Roland MC-202 MicroComposer

Roland MC-202 Image

This is an analog synthesizer/sequencer. It sounds very much like the TB-303 and SH-101 bass synths. Sometimes considered the "poor man's 303". It has a very evolved form of TB-303 like programming (more like the MC-4) and SH-101 like controls of the VCO, VCF, VCA, LFO, Envelope and Mixer sections. The LCD display is a great feature too.

The MC-202 was sort of a next-generation TB-303. So the idea was to program sequence/patterns into it internally which would give you those 303 basslines that we've come to love. But programming the MC-202 is a bit too intense and over done for the simple monophonic bass line. However you can control it externally by hooking up a MID-CV/Gate converter. Then you basically have yourself an SH-101!

The sequencer is actually a 2-channel CV/gate sequencer, with both channels being capable of driving a separate external synth. It's a very useful unit, also, for its DINsync capabilities; it can receive on one port, and send over two, and also can 'split' DINsync to branch a sync signal out to multiple devices.

Roland MC-202 Image

This machine is best for those who want to get 303-like patterns (it has accent just like the 303) and basslines with an SH-101 sound. If you can handle programming the notes into its sequencer you can have a lot of fun. It is used by Autechre, Future Sound Of London, Coldcut, The Human League, Underworld, Aphex Twin, LFO, Jedi Knights, Plastikman, Astral Projection, Sabres Of Paradise, Freddy Fresh, Jimmy Edgar, ProtoType 909 and Taylor 808.

Lookup Roland MC-202 MicroComposer Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland MC-202 MicroComposer? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

58 Visitor comments
May 4, 2009 @ 9:39 am
So if I can pick-up one of these for around $230, I am guessing that is a bargain.
April 1, 2009 @ 2:40 pm
Forgot to mention, the SH101 has a better low end than the 202. 202 is not really a big bassy synth. The SH101 filter can have a really powerful low end in self oscillation, great for basic powet 'drum and bass' lines.
April 1, 2009 @ 2:30 pm
Hey Monotron, thanks for the tip about using one seq channel to control the filter. I will try this in conjunction with 202Hack soon. So, I think this requires the EXT SYNTH CV OUT to be looped back into a filter cutoff input. I'm thinking the BUILT-IN SYNTH CV OUT would not be available for this purpose.

I love the 202 for analogue bleeps. Random drift in mine just sounds very organic and mesmerising. Love it! Sounds great with effects.

Recently I used my 202 after it had been gathering dust for some time. Dust in the pots was making the thing swing really randomly. It was like random modulation of all the panel controls. Sounded great, but uncontrollable, of course. I cleaned it up after having my fun.
March 4, 2009 @ 3:41 am
This device brings me substantial pleasure.

Just turn it on, push some random buttons, and add reverb- you've just made a BOC bassline :)

...but really, don't buy this thing. I don't want the street price on it going any higher- in case i need another one.
c g gross
December 5, 2008 @ 2:29 pm
I found the real-time programming mode to be much easier than the step-sequencer-type mode, but of course the mode you use depends on the kind of music you're making. I especially like the fact that you can program two tracks onto it, so you can have the MC-202 play one melody line and use another synth for the second one (I used to use a Moog Rogue, which is compatible with the CV output). It can also record a sync track to tape or to a computer for multitracking purposes.. BTW, Devo's song "Timing X" seems to use an MC-202 for the main melody, but I can't confirm it. Sure sounds like it, though...
Post Comment!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.28 (439 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - Single VCO : Simultaneous sawtooth and square/pulse width waveforms and 1 Sub-Oscillator
  • VCA - ADSR Envelope or gate.
  • Filter - Resonant 24dB lowpass with cutoff, res, env, mod, kybd
  • LFO - 1 sine wave with delay and rate controls
  • Memory - Volatile sequence memory using batteries or do a Cassette Tape Dump
  • Sequencer - 2 Tracks, 2,729 notes capacity
  • Control - CV/GATE and Tape/Clock/DIN Sync
  • Date Produced - 1983

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.