Roland MT-32

Roland MT-32 Image

A home marketed module with sounds like the popular D-50. It uses the same basic LAS type digital synthesis to create its sounds. And it has some rhythm presets that sound like the TR-626 rhythm machine. However this module is quite rough around the edges, and it's noisy too. It isn't rack-mountable, and was intended to be used in conjunction with a MIDI keyboard, sequencer (like the PR-100) or computer software. Aside from basic volume, tuning, reverb, and timbre/part selection, on-board sound editing is not available and can only be achieved externally with knowledge of the MT-32's MIDI implementation. Through MIDI you can edit the modulation, timbres, pan, expression and hold controls. Unfortunately, the programmable memory dissapears when turned off, requiring MIDI SysEx dumping for memory storage.

It has 128 sounds grouped into 17 instrument groups like bass, synth, wind, perc, etc. The MT-32 is also 8-part multitimbral, one of which is the rhythm track. There are 6 'Part' buttons on the face of the module for useful access to changing patches within a part. The MT-32 is a cheap source for quick access to D-50 sounds in a box, but remember that it is not exactly pro-quality and would most benefit newcomers to synthesizer-music who are on a very limited budget.

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32 Visitor comments
November 27, 2012 @ 12:22 pm
This thing is actually capable of some awesome stuff, like the other LA synths. Have a listen:!

That's not my song, by the way, I just found it in a post and reposted it here.
June 13, 2012 @ 6:16 am
Qui se rzapelle de Usefool MT32 de Fretless International qui transformait en giga station de travail un PC, une carte MIDI, une MT32 et un clavier maitre ? Contactez moi !
June 13, 2012 @ 12:44 am
the MT-32 really broke the price/performance barrier in it's day. It's not the best, but it's not a bad module by any means. It's a home version of the D-110, capable of some good sounds, fully editable, but loses it's memory on power down. I remember playing Leisure Suit Larry with this playing the soundtrack.
May 15, 2012 @ 1:54 am
Being so influential in the computer game music history, some of the flavors of the patches have rubbed off into the timbres of instruments used in video games today. The pick of the Distorted Guitar comes to mind first. (Very "musically chunky")

In fact, I would probably love to have one myself (well, only with the Real World Interfaces noise reduction mod) if not for that lovely 80's cheese, but for the influence it could give if you're going for a "video game" vibe without going all square and pseudorandom noise.
May 11, 2012 @ 10:17 pm
@spirogiro (on your site) "The MT32 was actually a D50 in a small box"

Ouch! I owned an MT-32, and worked at a music store where to got to play with all the D series, including the 50 during the 80s. The MT-32 may conceptually use the same basic algorithm in the synthesis engine, but it was far noisier and far less complex than the D-50. That's not to say you can't do cool stuff with it, but it's no D-50. First used the MT-32 with King's Quest. It was awesome :) Saying it's the D-50 is like saying a DX-100 was a DZ-7 in a small box.
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Rated 3.21 (312 Votes)

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  • 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 - 8 voice (32 partials)
  • Multitimbral - 9 parts
  • Oscillators - Digital LAS (Linear Arithmetic Synthesis) & PCM
  • Effects - Digital Reverb
  • Filter - None
  • Memory - 128 synth presets, 64 volatile programmable, 28 rhythm presets
  • Keyboard - None
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1987
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