Roland MC-4 Microcomposer - Information


This sequencer was released before the advent of MIDI, and viewed by some composers to have more accurate timing. The MC-4 has an output patchbay to the right of the control panel, allowing you to patch the MC-4 to a synthesizer using 3.5mm patch cords. There are four channels of outputs containing CV-1, CV-2, Gate and MPX (multiplex) to control four separate synthesizers. To the left of the output patchbay there are two switches and a control knob. The control knob alters the tempo of the sequencer. The first switch is for cycle mode (which allows the programmed sequence to repeat continuously until the sequencer is stopped), the second switch is for sync control. The MC-4 can be synced to other Roland equipment such as a drum machine or another MC-4 MicroComposer (offering eight separate channels of sequencing).

In the centre of the control panel is the numeric keypad and enter button. To the right of this are two blue keys for moving forward or backwards through a programmed sequence. Below the two advance keys there is another blue button used to tell the MC-4 that you have finished programming a single measure, for example a one bar phrase of notes. To the left of the numeric keypad are six more buttons. These buttons are used for editing the sequence that has been programmed; they include insert, delete, copy-transpose and repeat. The bottom two buttons are for moving the cursor on the screen from left to right.
After a sequence has been programmed it needs to be saved, as when you switch the power off the memory is not stored. The MC-4 had an optional digital cassette recorder called the Roland MTR-100. The owners manual shows that a programmed sequence could also be saved to a standard stereo cassette deck or portable cassette recorder. This is good news as the MTR-100 is quite rare to find.

When using the MC-4 for saving or loading programmes the CMT mode must be selected. CMT stands for cassette memory transfer. Programs were saved using program numbers for identification.

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