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The Roland MC-505 is a groovebox conceived in 1998 as a combination of a MIDI controller, a music sequencer and a drum machine, and also has some of the prime features of synthesizers: arpeggiator, oscillators, voltage-controlled filter, control of attack, decay, sustain and release. It was released as the successor to the Roland MC-303 and is a compact version of the Roland JX-305 Groovesynth without the full set of 61 keys. It is also the predecessor to the Roland D2, Roland MC-307, Roland MC-909 and the Roland MC-808.

Roland MC-505 groovebox
Price£782 UK, $1299 US
Technical specifications
Timbrality8-part[2] (Including a separate rhythm channel)
Synthesis typeSample-based synthesis (rompler)
Storage memory512 preset sounds, 26 drum kits
Effectsreverb/delay, chorus/flanger
External controlMIDI in/out[1]


The key features of the MC-505 are:

  • 64 voice polyphonic digital subtractive synthesis engine (derived from the Roland JV-2080) with 251 different oscillator, acoustic and drum sample waveforms
  • 512 built-in preset sounds, 256 user sounds & 26 rhythm sets (includes the Roland CR-78, TR-808, TR-606, TR-909, TR-707 and R-8)
  • 8-track MIDI sequencer + Mute Ctrl Track
  • Recording length of up to 32 bars per pattern
  • 714 preset sequencer patterns, 200 user patterns, 50 user songs
  • 3 multi-effect units: Reverb, Delay and 24 different EFXs
  • Infrared D-Beam controller for hands-free sound modulation
  • MEGAMix function for intuitive realtime mixing of beats and patterns
  • 5 volt Smartmedia card slot for doubling user patch and pattern memory


The Roland MC-505 has no sampler. The size of the LCD screen makes it difficult to read each feature setting, and over time the LCD screen would lose pixels (which in some cases renders the screen unreadable; this is called "display bug" by some users). This issue is due to the heat on the LCD screen-PCB board, the lamination between the crystal and the PCB is opening/splitting up from the little heat inside the Roland MC-505 from prolonged use. Roland has fixed this by updating the LCD screen component.

Notable artistsEdit


  1. ^ a b "Groove is in the art". Future Music. No. 68. Future Publishing. April 1998. p. 21. ISSN 0967-0378. OCLC 1032779031.
  2. ^ "Roland MC505". Sound On Sound. April 1998. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  3. ^ White, Paul (February 2004). "Afro Celts". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 4 June 2018.

External linksEdit