Akai's first desktop sequencer was the ASQ10 and it was amazing. Up to 99 sequences, 99 tracks, 60,000-note capacity, 3.5" built-in disk drive and sophisticated real-time or step recording and programming. Overdubbing, punch in/out, track soloing and a big LCD data screen. Extensive edit-ability, recording features and MIDI implementation make the ASQ10 one of the best stand-alone MIDI sequencers around. (1986/7)
A standard and simple MIDI sequencer that is still used today by some of the biggest names in electronic music because of its simplicity, durability and reliability. Read its complete review here! Image from Perfect Circuit Audio.
The Q-80 is a 32-track sequencer with 26,000-note capacity and a built-in 3.5" disk drive. Extensive and complete editing, real-time and step recording and quantizing with up to 10 songs. A new "motif" function allows up to 100 stored musical phrases or "motifs" for use or insertion into a song at any time. The Q-80 works well in the studio and for live performances. The Q-80 can also store MIDI system exclusive data to disk from other synths. (1988)
The Q-80EX is an enhanced version of the original Q-80 sequencer. The note capacity has been doubled to 52,000 notes and the "motif" section has been bumped up to 1,000 motifs. There are still 32 tracks and 10 songs as well as precise MIDI editing, control, real-time and step recording and MIDI system exclusive message storage to the built-in 3.5" disk drive.
The SQD-1 is a classic and easy to use stand-alone sequencer. It has 15,000-note capacity and 2 tracks. Your song is created by bouncing down between these two tracks as you go. Real-time and step recording is available as well as pretty in-depth and precise editing of events. It has a built-in 2.8" disk drive that can store up to 30,000 notes of data. (1986)
The SQ-8 is a very early compact sketch-pad sequencer. A limited 6,500 note capacity is balanced by 8 tracks and a tape-recorder style interface. Step and real-time recording is possible, but editing is minimal and simple. The SQD-8 (not pictured) is a combination SQ-8 and SQD-1 making it small but with better editing, 8-tracks and tape-recorder interface. (1986)
The MC-50 is dedicated sequencer similar to the popular MC-500 series. It featured 40,000 note capacity, up to 8 songs, 8 phrase tracks, a 3.5" DS/DD disk drive, separate rhythm track and temp tracks, 32 channel MIDI and FSK sync. Sequences could be recorded in real-time or step-time. Songs can be linked and edited and quantized in Microscopic detail. Data is compatible with the MC-300 and MC-500 sequencers. Get the Owner's Manual. (1990) Image from Perfect Circuit Audio.
The MC-50mkII was equipped with slightly advanced features for editing and general use. The MC-50 mk II can directly convert MRC files to MID and MID back to MRC while saving MID files on a DD 720 Kb diskette. For the MC-50 you need special conversion software to do this: the (free) Roland MRM-500 program. A Roland dealer could also upgrade a MC-50 towards a mkII with a special ROM containing that MRM-500 software. Get the Owner's Manual. (1992)
The MC-300 is the same as the original MC-500 sequencer in a cheaper case but is still totally compatible with the MC-500 and mkII sequencers. There's 4-track recording in real or step time and 16 midi channel multitimbrality, a dedicated rhythm track, a built-in 3.5" disk drive with 100,000 note capacity and an LCD screen. Newer operating system version can be loaded via the disk drive. Editing is intense and precise. The sequencer has 30,000 note capacity, track merging, microscopic editing, quantization and it's relatively simple to use. (1988)
The MC-500 is one of the best and reigning stand-alone sequencer and midi recorders around. There's 4-track recording in real or step time and 16 midi channel multitimbrality, a dedicated rhythm track, a built-in 3.5" disk drive with 100,000 note capacity and a large LCD screen. New operating systems including the newer mkII version can be loaded via the disk drive. Editing is intense and precise. The sequencer has 30,000 note capacity, track merging, microscopic editing, quantization and it's relatively simple to use. (1986)
The MC-500mkII was equipped with Turbo software. Now there are 8 tracks of recording, 100,000 note capacity, real-time track muting and more. Get the Owner's Manual. (1988)
The MC-80 MicroComposer is an elegant and advanced MIDI sequencer, perfect for studio and live use. Offering the enhanced resolution of software sequencers, plus the advanced sequencing features from Roland's popular XP-Series workstations, the expandable MC-80 provides reliability, portability, and easy setup for composers, live performers, and those who need to keep things simple. It features 480 PPQN resolution, Direct-from-Disk playback, Internal 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, Grid, Shuffle and Groove Quantize options, Real-time Phrase Sequencing and onboard Arpeggiator with 33 styles, assignable footswitch for Mark/Jump, Start/Stop, Fade Out, etc., MMC and MTC compatible and two MIDI outputs for 32-channel operation. Optional internal 2.5-inch IDE hard drive or internal Zip 100 drive. Expandable with optional VE-GSPro Voice Expansion Board. Get the Owner's Manual. (2000)
The MSQ-700 is an 8-track sequencer that holds up to 6,500 notes that can be stored. Several functions of the MSQ-700 include a chain function, multi-track function, overdubbing and a merge function. Use it to control your TR-909, or Juno-60 or any other MIDI equipment. The MSQ-700 is compatible with both MIDI and Roland's proprietary DCB sync methods,although it can't do both at the same time. Get the Owner's Manual. (1984) Image from Perfect Circuit Audio.
The PR-100 is a stand-alone multitrack sequencing device. There's 2-track recording in real or step time, track merging, punch in/out and a built-in 2.8" QuickDisk drive. It has almost no edit ability however as it was intended for use as a Roland Library Disk playback device in conjunction with a digital piano or sound module. It is best suited for music education or accompaniment. Get the Owner's Manual. (1988)
The QX3 is a suped-up version of the QX5 sequencer. It's a 16-track with real-time track muting, 48,000 note capacity sequencer with built-in 3.5" disk drive and sophisticated editing and control. Large LCD screen and more buttons make operation easy and fun. There's a feature known as 'macros' in which snippets or phrases can be thrown into a sequence live. Real and step input modes and punch in/out are available. The QX3 also features MIDI and FSK sync, sysex dumping and recording, 96 ppq resolution and more! A very professional stand-alone sequencer. (1987) Image from Perfect Circuit Audio.
The QX5 is an 8-track MIDI/FSK sequencer with a feature known as 'macros' in which snippets or phrases can be thrown into a sequence live. Real and step input modes, punch in/out and precise editing control for making sequences are available. The QX5 has real-time track muting, 15,000 to 20,000 note capacity, 32 patterns, 1 song, 4 set-up memories and MIDI dumping for external storage (no disk drive). Although a mere 14 buttons make operation difficult, the QX5 is a sophisticated stand-alone sequencer with adequate live and studio uses. (1986) Image from Perfect Circuit Audio.