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.

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58 Visitor comments
Justin
July 20, 2010 @ 9:59 am
I've owned a 202 since 1993, believing it to be a "poor man's 303". Initially, I was disappointed it didn't sound much like a 303. After learning to program it, I was very impressed. The programming is difficult compared to the 303, but infinitely more flexible (it helps if you can do maths to make sure your patterns loop correctly).
From a sonic point of view, it has exactly the same sonic possibilties as the SH101, with 2 differences. The SH101 has the possibilty of added noise in the source section, and the 202 has delay on the LFO.
Speaking of LFO's, I was informed LFO used the 202 lots on their first album "Frequencies"
Ian
April 22, 2010 @ 5:27 pm
I remember buying one of these years ago and being totally baffled by the terrible programming. I got shot of it after having problems hooking it up to my kenton pro-2 with pitch bending etc. It did sound slighty different to my SH-101 as I recall, a bit more "raw" filter.
dave
January 20, 2010 @ 4:29 pm
You can add Luke Vibert / Wagon Christ to the list.
Masta Acid
December 15, 2009 @ 2:10 am
Mr wink used a mc-202
ben
July 4, 2009 @ 9:28 pm
fr_z it has a really convoluted way of saving you need to record a strange coded noise and when you play it back it reloads the pattern.
Explained in the manual
 
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  • The link above will take you to a 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

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