Roland MC-303 Groovebox

Roland MC-303 Image

The original groovebox for dance/techno! It's got 303, 808, 909, Jupiter, and Juno sounds. It is a sequencer arranger with looks inspired by the original 303's and 808's... Not to mention it includes real-time Filter Cutoff, resonance, panning and arpeggiator. With this box alone you can become a techno music maker!!! It sounds pretty good and has an unbeatable price (around $500)!!!! Though it's been swept aside by the MC-505, JX-305, EG-101 and Yamaha RM1x, it's still a good entry-level machine for those of you on a budget or just starting out. It has been used by ATB.

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82 Visitor comments
August 28, 2010 @ 10:52 pm
I've been using a 505 but then I got my hands on a half-busted 303 for dirt cheap and was hoping to fix it up if only for it's portability. It's obviously outdated and certainly not worth taking it in for repairs but I wanted to try my hand at getting it to work nonetheless. However, I'm having a hard time finding a service manual online. You guys have any leads?
AJ Halbrook
May 10, 2010 @ 8:24 pm
I got one of these recently for $100!! For that price it is absolutely great for a drum machine, some decent synth patches, effects, arpeggiator and 50 user programmable patterns. Hey, 50 patterns is plenty for me, I like the limits because if forces me to make some really good ones. Of course the presets are no good but that is not why I bought this thing. Great sounding 808 and 909 kits and even some of the other kits have some great sounds. I like the fact you can layer any of the drum hits and mute any of the parts on your pattern including individual drum parts, awesome! I plugged this thing into a sp-303 sampler, threw on some effects and you can get some pretty interesting sounds from the two 303's! It's not the machine, it is how you use it creatively and the limits on this thing enable you to do that, and do it well.
April 24, 2010 @ 4:32 pm
I picked this up on a whim for cheap and I must say that for under a 100 dollars it is a great deal. I use this guy to arrange songs and try out new ideas, about 80% of the presets are very disappointing, the 909 and 808 samples sound good, the filter and envelope open up the presets quite a bit. The presets patterns sound very dated but then again I'm not a big electronic music fan. I like that it is super portable, I can take it anywhere and work out ideas for songs. If you are interested in electronic music and synthesis this can be very fun, definitely a good whim purchase if found at a good price.
April 22, 2010 @ 5:44 pm
I see this as more of a gimmicky toy than a serious piece of studio gear. I hated the whole concept of "The Groovebox' when they came out in the mid-90's. Even hated the name.. :)
April 11, 2010 @ 8:22 am
I've been commenting on a few posts lately, so it wouldn't be right to not say a few things about my mc-303 as well.

When it comes down to it, Roland focused to much on quantity over quality. It has a few pads that sound really nice, as well as some decent sh-101 samples.

But where this thing shines is the percussion. All the 909 samples are great (except the closed hi-hat which i never need anyway)
Very nice 808 and 606 samples too. I have a problem with the strength of the sounds at times but just max out the volume and it sounds fine.

I love my mc-303. Despite the drawbacks.
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  • 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 - 28 voices
  • # of Tones - 448
  • # of Drum Sets - 12 (inc. 808, 909)
  • # of Instruments - 16 part multitimbral
  • Effects - Reverb, delay, chorus and flange
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer : 8 tracks, 10 songs, 120 preset & 50 user patterns.
    Arpeg: 200 RPS phrases
  • Keyboard - 12 buttons
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1996
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