TB-3 Editor (v2.19) with Patch Librarian


After many late nights and early mornings I finally got the patch save and recall functions added to the TB-3 editor panel. Now you can save your sound creations to the computer and create a library of sounds that you can share with others. And whenever you’re ready, you can reload the patch into the TB-3 and it will be exactly as you left it. Since you can save them to your computer, it means you don’t have to use the 16 user presets to store your creations, you can just load them into machine whenever you’re ready. It also means that you can load patches into the TB-3 without touching the front panel or sending program change.

In this version, supported midi CC’s are also included in the MISC tab, like scatter type/depth, the mod sources, volume, and more. This version also fixes a few minor bugs and improves the layout logically and visually. I also was able to successfully pull up the panel as a VST in Ableton, so you can also integrate it into your DAW. Here are some screenshots from the pages that have been changed:

misc tab

The MISC tab contains the control change parameters, patch save & load methods, and various other settings.

also works on Mac

CTRLR is cross-platform, so it will work on your Mac too.

Also functions as a plugin in Ableton or other DAWs.

main sound editing tab

The sound tab has been reorganized into more logical sections.

This is the culmination of many years of study, work, and testing on both the software and hardware sides, and I’m really happy that it now allows users to save an unlimited archive of sounds to their computer, which can then in turn be shared with other users. I had already been using my own version of patch save and load, but this is actually even easier for me to use because I can save incremental patches as I’m programming with just the click of a button, whereas before, I had a process to save it to my sequencer which was much more time consuming. I’m also excited because this should open up this synth to the world so that everyone else can see what it is about this machine that I think is so great. Hope you enjoy it!

A few quick notes about how the machine and the software works. First, when you are scrolling through presets or user patches and push receive, the cutoff, resonance, and accent will default to the values set on the front panel. When you save or load a patch though, they will be saved and updated correctly. So always make sure you set these three values when you’re ready to save a patch. Second, as is noted on the page, always press the receive button before initiating a save or load procedure to ensure your panel reflects all the latest values. At this time, check your cutoff, resonance, and accent values as above to make sure they are like you want. That’s why I’ve outlined them in red, so you know that they act a bit differently than the rest of the parameters. I also discovered that the RING parameter in the OSC TUNE section controls the tuning of the sine wave as well as the ring modulator and that the level needs to be high to get the ring modulator really “cooking”, so if you want to use the SIN wave as a sub bass oscillator, don’t crank up the ring modulator tuning as their settings are dependent on each other, for whatever reason.

And for those who are really detail-oriented, here are the new features, improvements, and bug fixes in this version (2.19):

      • patch save / load via sysex files
      • added CC parameters 1, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 68, 69, 71, 74, 102, 103, & 104
      • the “CV offset” section was renamed “OSC TUNE”
      • moved patch volume to VCO section, moved LFO CV offset to LFO section, and moved “Tuning” CC parameter to OSC TUNE section
      • small design color tweaks for cutoff, resonance, accent, & patch volume
      • saw and sqr CV offset and patch volume were being misassigned during parameter assignment (fixed VST IDs)
      • changed colors for “polarity” button in ring mod FX1 & FX2
      • added info to Ring Mod in OSC TUNE section to indicate it also controls the tuning of the SINE oscillator
      • lots of layout improvements






Cirklon in the corner

After three and a half years of being on a waiting list, I got my Cirklon Feb 2 last year. This sequencer has a reputation as perhaps the best sequencer available, but is almost pure unobtanium due to recurrent production halts at Sequentix. And the last I checked, the waiting list remains more than two years long and the price still sky-high ($2265 with wooden end cheeks and no CVIO for me),  and yet, I can’t use it. For me, there are many reasons why I can’t yet integrate it into my current workflow.

Legacy MPC at the Center

I use an MPC for sequencing, first with a 2000XL and since 2016 or so a 2500 with JJOS. I have an all-hardware setup and I produce for the studio in the same way I play live, with hardware synths and samplers and an RME audio interface with Totalmix to manage mixes. The synths are more or less hard-wired, that way, any track can be performed in the same way and on the same hardware as they were written, whether today or three years ago, and I hope to make the Cirklon serve in the same role. But it’s just been too much for me, and now I just pull it out every once in a while to try something out or if I have a particular project that seems suited to it, but isn’t part of my normal workflow. Why? For me and my particular situation, here are a few reasons why.

Different Style

The Cirklon is a different approach to sequencing than the MPC.  This machine is incredibly complex in its ability to generate random and semi-random events, which I am keen to try out. But it is like what Ableton is to Logic — it’s a paradigm shift. I quickly compose on the MPC now, and I don’t want to take time to learn the details of making the Cirklon operate like my old setup does so it can adapt to my old material. This is obviously just a personal preference, nothing to do with the machine itself.

Legacy Material

Speaking of older material, it’s complicated to pull off on the MPC, but I know how to turn individual songs into long sets. I can make hours-long live sets and keep the composition and mixing of individual songs separate from each other, but the Cirklon doesn’t work like that, at least not that I’m aware of.

