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
October 17, 2010 @ 7:11 pm
Picked one of these up on ebay and liked the sound quite a bit , just got a Novation Remote Zero SL controller and found a template someone built for it on the yahoo mks-50 user group. Now i love it , tweaking in real time without spending 300+ dollars for a PG-300 (that only works for the Alpha Juno) is a god send.
September 17, 2010 @ 4:12 pm
Dudes, this little guy is FAT! yes, there's only one envelope but the osc engine with the sub osc can be sooo huge. These are usually cheap and totally worth it. No, no knobs to twiddle, but wonderfull Juno series warmth and fat.
August 10, 2010 @ 2:45 pm
This is one smooth puppy. Relatively simple synthesis engine but seems to have a very nice tone and some tricks up it's sleeve. Worth owning for the space it takes up. Looks cool in the rack.
April 16, 2010 @ 8:34 am
The EG is cool, too. Many more possibilities than ADSR. And, yeah, like Ashe37 said, nice Roland stereo chorus. And given how inexpensive they are, you might think about getting using two, like I do. From my experience, using two with variations of the same patch is 10x more powerful than one MKS-50 alone. I just had one of my MKS-50's die (shortly before a show), and I've got a new appreciation for how unique it is and how much I rely on it, despite having many other nice synths to choose from.
April 16, 2010 @ 8:25 am
One of the most unique sounding synths I've come across and it will cut through a mix like nothing else I've come across. Editing with a 'virtual PG-300' Cubase device panel works great. In my performance rig I have two MKS-50's, typically on the same patch an octave apart, sounds awesome. If you're looking for a Juno 60 or 106 sound, you're not going to get it, but the good news is you get the MKS-50 sound. And it's cheap.
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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.
  • 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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