Roland50 Studio is fun, free and seemingly just getting started

The online groove box environment features simplified interfaces of some of Roland’s iconic instruments.

Roland 808 SH-101

Roland has released Roland50 Studio, providing free access to the sounds of the TR-808 and SH-101 via your web browser.

You may remember Roland’s 808303.studio online groovebox designed by Yuri Suzuki; the free online tool featured branded versions of the TR-808 and TB-303 and was released as part of The Design Museum’s online learning experience to accompany its Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers exhibition.

Now, 808303.studio has been rebooted as Roland50 Studio, with Roland adding an SH-101 emulation to its offerings in commemoration of this year’s 303 Day.

The emulation features the same grid-layout sequencer as the 808 and 303, sporting a simplified interface offering pulse or saw wave oscillators with a sub-oscillator, a low pass filter and one-fader envelope adjustment. It hosts transposition controls, a pitch wheel, portamento, modulation adjustment and even an onboard arpeggiator to replace the sequencer. It’s also possible to change the ‘model colour’.

The 808 has an even simpler interface based around a tempo and shuffle control, while the 303 offers control over the cutoff, resonance, envelope modulation, decay and accenting of its iconic bass sound. Once you’re happy with your jam, you can hit the record button in the top right-hand corner, name your tune and download it as a .mp4 file.

All in all, Roland50 Studio promises masses of fun and potentially a lot of use for producers wanting to jot down beat ideas on the go.

Despite currently only featuring three emulations, four of the Roland50 Studio’s instrument slots currently show a padlock symbol, and clicking on them displays a full-screen countdown. According to the clock, we can expect a new instrument as early as 4 April 2022, and can likely expect further additions to the array of emulations, perhaps a TR-707 or something more off-kilter like the MC-202.

Head to roland50.studio to play with the emulations now and stay up to date with new additions.