Roland MC-8 & MC-4

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thousandcuts
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Roland MC-8 & MC-4

Post by thousandcuts » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:44 am

hi

i have both an mc8 and mc4. wondering if anyone here also has one or the other or both, could discuss your experiences with them?

i got the mc-4A so not much memory as the B, lately its been randomly freaking out and just beeps hard, so i have to turn off and on; losing anything programmed into it.
always wanted to have different length patterns on each channel then loop cycle it all, getting odd step lengths per bar etc, but it doesn't seem to allow this, unless there's a trick?

mc-8; i've never used mine, had it for about 4 years now. it does work yes. i dont have the 60-pin cable to connect the 2 units. anyone got one? know where to get the cable?

thinking about just selling these off, but they look and smell so warm and fuzzy.
the vermona 4 channel usb/midi to cv/gate module looks like a good alternative.

thoughts?

noobyscooby
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Post by noobyscooby » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:25 am

Sell them both, buy a Tetra Maps and pocket the extra dough. It doubles as a quad mid/cv as well.

I've been tempted to buy either of those on occasion but in 2014 there's no need.

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Adam-V
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Post by Adam-V » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:57 am

Open up your MC4 and check that all of the connectors are seated correctly. I seem to recall somebody telling me that they can work loose and that the unit will squeal like a pig if they do.

Cheers.
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ringroad1
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Re: Roland MC-8 & MC-4

Post by ringroad1 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:52 am

thousandcuts wrote: always wanted to have different length patterns on each channel then loop cycle it all, getting odd step lengths per bar etc, but it doesn't seem to allow this, unless there's a trick?
As far as I know you can't - the first channel is the master, and that's that.

I love my MC-4B. I've been tempted to clone its functionality and add features but its limitations are probably what makes it.

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BugBrand
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Re: Roland MC-8 & MC-4

Post by BugBrand » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:56 am

ringroad1 wrote:
thousandcuts wrote: always wanted to have different length patterns on each channel then loop cycle it all, getting odd step lengths per bar etc, but it doesn't seem to allow this, unless there's a trick?
As far as I know you can't - the first channel is the master, and that's that.
Perhaps similar to the MC202 in that respect? Maybe similar tech/spec.
Yeah, that was one of the first things I tried on getting a 202.. Oh well.

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ringroad1
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ER-101?

Post by ringroad1 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:27 am

Think the (very MC-4 influenced) Orthogonal Devices ER-101 might do the loopy thing with different channel lengths:

http://www.orthogonaldevices.com/er-101

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CJ Miller
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Post by CJ Miller » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:29 pm

noobyscooby wrote:I've been tempted to buy either of those on occasion but in 2014 there's no need.
Maybe. But it's not usually 2014. How many days was it 1981? For 365 of them? Versus how many for 2014 - 38 days. So it's 1981 almost ten times more often than it is 2014. Do the math.

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Re: ER-101?

Post by Monobass » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:54 pm

ringroad1 wrote:Think the (very MC-4 influenced) Orthogonal Devices ER-101 might do the loopy thing with different channel lengths:

http://www.orthogonaldevices.com/er-101
yeah it does, I fired mine up for the first time today. It's what I imagined the MC-4 would be like, but I imagine it's a lot friendlier in reality :)
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dougt
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Post by dougt » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:42 pm

Doesn't seem there is a CV/Gate input like on the MC-4 to use a keyboard to enter notes on the ER-101. That would be a major deal-breaker for me...

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Post by Monobass » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:41 am

dougt wrote:Doesn't seem there is a CV/Gate input like on the MC-4 to use a keyboard to enter notes on the ER-101. That would be a major deal-breaker for me...
What is this 'keyboard' you speak of?
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monads
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Re: Roland MC-8 & MC-4

Post by monads » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:06 pm

thousandcuts wrote: i got the mc-4A...lately its been randomly freaking out and just beeps hard, so i have to turn off and on; losing anything programmed into it.
always wanted to have different length patterns on each channel then loop cycle it all, getting odd step lengths per bar etc, but it doesn't seem to allow this, unless there's a trick?
MC-4 owner here. Not sure on the cause of the loud noise. I'd say follow Adam's advice and check all the internal connections. If it still persists, one of the internal components is failing. I don't think it would be due to any cold solder joints.

Each channel can have different measure/step+gate times. Did I miss something with not using these options for different length patterns on each channel?

