Take Roland SH-101. Replace the keyboard with small push-buttons and add a powerful (at the time of its release) sequencer with a reasonably sized LCD display. Don't bother adding a MIDI interface. That's the MC-202, also known as the Microcomposer.

The sequences can contain a total of 2729 events, which can be entered by either the push-buttons, or an external keyboard via the cv/gate input. The latter method creates some nasty lag though. It is also possible to control an another sequencer through the outputs. For storing your precious sequences, the Microcomposer features a tape interface.

The 202 died quickly after its release. It was brought out at a time when MIDI was a new thing, only featuring a cv/gate interface. When MIDI became the new standard, 202 became obsolete in the eyes of many people. Nowadays it is sought after again, thanks to the techno movement.

Production period:
1983-1985


back to Roland

CV/gate interfaces are groovy.

I've got one of those Radio Shack Moog things, and (ten or fifteen years ago) I used to have an el cheapo Korg drum machine (now deceased) that had a trigger jack in the back, so it could trigger the Radio Shack thing. Naturally the Korg didn't know from pitch, but it was still fun because I could hold down keys for pitch. Instant Kraftwerk a là "Endless Europe": Just add cheapo analog delay pedal!

I suppose the whole techno thing with old analog gear has to do with the fact that it's a hell of a lot more fun to push crappy equipment past its limits than it is to dial up a preset and fall asleep. This is why people get so fascinated with guitars: It doesn't just do what you tell it to. It's got a personality and an agenda of its own.

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