Synth Site: Roland: MC-909: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.7 out of 5
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lord vader a part-time user from The Bushco Holdings writes:
The MC-909 is a very vexing creature. It really does sound nice. A very crisp, clear "crystalline" sort of sound. Many of its synth patches are excellent.

But there are problems - problems that people should be aware of before they get stuck with this monster.

First, the sampler is not really that usable. The MC-909's sampler lacks KEYZONES, so you can either place 1 "tone" across the entire keyboard, or you can create a "rhythm set" that allows ONE TONE PER NOTE from C1 to C2. Limited. Very limited. Maybe okay for what you want to do, but I've had problems because of this. Also in the sampler domain - the only supported sampling rate is 44.1 KHZ. No resampling to lower rates, which is an oft-used creative tool here. The MC-909 is not really a sampler.

In a move that I consider to be particularly unfair, Roland has "unbundled" most of their best drum and synth waveforms and forced you to buy their $300 expansion card to get decent drum sounds. The truth is that the MC-909's stock drum sounds are not very good, and are what I would call "self-consciously modern". Meaning that they're flagrantly rap/hip-hop/pop oriented. This is really a serious problem. Note that the MC-909 ships with 693 waveforms, but the "Supreme Dance" expansion provides OVER 800 MORE waveforms. And a lot of those are simply missing 808/909 sounds that really should have been shipped with the MC-909. This a brutally opportunistic Roland scam. You will need the SRX-05 "expander" to get decent drum sounds out of the MC-909. Or, you can provide your own sounds. That's what I'm working on.

All in all, I would say that this is one of the more "unfinished" Roland products I've seen in a while. The MC-909 sounds very nice and is stable, but the software implementation and sound set are both grossly lacking. My MC-505 has a better soundset, a better manual, and a more complete software implementation. I was hoping the MC-909 would be an upgrade, but it wasn't at all. I want to sell my MC-909, but I haven't figured out whether I really should.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Dec-27-2006 at 15:58
JohnyC a professional user from NyC/Nj writes:
The 909 is a great adition to any set-up. THe synth engine seems so shallow at first glance but dive into it, and alot can be accomplished. If your adding this to other gear, you will be very happy. If it's your only piece, you may be better off with a Mac and software. But honestly, great things can be had with this box with some work and a decent knoledge of synths and sound.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-22-2006 at 14:51
brett reynolds a hobbyist user from england writes:
My machine keeps on crashing sound carries on but nothing works.you save a track turn off when you come to turn on again the track you spent time on is completley different.Im an sure it is sending me bald computers are the way to go for me the 909 is too expensive for all the bugs it comes with. Looks good on ya shelf though. i would rather own one of these than a morecroft

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Saturday-Sep-09-2006 at 21:34
Ya boy a professional user from USA writes:
I used the MC 909. I have had the Mc 307 and 505. I have other equipment to include a Motif 6 and a Korg(Pick a model). I think if you are into groove boxes, this is one of the better one's out. The one problem I have with is that it is so big. Otherwise, I feel that the auto chop feature and the sampling capabilites are great. So sometimes, the 6 and 13 track won't mute at the same time. Don' put sounds on it that you need to mute at the same time. Grow up. I am more than certain that within most of our studio setup, we run into technical problems. I would suggest this groove box to anyone.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Aug-26-2006 at 11:36
Pimpbot2000 a hobbyist user from USA writes:
THE GOOD: Excellent interface, good XV rompler synthesis that can do some amazing stuff to samples, good sequencing, good construction, generous port options (digital spdif +optical, usb, mix out, 4 assignable ouputs, etc), great effects with resampling.

Now for THE BAD: OS Bugs. Alot of them, but the biggies are 1) Patterns "drop out", esp in Song Mode. What happens is when 2 or more patterns are chained, there's a very noticeable audio dropout, similar to the gaps you get when switching patches on many modern keyboards (why my 20 year old Ensoniq gear doesn't do this is another issue). It does this even if your effects settings are the same and patch has sustain. For something that costs 1400 US new and is touted as an all-in-one workstation. 2)*RPS (Realtime Phrase) doesn't work. According to the manual and pro reviews (no doubt bought and paid for by Roland) you can save your own progressions/sounds to User RPS banks. Except they don't save. I've tried everything, so have others. Fantom owners have a similar RPS bug. A big deal for live users. 3) On latest OS, if you try to mute/unmute tracks 6 and 13 simultaneously, only one or the other will activate. This is another problem live if you want to use all 16 tracks (and who doesn't). There are a few niggles like no User banks for custom made effects, but really, the BUGS are the most important issue which Roland need to address.

The MC909 is a MOSTLY good product, but the unresolved OS issues that come with most Roland equipment nowadays makes me reluctant to recommend it to anyone, especially someone wanting to use it live or as a center piece. Makes me reluctant to recommend ANY Roland gear, really. This is a company that's beginning to become synonymous with unresolved bugs and poor support/communication/documentation.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Feb-13-2006 at 11:12
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