This week I am kicking of my Synth Odyssey series with one of the simplest, cutest synths in my collection: the itTyBitty 303 emulating Muon Tau2. It’s the son of one of the very first VSTs ever, the freeware Tau Bassline, and features a single Sawtooth/Square oscillator along with that very familiar 303 layout.
To the right, you will find the Threshold and Level controls that emulate that all important 303 ‘accent’ and squelch generated when the resonance (Q) is cranked. There is also a Glide control that governs portamento (for some bendy action, madam) and a Re-trigger switch which overrides it.
Pretty simple stuff then, but it’s a delightful little guy in action (hello madam). And it’s not just for acid style sounds, in fact it does a mean ‘rubber bass’ (see below) as well as some lovely higher pitched riffs. Later on in this series, I will be covering D16’s Phoscyon which is a more recent emulation featuring a built in sequencer with per step accent controls that has probably surpassed the Tau in ‘authenticity’. But to be honest, I have yet to use the Phoscyon on a released track, while this little guy gets used and abused all over the place.
Let’s hear the baby Tau in action, naked with no effects. Growl…
I start with the Sawtooth for some acid, and tweak that resonance for some 303 shenanigans (gets pretty close to the real article innit?). Then its ‘rubber bass’ time (very little resonance, open envelope), followed by the Square wave which packs much bottom and gets tweaked (hello madam). Finally some Mantronix because why not?
This next little tune is taken from my upcoming debut album. I used the Tau’s Square wave with distortion courtesy D16’s Devastor for a supremely thick and chunky experience!
I think this little one is always going to have a place in the studio because it’s a quick and easy way to get your acid fix without eating a lot of Taco Bell (and costs about as much as a beef burrito and some Pepto).
Wonder what this would have cost in hardware had it come out in the 90s at the height of 303 mania?
From Lost Wars (Phatso Brown Remix). Here I have used the Tau for some hypnotic synth flutterings.
Tau 2 Demo Track by Muon.
Next up, Fabfilter’s One, a single oscillator mono/polysynth.