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MC 202 to replace 101,303

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:47 am
by culturedslob
how does the mc202 stack up compared to the 303 and sh 101?

is it really just a 101 without a keyboard?
is the squelch and bubbly-ness even comparable to a 303 sound?

just a few things ive read that sound too good to be true, especially when its made to sound like i can get a synth thats a 101 AND a 303 COMBINED for like 1-2000 grand less than if i was to find and purchase the sh and tb separately.

theres one on ebay for like 500 bucks!?!? IF it sounds as good, id say it beats the h**l out of a $900 dollar sh 101 or fiftykabillionzillion dollar tb303!

somebody fill me in if theres some mc202 "Big Secret/Design Flaw that is Why We Decided Not To Get One" hahaha

thanks!

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:49 am
by nathanscribe
Well, the 202 does have the same analogue circuits as the 101 (with a couple of slight changes - one LFO waveform, no noise) so it definitely has that sound.

Compared to the 303 though, it has some similarities and some differences: it's a small analogue sequencer/synth with ancient forms of interfacing. Accent and glide are programmable (with accent switchable to VCA or both VCA & VCF). You can approximate but not exactly replicate the 303 sound. The sequencer is not as flexible because there's no real-time switching. It works by programming measures, rather than patterns. But you do have two channels, so you could control another synth with it at the same time, and it has Sync24 in and out x2, as well as CV/Gate in/out (though the input is meant for programming not for playing).

It makes a good cheap alternative to a 303 I think. Underworld made good use of one.

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:57 pm
by hageir
why does it have to be a 101+303?
why can't it just be itself?
the Roland MC-202 in all it's glory? :P

Seriously though it looks cooler than it is, I had it for a while (mint + MIDI->DIN converter) and it was very simple (simple is good though)
but it just looks super-cool :oops:

maybe I was too thrilled because of it's looks that the sound+sequencer never stood a chance? haha

anyways, like I said; simple is good and if you can appreciate it, the MC-202 will be a super good synth

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:45 pm
by culturedslob
cool deal.

i just wasnt sure if it had some kind of reputation for being like a 'cheap imitation' or not.

i mean, ive seen some videos but obviously there was no way to measure its actual sound, like had i recorded it.

so, can the synthesizer part of the mc 202 be played with a midi controller or can it only be programmed in steps?

im sorry nathanscribe, im not sure i understand what you mean by the sequencer not being as flexible. what would you be able to do with a 303 that couldnt be done on a 202? what exactly is real time switching?

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:46 pm
by culturedslob
cool deal.

i just wasnt sure if it had some kind of reputation for being like a 'cheap imitation' or not.

i mean, ive seen some videos but obviously there was no way to measure its actual sound, like had i recorded it.

so, can the synthesizer part of the mc 202 be played with a midi keyboard controller or can it only be programmed in steps?

im sorry nathanscribe, im not sure i understand what you mean by the sequencer not being as flexible. what would you be able to do with a 303 that couldnt be done on a 202? what exactly is real time switching?

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:51 pm
by hageir
if you have a MIDI -> CV converter you can play it (but those things cost nearly as much as the MC-202 itself, but you can use it on other stuff in the future ;))

anyways, I've read that the arpeggiator on the SH-101 is more fun and the fact that it has keys is even better!

but the MC-202 sure looks cool :lol:
haha

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:07 pm
by hfinn
it does not have midi, but CV/Gate.

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:35 pm
by nathanscribe
culturedslob wrote:can the synthesizer part of the mc 202 be played with a midi keyboard controller or can it only be programmed in steps?

im sorry nathanscribe, im not sure i understand what you mean by the sequencer not being as flexible. what would you be able to do with a 303 that couldnt be done on a 202? what exactly is real time switching?
The CV/Gate inputs on the 202 were intended for programming the sequences with an external keyboard, so the input goes to the CPU, before being sent out to the analogue circuits. You might notice a slight delay between playing the keys and hearing the notes. Also, the CV is quantised this way, so pitch bends/glide are clumsy and stepped. Kenton and others make CV/Gate mod kits for the 202 which are connected direct to the analogue circuits, bypassing the CPU and therefore making it a properly playable synth via external devices.

The 202's sequencer must be stopped before advancing to another measure (measures can be looped) but you don't construct 'songs' from 'patterns' here - you do however construct songs from measures of the sequence. Whereas, on the 303, you construct short patterns that are then built into songs. Or, you can use both machines in a simple looped fashion, repeating one part continuously, but from what I remember you can switch patterns on the 303 while it's running. Hope that's not too confusing. Think of the 202's memory as a length of tape that you can program to jump from one part to another; think of the 303's sequences as separate bits of tape you can link together.

