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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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31 news items

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 ...


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 ...


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, ...

Pitchfork Media

Pitchfork Media
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:41:15 -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 ...

Noisey (blog)

Noisey (blog)
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 08:08:29 -0700

As Elastica disbanded, the group's lead singer Justine Frischmann encouraged M.I.A. to make her own beats on a Roland MC 505 picked up from a holiday in the Caribbean. “People always said, 'You look like you could make music, you dance like you could ...


Wed, 18 Mar 2015 08:19:15 -0700

This week marks 10 years since pop provocateur MIA burst on the scene with 'Arular' - her brilliant, beguiling debut album. With rumours of new music on the horizon, revisit her career-spanning interview with NME's Kevin EG Perry from November 2013 ...

Spin Magazine

Spin Magazine
Mon, 06 Feb 2012 16:24:35 -0800

In 2000, while working as Elastica's tour videographer, she learned how to operate a Roland MC-505 drum machine with help from the tour's opening act, smut-rapper Peaches. A large coterie of producers and engineers worked on her 2005 debut, Arular, but ...

Noisey (blog)

Noisey (blog)
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 07:20:59 -0700

By his 15th birthday, Steven's cousin had bought him a Roland MC-505 groovebox and a school friend gave him a lend of a R.A.W. mixtape (listen below) from the L.A. drum and bass scene. His musical landscape changed, and an inner beatmaker began to ...

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