Roland MKS-50

Roland MKS-50 Image

The MKS-50 is a rack-mount version of the Alpha Juno. It has the same synth engine and architecture, with some added features like 16 programmable chord memories, the ability to store velocity, volume, panning, de-tune, portamento and other similar parameters within each patch you create. The optional and highly recommended PG-300 will give you traditional slider type control of all editable tone parameters which include DCO (digitally controlled oscillators) LFO, bend, ENV, pulse, waveforms, noise, PW/PWM, high pass filter, VCF (filter) with freq/env/res/LFO/kybd, VCA envelope, chorus, and more.

Its sound is not quite as warm as the previous Juno's but it's still a nice addition to any techno synth rig. Other features include better MIDI implementation than previous Roland synths, a nice LCD display, an LFO capable of a very slow rate for some cool sweeping effects, and a great bass sound (especially nice for acid basslines) and noise effects! It is used by Überzone, Astral Projection, Fluke, Future Sound of London, Pet Shop Boys, and Vince Clarke.

Lookup Roland MKS-50 Prices

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30 Visitor comments
May 26, 2014 @ 9:45 am
Anyone know why my MKS50 has a different set of Factory Patches for (only for "B") in ROM? I have done the init procedure, then overwrites with customs patches and then more inits and the ROM keeps dumping out patches that do not match the expected B bank (as listed here:

Very strange, my start with "Synergy" and end with "Buzz Decay". The "What The" patch is not in the factory ROM. Is this a rare Roland change near the end of the MKS50 production run? Thoughts?
February 18, 2014 @ 6:32 pm
soundwise this little rack does NOT have to hide at all... i would even say that it is one of the best sounding older analog synths for my taste!
Chicken Defender
November 27, 2013 @ 10:09 am
For the past decade the agendaists have been running riot across the inter web promoting their knobby analogs to inflate the prices. And of course the Noobs rush out and buy many of those hugely inflated $$$ analogs. Hype!
Meanwhile gems like this sit around going for a couple of hundred bucks.
And the kicker is, this thing kicks the [beep] of many big buck analogs.
Some of the best analog synths I have heard dont even register on chin strokers radars.
Fine, just means these synths can stay at a decent price.
September 7, 2013 @ 2:40 am
I just came across one of these and the weird thing is, on the one I have, the sixth voice is dead. Every sixth note in succession you play is a "dead" note and will just make a low frequency "pop'. The filters will still effect this sound, so I don't think it's a bad filter, but suspect it may be a bad DCO. Pretty weird!
February 14, 2013 @ 3:34 am
Agreed with the comment below. Fantastic machine for Electro-funk. It's even got some sounds perfectly suited to that genre right out of the box.

Make no mistake - it can do other styles well too.
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User Rating

Rated 4.03 (380 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.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - Here's a nice demo of various sounds that the MKS-50/Alpha Juno can produce.

    Manual - Roland has made manuals for most of their products available as free PDF downloads.

    SysEx Basics - Helpful guide to controlling and editing the MKS-50 in real-time from a sequencer or Midi controller using SysEx Midi data.

    Patch File - Roland's original Factory Settings for the MKS-50. These are Midi Sysex files compressed in a PC friendly format. Mac users should have no problem downloading this file either.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 1 DCO per voice: Pulse, Sawtooth, Sub, noise waveforms. 1 sub-oscillator.
  • Effects - portamento, 16 chord memories, transpose, chorus
  • Memory - 64 User, 64 preset, backup to cassette
  • Filter - 24db analog lowpass filter
  • Envelopes - ADSR Envelopes for filter and amp
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - none
  • Control - MIDI (w/ velocity and aftertouch mappable to VCF or ENV)
  • Date Produced - 1987
  • Resources & Credits
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