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Roland MC-202 Rack (Midi-fied)

Roland MC-202...

Originally a small plastic desktop "Micro-Composer" - with it's own Synth section and a 2 track Sequencer.
The Synth section is similar to the SH-101.

I got my 1st MC-202 around 1992, was given to me free as the guy wasn't using it and didn't even have any Midi-CV. Since I did have Midi-CV back then, he thought I could make good use of it.

I got the Kenton CV-Gate-Filter socket kit for that 1st MC-202, and did use it on some tracks back then. (I think it was the bassline to the Sammi Cheung cover version of "It's Too Late".)


This is actually my 2nd MC-202.
I bought this off a friend (J), relatively cheap.

This actually came with the Analogue Solution Modular Upgrade, which gives it like 20 sockets on an external box. (This mod was something like £200+! although recently they lowered the price but it's still around £120)

I think J also got this from someone else, and it wasn't fully working - some of the sockets were doing nothing. He bought it because this thing can run on batteries. He was attempting to fix it, but in the end sold it to me. 

I understand why - the original modular upgrade was not done very properly, and it's a pain to go through all those wires to tackle little problems...

Maybe because of some issues in this box, whoever originally did it or maybe even when J tried to fix it, something went wrong. So this MC-202 came to me with a couple of things not actually working properly.


The Roland MC-202 Rackmount

The moment that i got this 2nd MC-202, I Knew immediately I wanted to rackmount this. I still have my old Mc-202 in HK, so...
The Analogue Solution mod box hanging with flat cables kind of make it awkward to place the MC-202 anywhere...  Also, since I know very well that I am not going to use the internal sequencer, so it's definitely a rackmount project.

Lots of debates/planning had gone into rackmounting this. After a few months, work finally started. It did take over a week to do....




Love & Hate of the Roland MC-202 (Rack)

bulletHad one (free) back in 1992 (in HK). It's small, nifty and easy to use. Usual Roland analogue sounds, handy PWM, CEM chip design...
bulletAnalogue Solution Modular Upgrade already simplified lots of modding, since most are nearly covered. Lots of sockets (maybe far too many)!
bulletMany sliders/knobs. In a way it's good, but also a hassle for doing rackmounting - as I'd need to de-solder all of them and re-solder them to new pots on the front panel...
bulletAs with other rackmounting... it's now difficult to get all the pots in the same type/same make that can cover all different values used... Just wish there can be some manufacturer that does all values of pots, small and cheap....

So many wires with the Analogue Solution Modular Upgrade... a bit of a wire jungle mess...

bulletDoing it in a 1u rackmount is kinda tight/cramp... but it just about fits....
bulletWhen I first got this MC-202, the VCF LFO MOD slider was not working.
The MOD VC IN wasn't working.
The LFO Delay didn't seem to have an effect. 
The VCF CV In and VCA CV In were wired in the wrong order, so VCA CV In was actually the VCF CV In... etc.
bulletSome of these I've fixed, some I'm not sure - VCF LFO MOD is now a little funny... and the LFO Delay still seems to do bugger all....
bullet When I was writing up these pages, I realized a few mistakes in this MC-202 Rack. Most mistakes were corrected, but some I really dunno, cos this 202 is still kinda funny, but hey, it's somehow unique ;)

As of 2nd July 2004:


C Y 's Mods on the MC-202

bullet Mods1 - Sockets & Mods: Mods Locations - Proper CV In / Proper Gate In
bullet Mods2 - Sockets & Mods: Mods Locations - Additional CV In's: VCF / PWM / VCA / MOD
bullet Mods3 - Sockets & Mods: Mods Locations - Add. CV Sw's: Porta / Accent / Acc. VCF
bulletMods4 - Sockets & Mods: Mods Locations - CV Outs: EG ENV / LFO Sine / LFO Triangle
bulletMods5 - Sockets & Mods: Mods Locations - External Audio In's, Modular Audio Outs
bulletMods6 - Mods: Additional Pots, Feedback, Overdrive
bulletMods7 - Rackmount Stuff: Case, PSU, IEC Socket, Front Panel, Rear Panel
bulletMods8 - MIDI: Midi-fying the MC-202: Midi2CV, Mounting, Routing, Config



Other Links on the MC-202...

bullet MC-202 Portable Fun with loads of info, sound samples, mods, patches...
bullet Hyperreal Music Machine MC-202 page - Incl. some Info, Pics, Mods and even audio demo.
bullet Analogue Solution has the Modular Upgrade mods you can buy...
bullet Google Search on Roland MC-202


C Y 's files on the Roland MC-202

Owner's Manual
bulletThis is the Acrobat PDF Owner's Manual.
Owner's Manual (J)
bulletThis is the Acrobat PDF Japanese Owner's Manual.
Has a few more pages...
Service Notes
bulletThis is the Acrobat PDF Service Manual.
bulletSchematics - slightly Coloured for easier viewing
- ANALOGUE Section
(Also includes some mod locations)
bulletSchematics - slightly Coloured for easier viewing
- DIGITAL Section

Since I have rackmounted my MC-202, most of the Digital Section was removed.

So I actually got an empty 202 case, Switchboard, keypads, and a Sync-board.

I decided to sell these on eBay so that anyone who needs them can get them as spares... and now they're all sold and gone. It kinda proved the 202 is still very pretty popular!


Some Roland MC-202 Rack Soundz

Well... I haven't time to really play something on the 202 to demonstrate every character or possibility of the synth. But a friend of mine always wonder what all these synths sound like and asked me to try make an effort to put at least some soundz. So...
bullet Some MC-202 Rack Soundz



Home Synths

MC-202 MC-202-Mods1 MC-202-Mods2 MC-202-Mods3 MC-202-Mods4 MC-202-Mods5 MC-202-Mods6 MC-202-Mods7 MC-202-Mods8 MC-202-Soundz