Roland MKS-50
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All user reviews for the Roland MKS-50

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Average Score:4.4( 4.4/5 based on 8 reviews )
 5 reviews63 %
 1 user review13 %
 1 user review13 %
Audience: Advanced users Value For Money : Excellent
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Mr_Mojo_Risin's review"Classic Synth Sounds!"

Roland MKS-50
This has been a rock-solid piece of gear in my studio for a long time. No repairs needed except for changing the battery

Performance Patch settings
Small 1U rackmount footprint
The sounds are Hooverlicious!
Excellent support site with info and 1000's of free Tone downloads

Tones are difficult to program without an external programmer. Software (CTRLR) or hardware (PG-300, KIWI)
The prices on eBay are always too high for this model

fredziak's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Limited but good and original"

Roland MKS-50
Released in 1987, MKS 50 is the rack version of Alpha Juno, the youngest of the family of JUNOS, polyphonic analog synthesizers based on a COD through. The architecture of the engine sound is pretty standard and limited to essentials. However, specific points give it a well-marked. The single oscillator has interesting waveforms corresponding to different variations of the usual square and saw-tooth, with support for PWM. Although this is not a second oscillator itself, there is a sub-oscillator is used to enlarge the sound in the bass. The instrument features a high-pass filter, a 24dB/octave low-pass filter and an LFO with a good range of frequencies. Also included is an original envelope rather than 7 parameters. Finally, the sound can be coated with the famous chorus of Roland at the time.
The rack itself is very robust and MIDI driver in a very satisfactory manner. The instrument is sensitive to velocity and aftertouch, allowing a game very much alive. Memory is 128 sounds, which is twice the keyboard version.


Usability is not the strong point of the machine. Already the Alpha JUNO jobs disappeared in favor of the knobs obscure numeric buttons and scroll wheel famous "Alpha Dial", with the MKS 50 is lost even this last and we are left to use her fingers to draw by pressing heart's content on the pushbuttons or wheezing! In addition, Roland honored us distinguish between "patch" and "tone" which is quite cumbersome to handle and cut into 8 banks do not facilitate the work with program changes. In short, this is not the joy ...
I put it though the average because it is rather well with MIDI control. You can program the sounds via software or as a controller and you do not touch the rack too, it's still bearable! The advantage is that with such use, he should be able to still work for many years.


I like the sound of 50 MKS. It is true that this synth may sound like the analog of the poor, compared to other previous JUNOS and even sounding a bit more "round". But say it is worse would be unfair, I would say it is different. I suspect Roland have tried to take its range analog to the sounds of the Yamaha DX7 FM and Alpha Juno as JX8P are the best examples: the sound is clearer, brighter, thinner. The MKS 50 inherited this tendency. It will never be the best machine for the big analog sound standard, but it can produce a singular and very interesting. I love the smoothness of the water enhanced by the sub-oscillator and chorus. At higher frequencies, it is highly crystalline. At the same time, do not believe that it gets in lace: it can produce low-impact, well just look at his famous "hoover", his specialty, he has to know the belly.

To illustrate all this, I have created a small demo (based mainly on presets):


I can not say I appreciate this synthesizer for ergonomics or to the extent of its possibilities as sound on these two aspects, it is rather limited. I love it for its original sounds that have both the analog and the presence of a very particular subtlety that remains unmatched. It is rather difficult to describe, it obviously depends on personal taste and the music he wants to produce.

Krapod's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Roland MKS-50
The MKS-50 is the version of expander JUNO-1 and α 2, 1U rack.
Monotimbral - Polyphonic 6 channels, 1 through COD.
128 sounds - 128 patches - memories of 16 agreements
16 character LCD
Connectors: MIDI In, Out and Thru - output jack 6.35 L, R and headphones - jacks tape backup.


As for versions keyboards, the use is simple. No sub-menus: a PARAM button. To scroll through the general settings, or patches of tone and a VALUE knob to change them. It is also editable by the programmer Sysex PG-300, PC vendors and EZ-Alpha PG300emu, control surfaces ...
The MKS-50 has some advantages over the Juno-1 and α 2:
- It has patches that are a combination of sound (tone) and different settings: volume, portamento, pitch bend value, detune, key range, MIDI controls, game mode (Poly, Mono, Chord Memory )
- The 128 memory patches and tones are fully editable (no ROM).

