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Roland MC50 Operations Handbook Level 1

By Richard Clewes
Published July 1996

The Roland MC50 is one of the best hardware sequencers ever made, but it can be a bit puzzling for the first‑time sequencer user. One reviewer dubbed it "Darth Vader's Filofax", and an air of mystery has surrounded it ever since. This book, written by Bobby Maestas and published by Alexander Publishing, proves that the MC50 is actually as flexible as many software sequencers, provided you make the effort to grasp all its basic functions before you dive into the murky depths of the editing pages.

The book is set out like an instruction manual, with everything explained clearly and with a minimum of fuss. There are 21 chapters, beginning with an excellent section on how to connect the MC50 to several keyboards, and ending with the delights of tape and MIDI sync. I was grateful to see a decent explanation of the 'Event Copy' procedure on the MC50, something which never fails to catch me out. The MIDI sync chapter is also extremely useful, because many hardware sequencer fans have a drum machine in their setup. This partly makes up for the lack of information about rhythm programming and advanced editing. Anyone seeking advice on these aspects of the MC50 will find everything they need in the Operations Handbook Level 2.

Few people would put an instruction book on their list of priorities, but MC50 users will appreciate the straightforward style of this one. It shows that with patience and a little understanding, an MC50 will be your friend for life. Richard Clewes