a CV input directly does not offer any protection against potential hazards, so using a simple op-amp buffer (gain x1) makes absolute sense.

TT303 sequenced (CV and Gate) with Erica Black Sequencer
why not do a bit of xmod? 🙂

SLIDE time: slide is analogue, with Q15 and IC5 regulating the on/off-switching. Since you can set the slide time on the TT303 per software as well as manually engage slide when playing a pattern, I am not very interested in pursuing a mod here at the moment.

VCF

VCF mod loacations

Pre-filter overdrive: On the TT303 MK2, there is no exact equivalent to TB303-R62 (220k). After the wave select switch, signal passes R13 (22k) and R14 (100k), then goes via the VCF switched in socket through R22 (100k) and C9 (1uf) to the filter. Now, the classic TB303 mod of reducing one resistor doesn’t really work here. Eventually, I just went for bridging R13+R14 with a 1m pot, but this does not give you strong overdrive, just works conveniently for level compensation and some crunch.

For the audio demos below I went a different route and put a 1m pot +10k resistor in series between C7 and C9. Now, that’s some vrooommm…

Pre-filter overdrive

One side effect of going the C7/c) route is that you can also mix the internal VCO with external sound sources (normally, plugging a jack into the filter in socket silences the internal VCO). There’s always a bit of internal VCO signal, so this may need a tad optimization, but works well if you don’t want to use an external mixer.

internal vco and external vco mixed

FFM from VCA: anode C66 via 100nf capacitor and 1m pot + 20k resistor in series to base Q27. C66 picks up a bit of hum on headphones, not so much on line out. Might need to improve that. Also weird: as I know this mod from other machines, a 250k potentiometer would be sufficient to conmpletely cancel FFM when turned fully counterclockwise, yet here, even 500k is not enough – maybe tapping the wrong capacitor…?

ffm from vca
and ffm from vco

FILTER CUTOFF CV INPUT: input jack via diode and 100k resistor to base of Q27. As always with 303-based circuits, this may be a tad unexpected since filter cutoff is not referenced against 0V, so there’s some offset. Yet, I find it useable enough and have it installed on mine.

external adsr on cutoff

FILTER CUTOFF KEYFOLLOW: this one is one of my current faves. Tap the internal pitch CV output at the anode of D3 (the terminal facing R31) and feed it through a 1m pot and a resistor in series. With a resistor value of 100k you get 1v/oct tracking of the filter cutoff, but I like an even steeper spread, so I use 33k. Feed you keytrack CV to the base of Q27.

bit of crunche and keyfollow
toying with keyfollow

Lower cutoff: use trimmer.

Increased/decreased resonance: use trimmer.

VCA

VCA mod points labelled

VCA CRUNCH: remove R129 (220k = TB303-R128). This raises the output volume of teh VCA and on louder/accented notes, you get a wee bit of crunch. Without R129 the timbre is quite a bit brighter, right?

R129 in, R129 out
R129 out, R129 in – both normalized

Bass Boost: augment C35 and C36 by 100nf each. Will probably not implement this, but here is how it sounds:

bass boost on, bass boost off

VCA CV INPUT: Input jack socket goes via 47k resistor to the VCA_CTRL test point just above the mode selector rotary switch. 100k for your resistor would conform to Eurorack “standard” and also work well, yet I find 47k gives me better results for audio rate AM.

external adsr on vca
and some audio-rate amplitude modulation

AM from VCO: the MK2 has a VCA-CTRL test point, which is just under the accent control. Fed the VCO output from anode C7 via a 1m pot and 20k resistor in series to the VCA_CTRL test point– makes the Tt303 quite loud!

VCO moulates VCA (20k resistor in between)

ENVELOPES

Various Envelope-related mod loactions
Accent resistors/caps- switching IC is somewhere else (see slide/vco section)

Variable VCA decay: R126 (1,5M) replaced by potentiometer/switch. When R126 is at zero, only accented notes will sound.

Change minimum envelope decay time: R84 (68k) bridged/replaced by resistor. IMO this makes sense in conunjunction with variable accent decay.

switches between 68k and bridged

Increase ENV AMOUNT: the ENV amount you can dialling in on the TT303 is relatively moderate, so increasing the maximum amount might be what you’re after (I keep mine as is). For doing so, reduce the value of R75 (220k = TB303-R63). Here’s a comparison with an additional 330k resistor in series with R75.

More envelope amount

BYPASS ENV & ACC on VCF: bridging R70 (2.2k) switches any modulation amount by envelope an accent to the VCF off.

env&acc on/off

ENV SLEW: this is one of the tinkerings I “developed” for the TD3 and I like it here too. Put a 2.2uf capacitor between ENV AMOUNT POT PIN2 and ground via switch. On lower ENV amount settings this makes your envelope go bwoww.

filter env slew

Variable ACCENT decay time: 500k potentiometer between D6 and D7. Not yet tested.

ACCENT slew: not to be confused with the legendary accent sweep time mod. Put a 1uf-4.7uf cap between the cathode of D16 and ground via a switch. When engaged, this draws out the effect of accent on the filter, with subsequent non-accented notes wobbling. Sounds like this (2.2uf cap in example):

Accent slew
and another one

Gate ON forever: tie D10 cathode to +12V (at PSU section) via switch.

VCA ON forever: tie D13 cathode +12V (at PSU section) via switch. Alternatively, take +6V from the PSU test point via a 10k resistor and connect it to the VCA ACC IN test point above C51.

VCA ON + ENV BYPASS together

ENV Retrigger (not yet tested): momentary +12V (less should work too?) to cathode D5. Used when gate on forever is engaged to retrigger the main (VCF) envelope.

Gate Input: new gate in socket via diode and 22k resistor to base Q33.

PSU SECTION

larger part of the psu section

Note the +6V (headphone amp supply) and +12V test points available for tapping. R172 is the equivalent of TB303-R172, but tbh I’m no very much interested in tinkering with PSU starve mods here. TM3 is for adjusting the +5.33V rail.

and some shaky schvideo