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Manufacturer Roland
Dates 1998–2002
Price £782 UK, $1299 US
Technical specifications
Polyphony 64-note
Timbrality 8-part (Including a separate rhythm channel)
Oscillator Yes
Synthesis type Sample-based synthesis (rompler)
Filter Yes
Memory 512 preset sounds, 26 drum kits
Effects reverb/delay, chorus/flanger
Keyboard No
External control MIDI in/out

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.


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 Artists[edit]


External links[edit]

MC-505 PDF Manual Links:

Other Links:

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_MC-505 — Please support Wikipedia.
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41 news items

The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 10:14:48 -0700

“We just completely stole her from Denver,” explains Maupin with a smile. Edwards now lives upstairs, next to McKenna, in a room where she records most of her songs with an electric guitar and Roland MC-505 drum machine. “What's that saying, a rising ...

SPIN (blog)

SPIN (blog)
Wed, 02 Mar 2016 07:33:45 -0800

Except, he says, “Instead of using the vacation pay for rent and stuff like that, I bought this brand-new workstation synthesizer that just came out, the Roland MC-505 groovebox [a hybrid of a MIDI controller, music sequencer, and drum machine]…


Mon, 28 Sep 2015 10:30:35 -0700

She got her start playing in folk and noise-rock bands before programming her own beats on a Roland MC-505 Groovebox. Her early live shows inspired a young M.I.A. to start making music and also caught the attention of German record label Yo-Yo Kitty, ...


Fri, 06 Nov 2015 06:46:23 -0800

Another week means another club ready houz jam from the Unknown to the Unknown camp. This time round it's the turn of Rotterdam legend DJ Overdose to wow us with a solid slab of jittery club magic that's guaranteed to get things going off at any point.


Fri, 25 Mar 2016 03:07:30 -0700

We also had a Roland drum machine - the big silver thing. It looked like a 909 but was called…" JH: "The Roland MC-505 Groovebox! We got loads out of that. It had the same engine as the JV-1080, so it basically had loads of JV-1080 sounds in it. That ...


Thu, 22 Oct 2015 02:11:15 -0700

She'll likely be utilizing various pre-recorded tracks and mixing them live with a synthesizer-sequencer-drum machine, the Roland MC-505. As “Rub” is Peaches's first album in six years, there's the question of her audience: Are they still there? Does ...

Dublin Inquirer

Dublin Inquirer
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:56:15 -0800

While studying economics in Tokyo, Kyoka bought a Roland MC-505, and recorded a set of tracks that would be released on the Onpa label. She has collaborated with members of the Raster-Noton family like Byetone and Alva Noto's Diamond Version's 2014 ...

Pitchfork Media

Pitchfork Media
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:48:24 -0800

Inspired by a brief beat-making tutorial she received from Peaches, whose spartan set-up—just a Roland MC-505 Groovebox and a whole lotta attitude—was a musical representation of the DIY spirit that fueled her own guerrilla art projects, Arulpragasam ...

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