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Roland | MC-505


The MC-505 Groovebox builds upon the successful MC-303 as a self-contained, retro-styled dance music sequencer and sound module with powerful new sounds and realtime controls. New features include the revolutionary D-Beam light-sensing controller and a MEGAMix function for intuitive realtime pattern mixing. 

Fat Sounds! 

Thanks to its 64-voice polyphony and a new high-performance sound chip, the MC-505 Groovebox offers 512 of the fattest sounds on the dance music scene. 26 speciallycreated onboard rhythm kits deliver low kicks, snares and hits galore, meaning that from the latest lo-fi techno and hip-hop sounds to all those classic Roland drum and synth sounds (TB-303, TR-808, TR-909, Juno, Jupiter, et al.), the MC-505’s got it covered. And to ensure that groove-heads get exactly the sound they’re after, the 505 offers steep filtering, ADSR envelope controls, enhanced LFO and Filter/Amplifier controls and a Low Boost knob with an Octave switch (warn the neighbors now).

Bold New Patterns

Making full use of these sounds, the MC-505 features 712 preset dance music patterns, ranging from the latest Trance, Ambient, and Drum ‘n’ Bass grooves to Reggae, OldSchool, Funk and Hip-Hop. These patterns were developed by some of the world’s foremost sound designers, and they can be used “as is” or edited and combined into unique new User patterns.

Powerful Effects 

The MC-505 features three independent, synchronizable onboard effects processors, offering powerful reverb, chorus and delay sounds, as well as new cutting-edge effects like “Radio Tuning” for simulating radio static, “Phonograph” for simulating record player noise, and “Slicer” for rapidly muting and un-muting audio signals in time with the beat. In all, 24 insert effects complement the dedicated reverb and delay effects, with rate parameters automatically sync’d to tempo. 

The Amazing D-Beam Controller

One of the most innovative enhancements to the MC-505 is the revolutionary new D-Beam Controller*. The D-Beam controller allows musicians to control MC-505 effects, sounds and note information with hand and body movement through an invisible, infrared beam of light. D-Beam effects include “Turntable,” which can be used to control tempo by raising or lowering the hand over the light beam; “Cutoff & Resonance,” which simultaneously controls a note’s cutoff frequency and resonance parameters according to subtle hand motion; and “Ad Lib,” which allows for improvising melodies using one of 21 preset scales. In addition to greatly increasing the MC-505’s expressive capabilities, the D-Beam controller enhances the onstage, visual aspects of performance. And better yet, all D-Beam control information can be transmitted from the MC-505 via MIDI.

*D-Beam controller technology has been licensed from Interactive Light, Inc. 

Professional Sequencing and MIDI Features 

As a self-contained professional dance music workstation, the MC-505 offers full MIDI control, with knob and slider movements output via MIDI for easy editing; sound editing while listening to phrases from an external sequencer; three stereo audio outputs (six mono) for external processing; and a new assignable Part Mixer for slider-based control of part level, panning, key shift, reverb and delay send levels. The onboard sequencer capacity has been increased to 95,000 notes, while a new SmartMedia™ card slot allows for external pattern and patch storage via 2MB and 4MB SmartMedia™ cards. By adding a single 4MB card, the MC-505 can store an additional 480,000 notes (200 patterns), 512 patches and 20 rhythm sets. And direct SmartMedia™ pattern and song playback is possible for live performance applications.


Unique to dance-oriented music is the combination of distinct elements from different records into completely new creations. A club DJ, for example, will often blend a funky bass line from one record with a break beat from another. To simulate this technique, the MC-505 offers MEGAMIX, which allows for the seamless combination of distinct parts from different patterns and songs. Pull the drum beat from pattern or song A, the bass line from song B and the melody from song C and turn them into a completely new song — all in realtime! Even parts with wildly different tempos and feels can be combined, offering some very powerful and unique results and giving MC-505 users an unlimited canvas to create original patterns “on the fly.”
Engine TypeDigital
EngineVA, Sample
Voices (max)64
Engine DetailedAcoustic Simulation and ROM Samples
Filter (VCF)real-time resonant filter
FX24 effects
Drums26 kits
RecordingSequencer (up to 95,000 notes)
Key typeButtons
Produced:1998 - 1998
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.

Manuals, patches etc.


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