Different Song Modes

On the Cirklon, I can immediately see the benefit of say, reusing kick drum midi sequences that are the same for many tracks, but use different sounds. But rearranging all my current MIDI tracks to do this is a formidable task because they are almost never on the same track number. I suppose I could just play the parts into the Cirklon and record, but the “song” mode on the Cirklon would be where I would set up the arrangement of a track on the MPC, and there is no higher level than that. Not quite sure how it would work on the Cirklon. At any rate, that would mean I would still compose on the MPC, then play the parts into the Cirklon when it’s time for a live set and I don’t really want another layer of work to do before shows.

Software Development

The OS development is crazy for the Cirklon — if you find a bug and bring it to Colin’s attention, he will immediately address the bug. Great! However, many times when he fixes a bug, it seems to introduce other bugs, like with the SMF import bug he sort-of fixed for me. He actually made two fixes to this for me, but neither time fixed it completely, so I gave up and didn’t want to take up any more of his time. I fear his testing procedure is a bit haphazard, or the code is spaghetti, or some combination of both, because this happens fairly regularly, not just with me. Because the SMF import bug was never quite fixed, I still haven’t been able to easily import my old MPC sequences into the Cirklon without modification.


Another thing about the software is that when I first got the machine, I was surprisingly able to induce crashes a few times, which I can only recall happening with the MPC maybe twice ever, and both times, the sequences continued playing even though the screen was sporting garbled characters. I will say that since then I haven’t seen the crashes, but then again, I haven’t used it as much either. The stability of a sequencer is absolutely at the top of my list as I perform live exclusively, and things just have to work every time. You can’t risk playing a show and having someone there who could potentially help your career but it is ruined when the sequencer barfs. I suppose in a live situation I would act differently and not try things I don’t know, but still, it put a scare into me.

No Sysex/NRPN, Probably Ever

Finally, I use sysex in my live and studio setups to load the patch into my TB-3, and the MPC handles it, but in almost ten years of requests and development on the OS, NRPN and system exclusive have still not appeared on the Cirklon’s feature list. And I had read at one point that the space for the OS was nearing 90% full, and a feature as complex as this is doubtful to ever make it in. So if you need either of these features, this probably isn’t the right machine for you unless you can find workarounds.


Most of the things I mentioned in this blog are things that are just a difference in workflow, and in reality, most things can be worked around some way or other. The TB-3 does have 16 user slots and I could load the set’s patch sounds manually, but anything that isn’t automated in a live set can be forgotten when the excitement of the actual gig is happening. Or the “long” song mode I use where long separate tracks are strung together into sets, but the composing part wouldn’t be intuitive for quite a while using Cirklon, if it’s even possible. But that’s the thing about workarounds, they take time, and sometimes lots of it, and right now, I need to compose, not experiment for days while my projects don’t get done.

Soon, I Hope

I really want to integrate this machine into my setup and retire the MPC for a number of reasons. First, it’s smaller to move around than the MPC. Second, it’s got 5 midi inputs and outputs, which is perfect for my live setup. Third, its timing is supposedly even better than the famous MPC’s. And many other reasons. But that will have to wait until another day. Today, the Cirklon sits in the corner where my cat and I occasionally sniff it.




Factory Reset & TB-3 Startup Modes

My machine locked up numerous times in my testing process, so that whenever I scrolled past the bad user preset, it hung and the TB-3 had to be restarted. This was fixable though by writing a known good patch over the bad one. However at some point the machine wouldn’t even power on and none of the startup modes worked. Uh-oh. What did work was holding [STEP REC + REALTIME REC] while starting and this boots you to a developer/debug mode, where choosing option 6 initiates a factory reset. But there’s a much easier way if your machine still boots and if you don’t mind returning all user patches, settings, and patterns to factory default:

          • hold [REALTIME REC] + restart
          • display reads “rSt” and PLAY/STOP button is flashing
          • press the PLAY/STOP button to confirm or restart to cancel

Pretty easy and straightforward. If your machine won’t access this mode, you can also activate this function with the developer mode catalogued below. There’s a lot more hidden in the startup modes, and here’s all the information I could find about them. (The Global mode information can also be found in the front panel guide.)


(all modes accessed by [holding] a button or buttons and restarting)

      • set these global parameters:
        1. MIDI channel
        2. MIDI clock source
        3. MIDI OUT is also MIDI THRU
        4. PAD Z sensitivity
        5. Master Tune
        6. LED demo
      • here you can backup and restore all the patterns from your device. copy the files only, not the folder. refer to the firmware update document
      • the firmware version is displayed until you press START/STOP
      • press flashing PLAY/STOP to confirm or restart to cancel
      • once the machine starts, the display reads N-1, and there are 6 options to choose from using the value knob:
        1. N-1: Display the current firmware version.
        2. N-2: USB test mode. Display reads “USB”
        3. N-3: LED test mode. All lights on at their brightest.
        4. N-4: Touchpad calibration, followed by a test with a loud sound even if you turn down the volume, followed by a factory reset. Left side green touch pads are lit, three dashes in display
        5. N-5: Display reads “OUT”
        6. N-6: Factory reset. Same as holding REALTIME REC and restarting.

If you find any more startup modes, let me know.