Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

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Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by MIDI_Thru_Kid » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:28 pm

Ok, looking for a dedicated hardware sequencer again, and with some research stumbled upon the Roland MC 50. 40,000 notes, 8 tracks, good polyphony...

The thing that got me is this: 40,000 notes. I plan on arranging techno music of many genres using this gear. I also plan on making some pure 80's cheese with this and a Motif XS rack. Is 40,000 notes REALLY enough? I mean, for a hardcore techno song, like 6-10 minutes long? Does this include drums as well? Although, I'll probably have my EMX-1 synced up with the MC 50 through midi, seeing as how it's a decent sequencer for drums and some synth by itself.

Ok, 8 tracks, 40,000 notes, etc, etc. Those of you who know this thing/own it, etc, PLEASE help me out on this.

I'm also looking at other MC's too. I have seen many of these Sequencers go UNDER $100 up to a MAX of $200 on the bay, believe it or not, so that's my range for pricing.

Thanks!
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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by PPG_HOSHII! » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:32 am

I have some experience using the MC-50 as well as Rolands MC-500 mk1 from late 1986.
Long songs should be no problem because you can always store more songs on separate disk. Keep in mind that pitch bending steals away notes, but yeah, 40,000 is more than you might imagine. Reading through the manual is crucial and Roland manuals from that time period can be a little hard to understand due to translation errors.
I sold my Roland's last year and bought an Atari ST for under $50, the sequencer programs for those are wonderful and I do prefer seeing everything on a big monitor opposed to the tiny MC screens.

If space is an issue, I would suggest the MC-50, just keep in mind you will need to read the manual entirely to get all the features out of the sequencer. They are good machines, I just hate the manuals.

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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:33 pm

The MC50 was the last and fully featured of the family (MC500, MC300). There were two versions, the mkII being preferable.

40,000 events is really quite a lot...current top of the line MPCs max out at only 100,000 events and you don't hear about people running out of memory. You can also use block repeat (loop between two locate points) and track muting to stretch that 40K events quite a bit.
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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by Altitude » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:31 pm

I suggest you try one before you buy one. It is VERY different from how you are probably used to sequencing.

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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by MIDI_Thru_Kid » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:31 pm

Thanks for the responses! Yeah, I guess I never realized how much that is... What do you mean pitch bending takes away notes? It takes up much more notes/memory/events? I guess that makes sense, because I own MIDI-OX, and when I hook up any of my synths to the computer, I tracks the midi events that occur. And pitch bending makes the event list go WILD. LOTS of messages being sent there, I'm guessing because the MIDI language has to sort of make sense of all that stuff going on and sorta traslate it or quantize it.
Altitude wrote:I suggest you try one before you buy one. It is VERY different from how you are probably used to sequencing.
Yes, that WOULD be ideal, but with ebay I can't try it out. It doesn't look like anyone on craigslist has one, either.

Ok, Ok, sweet, and I have access to 3.5" floppies. This is looking pretty good.

Well, now another question: What about the Yamaha RM1x? It takes floppies as well, and is more dance-oriented. The thing is (something I've learned fro mmy other posts) that the RM1x has bugs? Something like changing the voice parameters sparatically or something along those lines mayber? I dunno. I like the fact that the RM1x is easier to understand (sorta setup like an Electribe, as far as I know), but I like the simplicity of a RAW, DEDICATED Hardware sequencer.

I have access to an MC-50 mkII. It has the capacity of 100,000 notes! I think I'll go for that one. You REALLY can't beat the prices I'm seeing for this gear, which is like $150 SHIPPED to my location! This stuff is cheap because it's being replaced by software, methinks.

Ok, cool. So the MC-50 mkII would be good for my applications?

1. LONG House Music (maybe live stuff???)
2. Acid House
3. 80's cheese

?

Thanks for your input guys, REALLY appreciate it. :D
-Alex

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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by Altitude » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:17 pm

rm1x is great for loop based stuff. The MC stuff is a much more linear sequencer and a pain to program until you fully get it. There is a reason this stuff is cheap, no one wants it. I would be look to a RS7000 or a Emu command station, much better sequencers all around.

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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:20 am

Altitude wrote:he MC stuff is a much more linear sequencer and a pain to program until you fully get it. There is a reason this stuff is cheap, no one wants it.
You don't program linear sequences, that's the whole point...you just hook up a keyboard, play into a track, then play into the next track, etc. The reason most people don't want MCs any more is that modern workstations have sequencers just as powerful onboard. In the MCs heyday workstations like the Korg M1 and Ensoniq ESQ-1 did not have the deep editing tools or floppy storage to compete and the MC was a lot cheaper than PCs of the era.

What makes the RM1X better for dance is the two sequencing modes, pattern and song. You can translate back and forth between the two. Pattern mode is not necessarily step sequenced but can be. You build up short sequences (up to 256 bars I think) and then have up to 16 of these that you then can chain together to build songs, sort of like a drum machine. Once you have the chain worked out you can convert it to a song. You can also take sections of songs and convert them back into patterns. It's really very flexible since you are not locked into one method or the other just because that's all the hardware allows.

The RS7000 takes the RM1X concept and expands upon it by offering sampling fully integrated with the sequencer. Yamaha still uses this sequencer architecture in the Motif series.
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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by MIDI_Thru_Kid » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:25 am

Hmm... the RM1x is looking better for my application. I can't find Yamaha RS7000's on ebay anymore. And when I do, they are $1000. No joke.

So, what about the RM1x's "bugs"?
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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by Altitude » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:07 am

MIDI_Thru_Kid wrote:Hmm... the RM1x is looking better for my application. I can't find Yamaha RS7000's on ebay anymore. And when I do, they are $1000. No joke.

So, what about the RM1x's "bugs"?
The original firmware had some issue with sending program changes to external equipment. I had the final software on mine (it is on an EEPROM, you cant software update it) and didnt have any issues nor can I elaborate on the bug itself not having ever dealt with it. I had no problems driving my drum machine, sampler, and several synths with it (I never even used the internal sounds). The RS is the big brother and has some further improvements but there is nothing in the original that I would call a show stopper and I really dug it. Very loop oriented and very "playable" if that makes any sense. It almost reminds me of ableton in a way where you can fire off loops in time right off the triggers

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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by MIDI_Thru_Kid » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:53 am

Ah, ok. Hey, thanks for the insight.

Ok, I might just go for an RM1x, then.....
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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by volumetrik » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:48 am

MIDI_Thru_Kid wrote: Ok, Ok, sweet, and I have access to 3.5" floppies. This is looking pretty good.
With the MC-50MKII you can't just use any floppy, you have to find MF2-DD which are rare, check ebay good luck

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Re: Roland MC-50 MIDI Sequencer? Good for techno?

Post by MIDI_Thru_Kid » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:09 am

Wow. That just killed it for me.

I'll be looking for an RM1x, then when I need a sequencer.

Thanks all. :D
-Alex

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