The other 909

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megawatt
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The other 909

Post by megawatt » Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:53 pm

Really? an MC909 ? Who Knew.
I've avoided owning Roland grooveboxes. I've never even considered them after I borrowed my friends MC 303 and it left a rather bad taste . I came to buy a MC-909 recently as I've been looking for something hardware to sample my own 8 bar sequences and then chop them up quickly - my MPC1000 is cool and I use it my main midibrain but half my pads are dead and the chop feature isn't quite as immediate as I wished. I also had a XV-5050 wich I hated but liked the World Ethnic card that was in it. My EMX1 has an awesome sequencer and very usable synth sounds but I wasn't married to it and was interested in trying new things plus I got the synth stuff already covered.

So a good deal on a MC909 came my way for $650 and so far it really fullfills what I use it for. I understand it has plenty of faults that have been well documented . The new OS deals with many previous gripes but there are still many folks who hate this beast.

Sounds: It runs off of the Roland XV engine so you either deal with it or hate it. I'm really ok with the sound though I found that I like to run it through a Tube pre/compressor before I hit the protools - I'm using a EHX LPB 2ube. The MC909 is also a sampler and has a expandable wave slots so anyone complaining about a lack of tones isn't being creative enough. I find that most of the sounds are VERY usable in my context. Overall the sound is very clean and sounds great for synth based Hip Hop and Dancehall. I like the hands on control with the envelopes and filter but there really isn't immediate control over deeper parameters but the giant display is great for those kinds of edits. The FX are insert type effects and there are not a ton of outputs but I'm OK with that as I'm using it in a studio context.

Sequencer: I'm a little spoiled by Elektron gear in regards to sequencers but the MC 909 ain't bad... It's not perfect but I was up a running internal and external sequences in no time. I like the arp!.

In my case my midi signal chain goes like this

MPC1000 - syncs Elektron gear wich run their own internal sequencers and sometimes the Voyager/MEK
MPC syncs MC-909

MC 909 sequences MEK, Voyager and XT

when first writing Synth-type parts I use the internal sounds on the MC 909 and then either double or replace them with more solid analog tones from the external gear. That's not to say that the sounds on the MC 909 are not great - I just like the sound of songs that have a mixed instrument feel. I really like the more "natural" roland tones.

Sampler: I love this part. 2 button pushes and I'm capturing loops. a few more pushes and it's chopped and ready to play in a part.


I'm not saying it's the perfect all in one solution for everybody. It's bit toyish in that it makes complicated processes very easy.
It offered me exactly what I was looking for regarding a phrase sampler with fast chopping apllications that also has a modern synth/rompler hat caters towards modern Pop, Rnb, Hip Hop and Dancehall applications. It also became a home for that favorite expansion card. It's different enough from my V-synth XT to warrant both.

I guess if I was into Euro-Trance it would be pretty good for that too... not my bag but there are certainly a lot of patterns that show off that side....


I was on the fence with the MC 808 vs the 909 but went with the unit with fewer moving motorized parts that could also hold my expansion card. I'm also in the studio vs live where I think the 808 would fair better. I also am not down with computer editing so the decision was pretty simple.

anyway - viva MC 909. I like it do you?
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Re: The other 909

Post by supermel74 » Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:15 pm

megawatt wrote: It's bit toyish in that it makes complicated processes very easy.
I don't really understand this statement. If gear is easier to use it's toyish? If that's the case, all gear should strive to be "toyish" I used to have an MC 909. Great machine, just too big for what I wanted.

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Post by JUGEL » Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:55 pm

the end justifies the means.

It all depends on if you agree with that statement...

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Post by pix » Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:07 pm

can you elaborate a bit more on the phrase sampling side of it. Does it allow to sample a fix amount of time and have the loops trimmed perfectly say from 1:1:000 to 5:1:000?

