Synth Site: Roland: MC-09 Phraselab: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.2 out of 5
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sparky from sparky town writes:
listen people, the MC09 gives u both saw and square waveforms for making classic 303ish junk. heres the thing,u have to read the manual! select bass than hold shift & pad 16 and turn vintage mode on! boom! u get vintage 303 mode! only saw/square waveforms available and only the knobs work just like the ultra limited original. add this along with the numerous va models in this machine and u have formidable monosynth.

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jul-22-2004 at 01:44
matrix writes:
Just arrived in the mail today. Picked it up for $99 used and in near mint shape. Crap loads of fun and that bass; whether it sounds like a real 303 or not, it is insanely tasty. Most fun I've had in a long time. It's toy fun, but something tells me if you wanted to make tracks with it, you'd get good use with it. The loop functionality is addictively simple. When you bring up a patch you can select either the Bass, Lead, Rythm or Effect sequences. What ever you have selected will play on its own and you can use the knobs to tweak away. When you have a seqence you like, you hit the capture button which starts flashing along with the track buttons. You press the select button under any of the four tracks to select the track you want to record to. Then you hit and hold the blinking capture button for as long as you want the sample. If you hold it indefinitely the button's light will turn off when the full loop is recorded. You can then adjust the volume and/or mute that loop as you want - it will continue to play what you recorded until you record over it, so you can go ahead and flip through other sequences. When you find something you want to layer just repeat with the remaining tracks. Eventually you end up with a prettly full five track sequence going with leads, bass and rhythm seqences of your choice. It's insanely fun, simple and sounds pretty damn good. Definitely a surprise box. I originally dismissed it as another crap Roland groove box that looked like a 70's answering machine with cheap plastic knobs. Too my surprise it's actually a pretty good piece of gear. Reminds me of the ER-1 as another missed sleeper of a groovebox. It's a cool surprise to find that something you originally thought was crap is actually pretty good and loads of fun. Definitely worth checking out; definitely addictive fun.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-20-2004 at 23:53
Uncle Alien-Image x a part-time user writes:
Only 22 reviews here? Good this li'l monster should remain a best keep secret in the underground Music world..I stashed away 2 of them MIB and use them on almost everything I write, along with several Synths added like the under-rated microKORG..I can gently tweek a patch and keep building up an orchastrative piece that will seem to blow away the competition..I won't get technical here... It means business ..TB-303 like in nature and mean. It produces hardcore at 140+B PM I get some good guitar like emulation too..I use a MIDI link to a Zoom MRT-3 and cut the drums from the 09 this leaves the 4+1+input the main level channel to tweek on the fly is there...This is recorded as a main backing track line then, I layer on the mad guitars and other synths..I use a Roland audio capture device and Cakewalk pro to finish up the master.Relative learning curve for what it does. Samples best with a MIDI input devices and saved on the Smart cards..It is real SCI-FI stuff I have most of the groove box gear so I compare this to them Awesome when learned not really mastered but USED.. ..want to hear it FREAK out?(Goes subsonic too)Lets walk the walk enough talk..a tune's worth a thousand jabbers and bad reviews.. These are on and one went #16 main hardcore techno..I have tried other DSP stuff but this would be an edge, the Roland MC-09 underground Gear as it is now known to us, like it's Grandfather was the TB-303 Peace...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Apr-19-2004 at 14:25
chad a part-time user from USA writes:
I do minimalist/ambient stuff and have found this to be a decent box, especially if you're using another instrument with it (for ex., I get some loops going, then use guitar thru the 09's onboard FX). I plan to get a full live ambient set out of the 09 and my guitar alone, so I'm happy with it. BUT this thing definitely has its limitations, so unless you're someone who gets inspired by limits (or has lots of other gear) you shouldn't spend your money on this thing.

If you DO have lots of other gear, only get the 09 if you need 1) a monosynth designed with basslines/oldskool leads in mind and/or 2) a sampler that can easily capture brief loops on the fly. Be aware--the sequencer has only 32 steps (2 measures), and you can only get a max of 6 seconds of music onto each sampled loop.

One key to squeezing useful sounds outta this thing is a slog through the manual, which is written every bit as badly as previous posts here have said. But I spent several hours on a plane flight forcing myself thru it, and it's not completely indecipherable; it just has too little cross-referencing (make your own notes!), and does a poor job of telling you what is NOT possible to do simultaneously. I also still do not have any idea how many loops, patterns, etc. will fit onto a Smartcard of given memory capacity, so if someone has explored this please hit me up.

Pluses/what's easy: Loop capturing and merging is a snap. Four loops of 6 seconds each, and you can merge loops, apply FX and resample as often as you like. Applying the 09's onboard FX to loops and outside sound sources is a good use for this box even if you don't use the synth at all. If you do, it's got 128 synth waves (few FX are built into the waves themselves, but the sounds CAN be modified--hit [shift] 1 thru 16 while the pattern is playing and you can adjust lotsa parameters; this is mentioned--but NOT highlighted--in the manual). This box is good if you like to have loops playing while 1) you put an outside sound source thru the 09's FX or 2) you play a monosynth line/pattern. Now being sold for $150 retail and probably way less on eBay, which makes it worth the risk. 

Minuses: A monosynth (with no square wave, yeah that sux). You gotta program the sequencer step-by-step, rather than just hitting record and playing a pattern like you can with an Electribe. NO reverb OR delay; this is a bitch; but it can be programmed around somewhat with creative use of accents. "Loop control" looks nifty but the manual's obscurities have kept me from using this feature so far. Only has RCA inputs, so if you've got 1/4" input cables like I do get ready for a trip to Radio Shack. Very little internal memory, which can only save synth melodies, onboard drum sounds, or FX settings (i.e., NOT sampled loops; need a Smartcard for that). It takes forever (1-3 minutes) to load a loop from a Smartcard, and to make matters worse, while you're loading a loop the 09 has to stand COMPLETELY idle: can't use FX, can't use the synth. No song mode. No way to lock the tempo without syncing the 09 to MIDI. Drum sounds are cheesy and few.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Dec-30-2003 at 11:40
Arghhh!!!! writes:
Curses, why is there no Square wave on this bloody thing, it's only got a saw and a triangle wave, are Roland stupido or what?

So much for TB emulation, as a square wave gives you a much more solid acid bass.

posted Sunday-Dec-28-2003 at 09:28
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