MATRIXSYNTH: Roland MC-202 w/ Mods & Manual

Monday, May 10, 2021

Roland MC-202 w/ Mods & Manual

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"If you’re looking at this, you already know it sounds fantastic, the analog guts of an OG Roland SH101 with that beefy sub oscillator and searing peaky filter strapped to a digital sequencer - like a TB303 and then some.

This is the *original* vintage Groovebox, battery or mains powered, one careful owner (me!) since 1983. One of less than 2000 ever made, it’s a true Synthwave collectors’ piece, but also a totally great-sounding, intuitive analog mono beast of a synth for contemporary bass lines and leads. As used by Autechre, Aphex Twin, and many others, it is still able to sync and trigger modern modular gear, DAWs and digital hardware. Also generates Audio DIN Sync so can act as a master clock for other OG hardware like TR drum machines and the TB303, or generate a click track for tape multitrack overdubs.

Never gigged, excellent condition, some wear on the squishy rubber buttons only. Comes complete with original Roland manual, a PSU, and a professional factory-fitted mod (receipt available) by Kenton Electronics which adds 5 new Eurorack-style mini jack sockets to the right hand side of the unit, without disabling the existing rear panel sockets.

The mod allows modern CV/Gate sequencers like the BeatStep Pro to drive the onboard voice directly, bypassing the internal CPU to avoid the glitching which can occur if the cpu can’t keep up with modern gear going via the original inputs. Going beyond the original spec, the new sockets also allow you to use Control Voltage inputs to control the Portamento, Filter, and Accent settings for externally triggered sweeps, glides and 303-style tweaks.

The sophisticated (if old-school fiddly!) on board 2,600 step sequencer remains available too of course, capable of independently recording pitches and rhythms across both an external CV/Gate synth or modular rack and it’s own on board SH101 classic synth voice as two separate sequencer voices simultaneously, and sequences can be saved to audio cassette (!) or via a third party software (search for ‘MC202 Hack’, not included).

This is a classic, rare, connoisseur’s synth/sequencer from Roland’s Golden Age."

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