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Post by megawatt » Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:20 pm

I'm sure a lot of folk would call grooveboxes in general toyish in that they are often great at many things (sometimes spectacular) but true masters of none. That's a broad statement though and isn't really an argument on my part just silly rambling and there is another thread about that - . But really, If I had a groovebox that gave me everything I wanted why would I need 4 of them to make me happy? Or would I?

So my thoughts on the mc909 are mixed bag of goodness much like the 909 itself.

I love 1-2 button pushes them but like to have the option to get more detailed and personal. Simple processes are also like toys in that they are intuitive and most of all fun. What gives the 909 a hint of toy is that it gives you the basics (ie in most cases musical) choices with an easy interface that's fun to play but skimps on the depth compaired to what it could have been in my made up dreamland (ie putting a Vynth in there instead of a XV). PLus the candy raver racing graphics hurt the pro vibe of the 909 but whatever . My verdict on the D-beam is still up in the air :D but I don't think I'm going to be doing a lot of writing with it. It will come in use for some fx though.

I don't like having to ever hit the stop button for anything but I can make music regardless and have adapted.

quite frankly I'm a little giddy about MC909. It goes well with my other gear and covers a ton of ground for me.
:)
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Post by megawatt » Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:32 pm

The Phrase sampler's length can be set Manualy (stop button), by Beat (specific number of beats at the current tempo) or time.
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Post by Wiglaf » Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:57 am

I used to use mine all the time, but lack of space as well as having other gear that duplicates its functions was the killer.
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Post by Raiven » Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:02 am

Loved it, used it a lot, but NO ANALOG FEEL parameter.

Sold it.
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Post by Eddie » Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:52 am

I love mine :) It sounds allright to me..and for what I am using it for...And I have never used the manual...it's so damn easy to use 8)
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Post by AudiosEnvy » Fri Jul 06, 2007 11:41 pm

I really enjoyed mine. Very, very powerfull ROMpler. Get's a lot of work done in a small form factor. The character was a bit "compressed" and using it as the main synth/drum machine isn't really a good option. As an adition to an already decently equiped studio, then sure. I got rid of mine to venture down different roads but even with my current set-up it would do quite well. Do I miss it much? Not really. If I found a great deal on one I would pick it up again. What I hate? After I sold mine... the sale prices started sky rocketing. My luck.
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Post by Blue Monster 65 » Sat Jul 07, 2007 1:39 am

I dig mine - I like the fact that it is very visual, much like programming Tuna Fish. I got a super deal on mine, too ($540), so there was no complaint there!

Like the 505, which I've championed plenty in the past, if you dig deep enough into it, you can do all kinds of cool stuff with it.

Presets? Ugh. Can't say I've found one I like. There are ways to blow them out, though, so that you have more room.

For me, it's very versatile, simple to use and good to go.

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Post by Constantine » Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:03 am

Is mc909's OS as buggy and inconvenient as they say? Does it crash often?

What do you think about its sequencer?

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Post by crufty » Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:07 pm

I have an MC808 and I often wish I would have gotten the MC909. Technically, the MC808 has a lot more functionality, but the electribe series duplicate its synth capabilities and kill it in workflow, I look at it as more of a sampler. Since the sampling requires a computer, and oh, btw, no intel mac update on that tip, it is very near the chopping block.

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Post by AudiosEnvy » Sat Jul 07, 2007 1:14 pm

Constantine wrote:Is mc909's OS as buggy and inconvenient as they say? Does it crash often?

What do you think about its sequencer?
Nope. It was the main peice in my studio while moving around the country to gain radio experience and it held up extremely well. I didn't really like the sequencer but compared to many peices of all-in-one wanna-bes... it held up nicely. Try to give it a go at a local dealer and you will know instantly if it is for you or not both functionaly and sound character wise.
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Post by Blue Monster 65 » Sun Jul 08, 2007 2:43 am

I've heard people say that, but I've yet to run into problems with mine and two guys I know and trust beyond all others with it haven't had the problems spoken of either, soooo ...

Update your OS to 1.20, at the very least.

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