Roland MC-500 mkII

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CalvinAndHobbes
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Roland MC-500 mkII

Post by CalvinAndHobbes » Sun May 01, 2016 9:34 pm

Just curious if the Roland MC-500 mkII sequencer can do note-by-note step sequencing (inputting chords as well). Really want a hardware sequencer that can step sequence and can be programmed to handle different time signatures. Have no interest in real time recording at all. The 500mkII and 50mkII seem pretty similar. Does anyone have a recommendation between the two? I know the MC-80, QY700 and RS7000 are leagues beyond them, but they are also way more expensive. Just want to be able to sequence 8 or more tracks via step sequencing, and play with different time signatures. Thanks

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ninja6485
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Re: Roland MC-500 mkII

Post by ninja6485 » Mon May 02, 2016 2:54 pm

I have an mc500mkI, and yes it can do note by note step editing. The microscope mode is a dedicated mode specifically for this purpose, as well as other step editing functions. I haven't looked into the mc50, but I think the 500mkII is the most advanced. My 50mkI has to load every new function from a disk, which is annoying, but workable (whereas the QX3 that accompanies it is a more powerful sequencer that does not do this, and was about the same price). I'm not sure if the mkII overcomes this shortcoming. If I were you, I would look closely at the Yamaha QX3 over the MC500. I should also point out the QX is much better built than the roland. My mc500 suffers from the famous bad buttons that plague old roland gear - sometimes double triggering, sometimes not working at all unless you really work at it. Not sure if this is a cleaning / maintenance issue resulting from it's life before entering my domain, but it seems to be common in some form or other among most of my roland gear from that time period. This makes it even more annoying, although the sequencer itself is fun to use when you get into it. I have also experienced that not all of the disks that it formats are as reliable as the QX3, and mine uses a different form of floppy (which may be an additional cause as well).

As a side bar:
One of the strengths of the MC500 is the ryhtm track. This is basically a drum machine sequencer that will allow you to place notes in TR style while the sequence loops. It has normal drum maschine note range seemingly based on a TR707 + TR727. This feature is extremely usable for at least being able to hear the rhythm in real time, and edit note spacing like a TR. It is then possible to copy the rhythm track to a normal track, and then use the microscope editor to change the notes into whatever melody or chord progression youre creating. It's almost 303 like in that the note information and time information are distinct, and it is very reminiscent of programing a 303.

One tip if youre working with samplers: you can program 8 velocity levels in the rhythm track by hitting numbers 1 to 8 as the step. In your sampler (or synth with this capability), you can assign 8 different pitched notes to each midi note, so that by playing the same C2 at each different velocity triggers pitches from C to G#, or whatever tones you choose. This lets you compose a specific melody/ harmony in real time, to bring the mc more along the lines of a groovebox. If you then want that to become standard midi notes, simply take note of what notes your melody is, compy the ryhtm pattern to a normal track, enter the appropriate note information (as you notmally would), and then adjust the velocity accordingly.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

CalvinAndHobbes
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Re: Roland MC-500 mkII

Post by CalvinAndHobbes » Tue May 03, 2016 9:00 pm

Thanks for the response ninja.

-You said the 50mkI needs to load each function from a disk. Did you mean the 500mkI? Was this a typo?

-I will keep an eye out for the QX3. It seems very rare on ebay and reverb.

-To clarify: The rhythm track of the 500mkII is not just for drums? It sequences pitch like some sort of combination of 202/303/707 sequencing?

The goal is to step sequence full songs from several synthesizers and drum machines. Not just 1 bar, 16 step, or 32 step loops.

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ninja6485
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Gear: Virus Ti, Jx-8p, Juno 60, Radias, Maschine, 101,303,606,707,727,808,909, odyssey, mirage, akai s5K/s2K/s1k, drumtraks, E6400ult, M1R, rx5, fizmo,d50
Band: Lyra, The Sun Worshipers
Location: Exton/ westchester

Re: Roland MC-500 mkII

Post by ninja6485 » Wed May 04, 2016 1:22 pm

CalvinAndHobbes wrote:You said the 50mkI needs to load each function from a disk. Did you mean the 500mkI? Was this a typo?
Oops! Yes, I have the mc500mkI
CalvinAndHobbes wrote:-I will keep an eye out for the QX3. It seems very rare on ebay and reverb.
I know - there was just one up for a great price, and I thought about grabbing it to have a second one, but I didn't want to start hording them.

CalvinAndHobbes wrote:-To clarify: The rhythm track of the 500mkII is not just for drums? It sequences pitch like some sort of combination of 202/303/707 sequencing?
The rhythm track is designed only to be used for drums, but you can copy and paste it to the other tracks. It only has something like an octave, or maybe a little less or something like that, which correspond to the midi mapping of the 707 and 727. The method I described earlier (using velocity levels in conjunction with these few notes) is basically just an idea for how to exploit this to help with sequence editing, and this is not exactly how the rhythm track was intended to function. The track normally works exactly the way a drum machine works.
CalvinAndHobbes wrote:The goal is to step sequence full songs from several synthesizers and drum machines. Not just 1 bar, 16 step, or 32 step loops.
This is exactly where this style of sequencer excels!
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

CalvinAndHobbes
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Re: Roland MC-500 mkII

Post by CalvinAndHobbes » Fri May 06, 2016 2:28 am

A very specific question ninja: with the 50/500/QX3, can you tie notes of different pitches together via step sequencing? Say, you want to tie C3 and D4 together (I ask this very specific question, because if you sequence tied notes together with a Bass Station II and set the BS2 Triggering to "autoglide" it creates 303 style glides. This also works with the Volca Bass). Or can you only tie together notes of the same value, to extend their duration? from say a quarter note to a half note. Thanks for everything ninja you've been a huge help!

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Re: Roland MC-500 mkII

Post by MC 500 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:16 am

Hi,
i am also interested in knowing how to copy the rhythm tracks of the MRD-500 Rhythm Bank Software package demosongs to tracks 1-4 in order to modify them with my Waldorf MicroQ synth. The manual for MRC 500 OS is of no help here.

Thanks in advance and best regards from Berlin,
Tim

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