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Offline chrisNova777

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roland mc-303 (1996) groovebox - 8 track sequencer (7+1)
« on: November 20, 2015, 12:22:34 PM »

http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/mc303.php
http://web.archive.org/web/20090215175331/http://geocities.com/wjdegraaf_geo/mc303/planet.html
http://web.archive.org/web/20090215214131/http://geocities.com/wjdegraaf_geo/mc303/info.html
http://web.archive.org/web/20090215214146/http://geocities.com/wjdegraaf_geo/mc303/specs.html
http://web.archive.org/web/20090215214151/http://geocities.com/wjdegraaf_geo/mc303/topical.html



Quote
The Roland MC-303 is the first of a series of musical instruments known as a Groovebox. It combines a simple sound module with a sequencer to record and store notation, along with controls aimed at encouraging the musician to improvise the music while it is playing. Despite the number in its name and the hype it received at its launch, the MC-303 has more in common with other MC prefixed synthesizers (such as the Roland MC-202), which contain built-in sequencers, than it does with the famous Roland TB-303. As the first Groovebox, the MC-303 was the first in a line of inexpensive products specifically targeted towards house DJs and amateur home musicians rather than professional producers.
Features[edit]
The key features of the MC-303 are:
• Sound generator with 24 note - voice polyphony
• 8-track sequencer (7 pitched instruments and 1 drum kit)
• 8 part timbrality
• 448 preset sounds and 12 drum kits (includes the Roland CR-78, TR-808, TR-606 & TR-909)
• Reverb/delay and chorus/flanger effects
• 300 onboard dance music variation patterns such as drumbeats and basslines
• Recording length of up to 32 bars per pattern
• Instant storage of up to 50 user patterns, 300 pattern variations and 10 songs
• Storage space for up to approximately 14,000 notes
• MIDI in and out connections (but no MIDI thru)
Synthesizer/Sound Module
The synthesizer built into the Roland MC-303 is a rompler which contains sounds largely drawn from classic Roland synths and drum machines such as the TB-303, TR-808 and TR-909 along with the Juno series and various other dance themed sounds such as pads, pianos, strings and vinyl scratches. The sounds can be manipulated with a low-pass filter, various modulation capabilities and some simple DSP effects.
Sequencer
The most important part of the MC-303 is its built-in pattern based 8 track sequencer. Each pattern can contain up to 32 bars. It can record and send MIDI data via the MIDI jacks on the rear panel, enabling its internal sequencer to control other sound modules, or its internal sound module to be controlled by an external sequencer. Although communication with other devices is possible, the main advantage to the MC-303 with its small form factor and all-in-one design is the ability to use it as a self-contained studio, albeit an amateur one. Featuring a micro-keyboard that can also be used as a drum sequencer, the MC-303 imitates the handling as well as the look and feel of other famous Roland synthesizers and drum machines such as the MC-202, TB-303, TR-808 and TR-909.







Quote
The key features of the MC-303 are:

Sound generator with 24 note - voice polyphony
8-track sequencer (7 pitched instruments and 1 drum kit)
8 part timbrality
448 preset sounds and 12 drum kits (includes the Roland CR-78, TR-808, TR-606 & TR-909)
Reverb/delay and chorus/flanger effects
300 onboard dance music variation patterns such as drumbeats and basslines
Recording length of up to 32 bars per pattern
Instant storage of up to 50 user patterns, 300 pattern variations and 10 songs
Storage space for up to approximately 14,000 notes
MIDI in and out connections (but no MIDI thru)


Offline chrisNova777

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Re: roland mc-303 (1996) groovebox
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2016, 04:07:03 PM »



Offline iRelevant

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Re: roland mc-303 (1996) groovebox - 8 track sequencer (7+1)
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2018, 07:27:27 AM »
I recently got one of these secondhand for a fair price. Like it a lot. Still in explorative modus and will update with more info when I gotten deeper into the machine. As it is I'm still having trouble mastering the management of it in SOUND QUEST ... some communication trouble. One thing to be aware of is that there are different OS/Firmware versions, luckily mine came with the latest ... which is v1.03 (I think). It's supposed so solve some issues.

It's nice standalone, and can be used in connection with a DAW ... the downside is that, at least how it looks sofare, there is no transmission of CC data for the dials ... only the keypads ... it's also a bit quirky to use as a sound module ... you need to put it in some special modus and all frontpanel buttons loose functionality.

Overall still I'm happy with it ... paid around €80 for it second hand. Good quality, metal enclosure.
Somewhat limited storage ... only 50 user patterns and 8 user songs ... more than enough sofare.

If anybody knows how to manage it most conveniently, I'll be happy to hear tips. Particularly setup in SoundQuest, where I'm having some trouble ... uncertain as to what is the correct SysEx channel to use.

Offline chrisNova777

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Re: roland mc-303 (1996) groovebox - 8 track sequencer (7+1)
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2018, 11:19:52 AM »
congrats ! i actually had a classified ad placed lookng for one of these at a good price.. i was hoping to get my hands on one, i remember i really wanted this back in 1997 but i bought turntables instead (money was tight working for blockbuster video! lol!)

Offline iRelevant

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Re: roland mc-303 (1996) groovebox - 8 track sequencer (7+1)
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2018, 12:23:46 PM »
Thanks :) I'm quite happy with it. There are a few major limitations I discovered so fare ... main problem is that there is no transmission of controller data out (as I'm aware of), so it's not possible to record a performance. Other thing is the Effects section is a bit "computerish" ... changes in delay settings for instance is not instantaneous ... but need noticeable re-calculation time ... so you can't really perform with it. It transmits note data though ... and I consider it more as an instrument in itself ... or a standalone sequencer ... I'm planning on hooking it up to external midi modules and a sampler + external effects through a mixer. Will be interesting to see what can come out of it.

Offline chrisNova777

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Re: roland mc-303 (1996) groovebox - 8 track sequencer (7+1)
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2018, 04:12:55 PM »