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
March 11, 2011 @ 7:37 pm
I had one of these 15+ years ago after a bloke came round my mates house and said; "I just found a Roland something or other in me attic, do you want it, say, £40?" Needless to say I ripped his hand off even though I didn't know what it was going to be. Sold it years later at a very hefty profit, and yes, I do get the occasional pang of regret. Amazing through distortion pedals/an amp. I swear once I somehow got it to sound like a chanting football crowd echoing in a canyon! An almost religious experience. Would never stay in tempo though, the bpm readout even changed on its own accord.
March 7, 2011 @ 6:33 pm
I was given one of these 3 years ago, and since then it's been my most played-with toy in a studio full of toys. If it ever broke I would quite simply have to sell my soul to pay for another one. Programming doesn't take that long to learn, and soon becomes second nature.
Not long after I got it I made up timing loops to drop into Abelton Live. (If you get them accurate enough, you can set them as master tempo in Live, and then all your midi will sync as well ;-).) You can also record your song data as a clip in live as well, so it's always there ready to load with a project.
February 26, 2011 @ 5:26 pm
3 words: "quirky little bugger"
February 5, 2011 @ 9:20 am
One of my fave old Roland boxes next to the 606, have mine since 15 years and used it in many of my tracks, sounds great and is easy to use. I think it's silly to call the 202 a poor man's 303, the 202 is way more flexible, you can create nice leads and even fat bassdrums with it. It's nearest relative is the 101, not the 303, even though the good ol' 202 can sound very lysergic if you want to.
November 14, 2010 @ 12:45 pm
bob majerle
what your email?
please email me
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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
  • Resources & Credits
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