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
November 2, 2009 @ 5:03 am
I've had J60 and sold it because this sounds unique, takes less space and also responds to velocity. I lreally love how it sounds and I am amazed to see them going for such a low prizes. I guess I will probably have to get me a few more to make sure I got spare parts if my mks-30 gets broken. This is THE machine for those 90's hardcore leads, there is no other synth that does those properly.
August 9, 2009 @ 1:00 pm
Okay, i got one and this thing is worth every penny. Paid $100 ($100-$150 seems to be the going price for them) and the sounds are much thicker and warmer than many VAs. The chorus definitely has the "Roland Chorus" sound to it. And, it doesn't add another keyboard....
July 30, 2009 @ 10:50 am
Also used by Information Society on several albuma, according to the band's website.
June 27, 2009 @ 10:59 am
I've had mine for a few weeks. Just been playing with the PG300EMU. Soft editor is pretty good.
Can do nice Juno string pads. Not sensational, but good, musical, useful, and reasonably warm soundning. Some leads can be quite fun too.
FIlter is not bad, but also not sensational. I prefer the Juno 106 filter. Not sure if the circuit is very different, but sweeping the MKS-50 filter via MIDI CC can be a bit steppy. Unfortunately, I think on-board controls are still preferable.
I paid $US180. I think at $150 to $200 it is appropriately priced. I'm happy to have it in my rack.
May 3, 2009 @ 6:50 pm
I got mine some weeks ago. I control it with sound diver.

If you're into the genuine roland sound, go for it. If you like the Drexcyia, Dopplereffekt thing... you will like it a lot.

I managed to coax nice unison sounds from it. I set it so that every voice uses it's own channel and I use the pitch wheel(s) to detune the voices. I need the daw's sequencer to do that however. lol it's a bit of a pain in the butt but it works and sounds soooo good.

Not ''powerful'' in technical terms but it's sound sends shivers down my spine so I can't ask more for the 185 bucks I paid for it. Kind of like the Korg Poly 800. It should be added in the the ''related & alternatives'' list. Definately.
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Rated 4.03 (379 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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