Mono, absent on the Juno 1 and 2, can control the MKS with a guitar MIDI converter. In this mode, the MKS behaves as 6 mono synths playing the same sound on six consecutive MIDI channels. Besides the single player game, this feature can seem trivial for a keyboardist, but it actually allows one to simulate unison mode voices from February to June. And the effects obtained with portamento or pitch bend, independent voice for each, can be surprising and interesting.


The sound generator is identical (architectural components) than α JUNO-1 and 2. It has a section COD combining different types of waveforms PULSE SAWTOOTH, SUB and NOISE. Its envelope generator allows more elaborate forms a classic ADSR.
Most acoustic sounds that do not deserve some attention here. But I rather like the organ, some EP, melodic percussion and strings especially. The MKS is much more comfortable in the artificial sounds: pads and tablecloths, sweeps, bass, FX. His palette of tones will sound quite "dirty" to sounds very soft and changeable.

I invite you to read my opinion on the JUNO-2 for more details.


Quite versatile, it's a rack that I recommend for its range of sounds still relevant and easily integrated. Its synthesis is simple, easy to understand for a beginner, but accomplished. Its Mono particular extends the possibilities of a device generally monotimbral.

I am a sick man: I have two MKS-50 in addition to my JUNO-2. Although I love their sound and I use them a lot, it is by chance that I have acquired: 30 and 50 € of MKS-50 eyes that make you sweet, it can not refuse. In view of its rating, the MKS-50 seems more desirable than its counterparts JUNO 1 and 2: this is justified by the lack of keyboard to clean, compact (there is finally some racks analos 1U), and its features additional.
Sometimes I combine my 2 MKS on the same channel to draw complex sounds. I really appreciate this grain uncertain, warm and vibrant that I have never found on digital synths.

KaeRZed's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Opinion Patch"

Roland MKS-50
I do not have an MKS-50 Alpha but Juno2.
I just want to make some corrections to other reviews:
- Attention to the confusion: multiple waveforms does not necessarily mean more oscillators! In this case, the Juno does not have COD 3 but only one. The thing is that it can generate a rectangle (pulse) and a saw-tooth (Saw) simultaneously. With a sub-oscillator for low noise and a more present. But still: it is only one oscillator! It therefore does not possess the features made possible with more COD (VCO): detune, transpose, FM, sync, ring and cross modulation, ... ... ... For example, the series JX (JX-3P, JX-8P ...) have 2 COD them.
- The envelope generator is not an ADSR (as the J106) but a 4-segment envelope. The difference is negligible pa: an ADSR has 4 parameters (ADSR. ..) while that of Juno (and therefore the MKS) possesses 7 (T1/L1, T2/L2, T3/L3, T4). The possibilities are not the same!


Without PG-300, the editing is done via the alpha dial. It is less friendly than buttons on a J106 but this is all at attainable.

I personally did not need the manual for the part editing sounds'.
on the other hand, such as editing MIDI is done with Sysex, MIDI charter at the end of manual suddenly becomes indispensable.


The sounds are actually typical of this type of machine (analog polyphonic mid-80's at a tilt).
That is to say, quite nice, absolutely not realistic, but always enough typed in its place the pieces in need of synthetic sounds.

I like tablecloths, pads, some E-Pianos and some bass. All sounds 'imitators' (realistic sound) for my taste are just bad and difficult to use, often as electronic sounds ...
On the other hand, today, those who want realistic sounds that will provide more than one pattern Juno ...


Whether the Juno or the MKS, it is excellent ... in his field!
I have other analogue machines (J106, Oberheim Matrix-6, Yamaha CS15, Kawai K3M), a lot of digital (K2000, TG77, Wavestation, R3, SuperNova, ...) and, anyway, my Ju- 2 is always helpful to me: it has a little 'je ne sais quoi' of its own and pushes me to always use it, almost like new!

darkseeid's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" If you got 150 euro lends me that I bought one!"

