Roland MC-202

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This is an analog synthesizer/sequencer. It sounds very much like the TB-303 and SH-101 bass synths. Sometimes considered the "poor man's 303". It has a very evolved form of TB-303 like programming (more like the MC-4) and SH-101 like controls of the VCO, VCF, VCA, LFO, Envelope and Mixer sections. The LCD display is a great feature too.

The MC-202 was sort of a next-generation TB-303. So the idea was to program sequence/patterns into it internally which would give you those 303 basslines that we've come to love. But programming the MC-202 is a bit too intense and over done for the simple monophonic bass line. However you can control it externally by hooking up a MID-CV/Gate converter. Then you basically have yourself an SH-101!

The sequencer is actually a 2-channel CV/gate sequencer, with both channels being capable of driving a separate external synth. It's a very useful unit, also, for its DINsync capabilities; it can receive on one port, and send over two, and also can 'split' DINsync to branch a sync signal out to multiple devices.

This machine is best for those who want to get 303-like patterns (it has accent just like the 303) and basslines with an SH-101 sound. If you can handle programming the notes into its sequencer you can have a lot of fun. It is used by Autechre, Future Sound Of London, Coldcut, The Human League, Underworld, Aphex Twin, LFO, Jedi Knights, Plastikman, Astral Projection, Sabres Of Paradise, Freddy Fresh, Jimmy Edgar, ProtoType 909 and Taylor 808.

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Demos & Media

Roland MC-202 Vintage Synthesizer Overview
modified 202 acting as a 303 ACID
Audio Clip 1 Two cool MC-202 bass synth loops taken from the Future Music CD, Issue 76.
ManualRoland has made manuals for most of their products available as free PDF downloads.
Patch FileThis is a text file outlining the settings for an Acid Patch on the Roland MC-202. Courtesy of Music Machines.


Polyphony - Monophonic
Oscillators - Single VCO : Simultaneous sawtooth and square/pulse width waveforms and 1 Sub-Oscillator
VCA - ADSR Envelope or gate.
Filter - Resonant 24dB lowpass with cutoff, res, env, mod, kybd
LFO - 1 sine wave with delay and rate controls
Memory - Volatile sequence memory using batteries or do a Cassette Tape Dump
Sequencer - 2 Tracks, 2,729 notes capacity
Control - CV/GATE and Tape/Clock/DIN Sync
Date Produced - 1983


Images from Perfect Circuit Audio.

Additional information provided by DAC Crowell.