Synth Site: Roland: MC-303: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.7 out of 5
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Adam Wonak a hobbyist user from Illinois writes:
I have had this nifty little box for a while now and I have to say I am pretty pleased with it. First of all, I really like the drum kits. That is mainly what I use it for now. I recently got a new effects processor (peavey deltaefx 5/5!!!) and have aquired a new feeling for the synth sounds. Even though it has a delay/reverb and flanger/chorus built in, they are kinda cheezy. but now that I have much more powerful effects to put on top of the sound, it has become more lively and original. However there are some sound that are really cool without any effects. But this is definatly a toy compared to some other machines I have played with (nord lead2, access virus, gotta love thoes beasts) but for someone who dosent want to dish out the $900+ for a monster synth, this is a simple box. I payed about $300 for mine and am pleased with it. On the negtive side, the only onboard way to change the sounds is through the cuttoff & frequency knobs along with the cheesy effects. So basicly you are stuck with the sounds you are given.

Over all, I like the drums and some of the sounds, but dont like the limited sound editing so I give it a 4/5.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-May-18-2001 at 04:12
from USA writes:
I just picked up a used MC-303 a couple of days ago. I haven't had too much experience with the newer Roland products since I tend to buy vintage analog equipment most of the time, as well as the newer analog modeling synths. I just had a question I was wondering if someone could help me out with. Maybe I'm just used to analog modeling, but it seems that the effects on this machine aren't very powerful. For example, the delay, chorus, flange just don't seem as strong as one would expect them to be. Is that just the nature of the beast or could there be something wrong with my machine? I did buy it used afterall.

From what I've done with the machine so far all I can say is you get what you pay for. However for the price and what it can do I'd say it's a good bet. While it's not the most powerful machine on the market, I do think that if you mix it in with some more powerful synths you can get some good results.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-May-15-2001 at 13:38
judex a part-time user from Australia writes:
I love that comment about so much controversy about such a little box!

I picked up one second hand a couple of months ago and I feel I haven't even begun to scratch the surface. I'm taking it on holidays soon with a pair of headphones to really get to grips with step sequencing. Step sequencing is basically a skill to be learned like everything else and if you hear some of Norman Cook's TR-909 beats you get an idea of how it can be mastered.

My gripe is that so much memory is taken up by totally naff preset sequences and there's not as much room left for user sequences.

Nevertheless, it's great for laying a rhythm instrument on each track, then creating variations with the mute function.

As for the sounds, there are some really good sounding presets amongst those god-awful trumpets (why do manufacturers insist on laying on crappy brass sounds all the time). The first night I had the machine I laid down some really, really nice pads with the MC-303.

As for everyone who slags the sounds on cheaper gear - my favourite bassline ever was created on my trusty Yamaha CS-01, I think this was the cheapest analogue kit ever.

I think too many people think this machine is going to give them a hit song 10 minutes after they unpack it. Sadly, with whatever gear you have, it takes a bit of blood sweat and tears to produce something great.

For anyone who hasn't much cash for a computer, software mixer and outboard gear, a second hand MC-303 is a brilliant place to start.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-09-2001 at 03:48
microflip a part-time user from alpha space station writes:
fact is that many beginners buy this box because of it's affordability. i agree that it's a great tool for learning the basics of step sequencing and so on....but why spend $400.00 on a piece of gear that you'll outgrow in a short time? nowadays, there are so many software programs that'll teach you these basics and then some. what sold me on this box was the fact that it boasted 909/808/303 sounds etc... and that it can be an all-in-one machine. after 18 months trying to incorporate this box into a live dj set and producing original work to burn on cd's, i (as i think many others have) hit a brick wall. the 909/808 samples suck considering they're coming from roland direct. why do i feel this way? well, i recently purchased a dj-70 sampling workstation and the entire roland drum sound libraries and the mc303 NEVER thumped the tr808 bass kick like my dj-70. why is that? someone has to know the answer to that!! does one need to tweak the mc's knobs? apparently these are the same samples! my guess is that the mc's tone generator is weak. tb303 emulation - i think not! no way in hell have i heard anyone tweak this box to sound anything remotely like a tb303. if it's possible, then i would imagine that it would be attainable by someone with extensive programming experience. don't believe the hype! the groovebox is not going to do everything, or even a portion of what's needed for making music. do i regret buying it? no. do i regret selling? hell no! truth is that i probably would never have realized the hard work and complexity involved in producing dance and i never would have put forth the effort to gather a collection of quality equipment. if you're thinking about buying one of these and you're not sure whether to go the hard or soft route, email me and i would be more than willing to send anyone free full versions of software that might help you in making a more informed decision.

Rating: 1 out of 5 posted Tuesday-May-01-2001 at 10:16
I've been involved with music since 5th grade. Have a degree in music performance, making techno and house since 1983. Since the technology has made wannabes increase in number, you now have the guy that will talk about how cheap the gear is and how it's good for "beginner" or the guy who says it's not a good machine because of presets and the guy who says I'm so good I don't need presets. None of these things really give you any info. What they are a sign of most is lack of programming skill, lack of musicianship and big egos as they try to break their arm patting themselves on the back by trying to appear to know more than they really do. Gear like the DJX, DR-202, MC-303 may be on the inexpensive end, but the truth is, dropping $300-$500 for some gear is still expensive for many people. These are not toys. They're electronic music gear made to fit in a tight budget. But trust me, if you have the creativity, ingenuity and programming skill, you'd be surprised what you can do. I never tell people what I use, 'cause first they are all like "oh my god!!! How did you do that???!?!" When I tell them what I use the prejudice sinks in. Then they have a different opinion... or don't believe me and think I'm lying and don't want to tell them what I really use. If you can afford to drop $2000 on gear and can get something that does everything for you and makes you a total non-programmer and non-musician, then fine do that. But there is nothing wrong with taking your time, spending some time with a MC-303 everyday to learn how to tweak it. Have some patience, read the manual and explore the equipment thoroughly. Hell Playstation One lasted 5 years because programmers got better and made better games... not because they got better equipment... think about it. For $400 new... let's be honest that is still expensive. But if that is your budget and you are not a lazy s.o.b., then the MC-303 is a great buy. Guess who said, "if some guy is getting paid to make presets, then I'm gonna use them"?? Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Apr-26-2001 at 01:19
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