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.

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30 Visitor comments
April 24, 2009 @ 12:27 am
I have hade one for ages. it was my first synth. Maybe it is the the interface, the DCOs or the coarse steps in the envelopes but I have never really gotten much out of it. Not saying it is bad, but potential buyers should try it and tweak it cause it is not so very flexible(atleast not in my hands).
January 26, 2009 @ 4:50 pm
This is easily one of my favorite sounding synths ive ever owned. i catch myself trying to recreate patches i made with it. It does sound dated and was a bit overused by early techno artists (lords of acid-lust) but once you own one you really cant blame them. damn does it sound phat! i sold mine off for cheap due to a bad chip but i still miss it so.
December 13, 2008 @ 10:06 pm
this little guy is capable of some really nice deep stabs, especially when used with its chord memory feature. a very handy piece of gear for dance music productions.
October 11, 2008 @ 6:25 pm
famous for the WhatThe patch - aka the Hoover sound heard everywhere.. I dont use it for too much now days, but the chord memory with portamento worked well for a remix a few years ago..
September 17, 2008 @ 3:43 pm
This little genious, I can't describe it, it's ~20 years old - still runnin' and still that nice 'sound' to it. Double this up with a good TC/Lexicon/Alesis etc. Chorus/Reverb/Delay/Phazer unit and the sky is the limit!

Er, well the 6 voices are... But(!) it sounds to me as the stealing of notes can be directed to just one of three oscillators in ONE voice, meaning it sounds that it works intelligent, and makes one sometiimes think there are more than 6 total voices.

5* from me.

Claus, Denmark
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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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