It's a long time since I had a 303, so somebody else could probably better explain it.

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:08 pm
by nuromantix
You would have to be crazy to try and replace an SH101 and a TB303 with and MC202.

MC202 is exactly the same sound as an SH101 but without white noise.
It has 2 additional features:
1. you can pre-delay the LFO before it is applied to the VCO or VCF, so that a note can start pure and then vibrato or wah gradualy fades in.
2. the sequencer has accent.

so it's less flexible than a 101 but the accent feature makes it more "acid" when you use the internal sequencer.

it doesn't have a keyboard so it's useless if you are a keyboard player.

As other posters have pointed out, all these synths are pre-midi and the 202's CV and GAT inputs don't work very well so you need to stick to the internal sequencer.

The internal sequencer on a 101 is incredibly quick and easy to use but has no accent.
The sequencer on a 202 is impossible to use but has accent. It really is a pain. There is a convoluted way to import a MIDI sequence to the 202 that somebody made, you can download it and it's called 202 hack. But forget the 202 for spur-of-the-moment sequencing, you need pieces of paper and headscratching or else you need a computer and some spare time.

The 303 is completely different to the other 2, different VCO and VCF. the sequencer is pattern-based and easy to understand after 5 minutes of learning it. The way the accent and slide features work combined with the way the sequencer is programmed make it easy to make acid patterns and if you just put in random stuff you'll get something cool 30% of the time.

Until recently I had all 3 but I just sold the 202. It's worth having if you haven't got a 101 and it's cheap. You could make a great record using a 202 and some other gear.... but it doesn't compare to a 303. It sounds cool but the 101 is better cos of the white noise and the keyboard and even though the 101 sequencer is less powerful it's far easier to use.

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:55 pm
by Mooger5
The sound engines of the 101 and 202 are identical except for the output stages. There´s something in the 101 that makes it slightly louder at high cut-off settings. In comparision the 202 sounds a bit more "controlled". This I think suits the 202 better for 303 emulation.

The 101 sequencer is fun to use but it´s not editable, unlike the 202´s. If you make a mistake you´ll have to start from the beginning. With only 100 notes/rests capacity (2600 for the 202) it´s not much of a problem anyway. But you can transpose sequences live, something the 202 doesn´t provide.
To play the Blade Runner sequence you just insert the basic four notes and make the key changes live on the 101. On the 202 you´ll have to insert all the 128 steps, but it´ll free your hands for sound-tweaking, play chords or whatever.

Something you have to live with when playing most Roland synths, is the portamento/slide time . If you set it to slide from say C3 to F#3 at a given time, it´ll take the double amount to reach from C3 to C4.
With Moog synths (and others, I believe) the glide time is always the same whether from C3 to D3 or to C5. It´s much more musical. If I remember correctly the TB-303 also had the same feature.

When running 101 or 202 sequences at 120-135 BPMs their portamento times are generally only useful between the 0 and 1-2 positions. Personally as I´m not interested in 5 second slides one mod I´d do would be to swap the time capacitor for one of a much lesser value, allowing for more resolution.

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:23 am
by tim gueguen
nurmantix wrote:
You could make a great record using a 202 and some other gear
Much of the early Severed Heads stuff is MC202 combined with Korg MS20, SH101, and other bits and bobs.

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:59 am
by culturedslob
well i geuss since that the 202 wouldnt handle a keyboard controller so well i think im back onto the 101. live music is a huge part of what im trying to do here in time, so i think ill probably get my hands on the sh101 before a 202.

in time id like to have the 303 too, and eventually an ms 20. the external signal processor is too cool.

i really appreciate such a large amount of responses!!!
thanks guys

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:45 am
by voltageHead
so what notes are for the blade runner seq?
that sounds cool.
i got a sh101 i like doing 4 note seqs.
they sound crazy.

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:53 pm
by Mooger5
C-C-D-D#. Transpose to G, D, F and C. Very simple. It´s 256 notes, not 128 actually. The only way to play the entire sequence on the 101 is using the transpose function.
May not be in exact key.
I´m on holidays, away from home, so this was made with the laptop running Live and two instances of Synth1.

http://w15.easy-share.com/1700794904.html

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:12 pm
by Soundwave
You can have the MC202 modded with 303 like decay/filter/VCA accent if you know the right dude. :wink: