Roland MKS-50
Krapod 04/03/2012

Roland MKS-50 : Krapod's user review

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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.