Synth Site: roland: MC-505: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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Jimmy a professional user from Melbourne, Land of Oz writes:
I owned a 505 for about 2 1/2 years. Here are some issues I had with it...

On board fx processor is absolutely abominable (and they hid the ring modulator WHERE?). The slicer is alright (if you're into that sorta thing), but suffers from lack of any gain functionality and you often end up having to drop the volume of the rest of your mix to compensate. The gated 'verb is alright for industrial sounds. Looooow-fi. Seperate delay and verb is a definate plus.

3 Stereo outs, but you loose all your effects on any signal you wanna send out of 3/4 & 5/6! What's up with that???

The filter sounds cheap and nasty, but in all fairness it CAN be used to create some nice effects - run a pad chord, crank the res and sweeeep that cutoff freq... yum (if you think you will be able to reproduce mad classic synth sounds on this box, it 'aint gonna happen. The 505 is a sample based digi-synth, thru and thru).

Individual part sliders - nice Megamix function is nice!

The thing has a nasty tendancy to crash on you when you enter step record mode - yes, I upgraded my ROM version, no, it didn't fix the problem. Yes, I've tried other 505s but encountered the same problem.

If you push the processing power of this machine too hard, it starts to freak out. If you think you're going to fill up all the parts, throw control changes at it left right and centre and get some killer acid riffs with nice tight portamento happening, think again. Even when you select the "note & bend" function for the D-Beam and move your hand over it too fast you can hear the processor wheezing away like an asthmatic ant with a heavy load of shopping (if I wanted a glissando, I would've asked for it!). You expect as such from a TR-909, NOT a "state-of-the-art" piece of audio hardware.

The analogue style modeling functionality on this machine is straight forward and easy to use (if a little time consuming). Very cool for makin' sound effects.

The knobs and buttons (ESPECIALLY the part mute buttons) are cheap, plasticy and get busted with the ease.

The thing looks like a toy (but beauty is only skin deep, right?).

Some of the menu items could have been replaced with knob dual functionality. What would've been wrong with having a toggle button on the LFO to access LFO 2? Too much wading thru menus.. uch! (same problem with the Virus!).

Cannot record continuous control changes in song mode. It IS a performance box, but ir you're gonna have a song edit mode, why exclude such an important feature?

Infinite spin (relative positioning) on the filter control & LFO knobs would have been infinitely better. If you are playing live and you change pattern/patch, you'd better hope and pray that your patch settings are somewhere close to where the knobs are sitting before you start a-tweakin'!

The overall end sound quality is average, very muddy running thru a large system - like I said, it does have 3 stereo outs, but you lose your effects!! ARgh! "But if you run it thru external effetcs & dynamics bla bla bla...". If you've got that kind of cash, get dedicated hardware!

The sequencer is very flexible.

The 505 is good for making all kinds of music, not just bangin' tekkers (The pianos, organs and pads sound pretty sweet - uses many waves from the 1080?).

I don't care what anyone says, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get good punchy bass out of this machine (I wasted many an hour of my life trying to model bass sounds just way I wanted 'em, but to no avail). Anyone who says otherwise obviously doesn't have any other decent gear to compare it to. If you want fat analogue bass, get a fat analogue synth.

Can apply effects/panning etc to individual component of a drum kit without much stress - I like!

Virtually impossible to find a MC-505 device driver for Cubase. Ended up writing my own.

Very easy to just turn on and start bangin' out tracks.

Conclusion for anyone looking at buying one:

Great for beginners, but if you are serious about your music, you'd be much better off looking elsewhere. Sure you can make some wicked tunes on the 505, but it just doesn't cut the mustard compared to what else is available. When you hear someone jump on stage with a 505, then hear a similar Joe go on after with an array of dedicated gear, there's absolutely no contest (yes, it IS a fair comment, the 505 is meant to be an all-in-one box). I'm not trying to say "the gear makes the music", but it's like somebody else said somewhere else on this board, you could be the best race car driver in the world, but if you're driving a heap, you're gonna get beat (or words to that effect).

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Dec-20-2001 at 05:51
JD-e a hobbyist user from USA writes:
The mc 505 really is a toy but is it more than that? Take the sounds: too mediocre. no great snares, weak analogs, rides-hihats are a joke... but all these things can be fixed with good effects, which it doesn`t have: the reverb is MUD! The delay (only 1 can be assigned per channel) doesn`t tweak (which doesn`t let you create delayed fill-ins,for example). There is a cool compressor though. The sequencer is limited The synths are quite, but not totally, fake -You can make better ones with VST-instruments The synth module is ok, but miles away from a synth at the same price.

I see all these things in my house but on lives this thing rocks! all you need is the MC and a sampler and you can kick ass! many knobs, lots of tweaking, good filters,and Stability -> Very important so I don`t know about this one, folks I really don`t

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-Nov-23-2001 at 15:59
Alex van Vendeloo a part-time user from Holland writes:
If you are a DJ and/or a starting dance musician I recommend this piece. Sound quality is excellent (JV-1080 engine) and you can make complete productions with it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Nov-11-2001 at 10:00
Tim a hobbyist user writes:
I've had my MC-505 for a couple of years now. I won't attempt to compare it to other grooveboxes because I haven't used them. I think when you look at this box you have to consider all of the elements it offers - ROMpler, drum machine, effects, part mixer, real time control, built in patterns, etc. I think many detractors of this box leave out the integration work that is done here. For example, it's so easy to record a pattern, tweak over it changing filter cut-off or resonance (or both) and save the whole thing. People also knock the preset patterns. While you may not use these patterns as they are, they DO provide a good starting point or as a problem solving aid. I've used these patterns many times as a "how'd they do that?" type of reference for a certain drum feel. I think this box is useful as well in that you could use just certain elements without others. A lot of thought has gone into its design - for example, the drum kits using the same key mapping allows you to cycle through kits to see which sounds best as you listen to a groove. I think the sounds are good. I also have an Alesis Andromeda which is clearly more analog - this doesn't rule out the 505 sounds. Sure, they're sampled but there are many that sound good and the synthesis engine is good enough to make severe edits. How many people have really dug into the various constructs offered? I know they're just JV 1080 architecture but the 505 offers this architechture integrated into the groovebox user interface making the whole package easy. I like this box and it's any important part of my set up. You may prefer another groovebox but I don't think you can really take away from what the 505 offers.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Oct-04-2001 at 12:13
writes:
I have owned a mc505 for over two years and have to say the analog drums are quite weak compared to the originals,however to buy this as a drum machine would be completrely missing the point,sit down with this machine and within 20 minutes of scuplturing and filtering your sounds you become to realise just how powerfull this piece of equipment is,and it has a midi spec to die for 5 out 5 no question!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Oct-03-2001 at 13:03
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