Roland MKS-50
Rack Model
19 "2 units of Alpha Juno 1 and 2,
can be controlled and configured via a box named pg 300.
Polyphony: 6 voice
Oscillators: 3 COD: Pulse, Sawtooth, Sub, Noise Waveforms
Effect: Chorus
Preset: 64 + 64 Internal User
Filters: 24db analog LowPass
Envelopes: ADSR envelopes for filter and amp
Control: MIDI (velocity and aftertouch to VCF mappable gold ENV)
Production Year: 1987


Configuration and editing simple .... if you have the habits of the expander, it is a bit like you have to like put your hands dirty, it's still pretty logical, but the screen is a little little or not it is the letter that are a little big actually 8 /
No need for that man in the habit of expanders (the guy who's farts)


Its super nice, good bass, super clear and critallines bells, of brass rather aggressive (but it is not a JX8P), e piano, organ, FX very funny. Some sounds are realistic, others not at all, but they're crazy in fact, when a thing like that is that we do not want a rompler of shit that shit sounds we all cooked in 16 dicks (bits), we want to take the lead to make his personal sounds that no one will!
So sounds unrealistic but realistic in the sense of the term synthetic, yes it is an analog synth with the realistic sounds of a synth!
You've picked up grandpa!
Many sounds well (we just do the "Hoover" zozo appreciated by all of the army of small weight) by his useless .... yes I love it because it sounds me who invented it!


I for 6 months and never part with me, I have plenty of other synth (Aleis Ion JX8P, Waldorf Pulse, TX7, VZ1 Casio, Yamaha TX81Z, Poly 800V, Teisco 60f, MFB Synth2, Mopho , KS Rack, Novation Bass Station) but it has its place because it was stuff that only he knows how!
And he has this charm very 80's!
On occasion I've found it at 150 euros on (germany) the vintage is still too much on side as in France!
With the experience I would do without the choice problem is less bulky than a keyboard, and the sound is divine!

TheRainbow's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" If life had a sound it would be him"

Roland MKS-50
Polyphonic synth (6 voices) in 1U Rack.
COD 3: Forms complex built on Sawtooth, Square. Including a 1 sub based on square shapes. White noise generator.
1 LFO, VCF, VCA, ADSR (parameters in 8!)
Two banks of 64 sounds editable ..
Patches parameterized by 3 buttons or PG300 programmer, or even Cubase Device Panels (# Roland 20mK-50%%% 20 +% 20Juno 20PG-300)
Editing a part of the tuning parameters and other functions.

Midi in / out / thru
Registration / Load preset tape format 3.5mm
6.35mm stereo audio out jack.

The PG 300 is an option ...


Only the MKS is not obvious a program, it is even quite unbearable ...
It is not impossible to schedule, because anything done with sliders parameters and values ... So just on the practical aspect that I'm serious ... (It's a bit also why I bought it)
Hyper positive point: when you change a setting, the LCD shows us the initial value stored ...
With a programmer, it goes much faster ...

The instructions are very clear, and shows the table of parameters very precisely.


This synth gives the key as I waited in my prods .. A universe very fat and acceptable by all (as in the collective unconscious) as this synth was used by the largest and it is an unparalleled wealth (gold made its big brothers jupiter6 and 8).

These sounds are realistic ... hmm how do you say ... For the SF 80's bad ... yeah ^ ^
In low, it is unparalleled and this thanks to sub
Mock piano, violins well almost every instrument found in GM (General MIDI) but with so much of sth mieu! Ahhhhhhhhhhh only if the standard mapping noon was based on this generation of sound!


4months that I use, and a whole life that I listen ...
It is a good alternative for not having keyboards everywhere ..
This is my first synth rack, and the vintage, I'll do my standard ...
With experience, I keep it here and bought out a MKS80 ... and more!

synthmaniac's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Roland MKS-50
Analogiquze expander, equivalent to juno1.


Programming is done using the keys in faade, so it is ergonomically may


The sounds are those of the Juno 2. there is no effect.


The mks50 is actually a juno a rack without the keyboard so it exactly the same possde CHARACTERISTICS. It can be found trs good price on ebay (pay 125 in 2005) why deprive yourself.

A-lex's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Roland MKS-50
A nice little 1U, trs deep ....
Poly: 6, multi: 1 ... Everything is contlable via MIDI
We have the right a lil fun Chorus, adjustable speed.
Analog output + Stro all ncessaire MIDI.


It's not very hard to program ... But with software, is itself a
The manual is not exhaustive, but more than enough;)


At the lower and ground ... aeaeae ... hurt
The sounds are not at all ralistes (it's analog!).
I like the rsonance filter, dirty enough in low and bright in the treble.
The chorus is nice and efficient and low on the pads ... and ... uh ... that's it


I have been using a pti months, and I do not believe me Sparer ... I love it
Not worth much in CHRE opportunity ... If c'tait again, no problem, I throw myself!