I heard the MC-8 cable is hard to source unless you make your own? I hope you find one and make it complete.

Tetra Maps looks cool.

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Post by gslug » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:37 am

dougt wrote:Doesn't seem there is a CV/Gate input like on the MC-4 to use a keyboard to enter notes on the ER-101. That would be a major deal-breaker for me...
Martin Rushent felt the same way. Supposedly he described using it as more like working in a bank than a recording studio. The masochist inside me still wants one though!
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dougt
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Post by dougt » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:56 am

gslug wrote:
dougt wrote:Doesn't seem there is a CV/Gate input like on the MC-4 to use a keyboard to enter notes on the ER-101. That would be a major deal-breaker for me...
Martin Rushent felt the same way. Supposedly he described using it as more like working in a bank than a recording studio. The masochist inside me still wants one though!
Yep check out the demo on their site where it actually takes like 6 mins just to enter in the lead line notes from Axel F... :despair:

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gslug
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Post by gslug » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:05 am

dougt wrote:
gslug wrote:
dougt wrote:Doesn't seem there is a CV/Gate input like on the MC-4 to use a keyboard to enter notes on the ER-101. That would be a major deal-breaker for me...
Martin Rushent felt the same way. Supposedly he described using it as more like working in a bank than a recording studio. The masochist inside me still wants one though!
Yep check out the demo on their site where it actually takes like 6 mins just to enter in the lead line notes from Axel F... :despair:
I can't remember who it was, but one group said something along the lines of "We recorded our last album in the time it took The Human League to programme one song!"
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synthysynth
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Post by synthysynth » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:01 pm

Daniel Miller also said that Vince Clark would sit down at an mc8 typing away for 5 min then press play and it would be a finished song.

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Post by db » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:14 am

electronicmusician wrote:there's a website with a whole blog on how a guy made up a new cable for his mc8. cant find the link for it. good luck man.
Hey, I think that was probably me:

http://thecompleatsynthesizer.com/?p=369

It seems like making the cable is about your only option. For as rare as the MC-8 is, the cable is even harder to find all by itself.

The good news is that it's possible to make the cable. I got the parts off Mouser. The bad news is that they only had a few of these parts left (maybe they'll get more?) and it's super tedious to solder all the connections. If you can get a tech to do that, I would recommend that approach. My cable works, although certain things on my MC-8 don't (like the Tune button), and it makes me wonder if there's an issue with my cable or with the MC-8 itself.

Anyway, good luck on it!

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bil_g
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Post by bil_g » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:44 am

How about the MC-4 Hack software found here?

Anyone use it? Definitely seems easier than the normal way of programming it.

Not necessarily cheap but whaddya know, its... :75:

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monads
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Post by monads » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:39 am

bil_g wrote:How about the MC-4 Hack software Not necessarily cheap
Yeah, great website on the cable! Still seems like such a pain in the ass though.

What's not clear on the MC-4 Hack software is programming an actual song in measures? This is how the MC-4 was intended to be used, and depending on whatever TIMEBASE you chose, all the STEPS in a given measure should add up to a Whole Note. Does the Hack software force successor notes to the next measure after adding up all the STEP values to a whole note in the previous measure? If it does, I would prefer some type of visual aid, you'll never know what measure your programming by Note#48. And if the software doesn't kick notes to the next measure... then there's no point in the software.....programming 1 measure with a bunch of notes?

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bil_g
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Post by bil_g » Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:41 pm

If I understand correctly, I can't say I really see anything for what you are referring to. I can see why that would be a pain without it.

It does seem that the program is better used for importing midi files instead of editing from it's screen. Even the way the manual is organized looks to suggest editing on screen is secondary.

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Re: MC8 Cable

Post by DiscoComputer » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:55 am

db
Hi Db,

I was hoping to ask you a question regarding the MC8 cable?
I stumbled across your webpage about it. Just wanted to confirm if the pins are wired 1:1 ie. pin 1 to pin 1 2 to 2 etc.

Hopefully one day i'll meet someone with an original cable, and perhaps they might be convinced to ohm it out, in the meantime, if i wire mine up and i too have a tune problem, then perhaps there is an anomaly with the pinout.

Cheers!

Harold

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Post by tim gueguen » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:16 am

Since he posted once in 2016 he probably won't see your message.

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Post by sduck » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:20 pm

But it was kind of nice to see a classic CJ Miller post. Wonder where he went...
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