Roland MC-09 PhraseLab
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Roland MC-09 PhraseLab

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MC-09 PhraseLab, Sampling Sequencer from Roland in the MC series.


7 user reviews

Roland MC-09 PhraseLab tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer:Roland
  • Model:MC-09 PhraseLab
  • Series:MC
  • Category:Sampling Sequencers
  • Added in our database on: 10/20/2004

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Roland MC-09 PhraseLab user reviews

Average Score:4.4( 4.4/5 based on 7 reviews )
 3 reviews43 %
 4 reviews57 %
FP User11/09/2008

FP User's review

Roland MC-09 PhraseLab
This obviously is the little brother of the mc-909. it combines a synth with a secuencer and a sampler. the addition of the sampler is really nice, and sets it apart from other grooveboxes. the downside is that roland really wants you to buy a mc-909 (at about 1800 euro) so the quality of the sampler is not so good. it sounds like an 8bit sampler. i think this is because the audio looper is not of good quality. whenever you put a loop in the looper, it starts to sound a bit crackily... the other downside is that it only has room for 4 audioloops. this means that you can not play more than 5 loops independently. (you can merge loops, but since this 'groups' the loops, you cannot play those loops indepently of each other anymore) The synth on the other hand does sound very FAT. it's only a monophonic sound, but it's great to make those acid sounds. the sequencer is kinda limited. but it does have tb-recording, wich basicly is the way you'd programe your tb-303 (and up) this is great for recording drum-patterns. from a drum perspective it is a 303! this is good news for all you 303 freaks out there... if you are looking for a 303, i'd say go for this little box!!!! (i probably souldn't say this but i personely think the 303 drum sound are not all that, but because it is so much reverred, i'll just keep thinking i don't know how to get those wicked sounds without any help from a compressor or something) the sequencer is very simple, and does not have a lot of features, it only allows you to programme 2 x16 steps. again, it compares with the tb-303 sequencer. the 09 also has some fx onboard, again, do not think of it as a great multi fx, it has some okay fx, that's it. anyway, a 303 with an sampler and asynth and a sequencer and fx for this price is not bad at all!!!

Price paid

299 euro ($300)

UTILIZATION

It's ok when you get used to it (this is my first groovebox, i have played with a tb-303 in the past) when you are not familiar with the weird 3 digit abbriviations, you'll be condemmed to read the manual. wich is no fun to get throu but gets you there in the end.

this box lookes and feels very solid. apart from the poor'ish sound, this is VERY MUCH groovebox for your money.

SOUNDS

Aside from the synth, wich i really love, the overall sound quality is not overwhelming. like i said, to me it sounds like 8bit (my old amiga500 sampler) exept form the synth, again, this sound FAT!

OVERALL OPINION

This is my first groovebox, and i love the 'hands on' feel, so yes, i love it a lot.

Originally posted on FutureProducers.com
Posted by: Unknown (January 1-, 2003)
»
FP User11/09/2008

FP User's review

Roland MC-09 PhraseLab
For such a small and obscure unit, it is literaly /packed/ with features. For 200 euros I got a synth with a step sequencer, a programmable, syncable fx-processor and a 4-track sampler. Damn! And it can even cough up a few drum sounds. None of it's features is great in itself. None of it will, IMHO, justify it's purchase. Still, it offers quite a few options for customization. Some parameters of the fx-processor are programmable, which can offer some nice results. A minor setback is the lack of user memory-space. I inserted a memory-card, but I/O literally takes ages. Also, sampled loops will shift in pitch if you adjust the tempo. This greatly limits it's use, but what can you expect for that price? In the end it comes down to how you view this box. It is NOT a groovebox, it was never made to do something incredibly well, it was made to do a decent job on a lot of things, and that it does.

Price paid

€ 199

UTILIZATION

The interface of the MC-09 looks simple and straightforward, but Roland has hidden away a lot of options in obscure places. You'll spend quite some time pressing buttons before you get a grasp on what this unit can do. The manual is a "Roland Vintage", meaning it is difficult to get through at best. Still, if you know what you are looking for, you can find it. Programming the step-sequencer is a tricky job, but that also is nothing new.

The MC-09 has a bit of a shabby look. It's made out of plastic, the turning knobs and faders are a bit flimsy, and the audio-connectors are of CD-player type (OK Roland, you can put the crackpipe down now...). Still, I have yet to have a Roland (or Boss) product break down on me, so I have faith.

SOUNDS

The synth in this unit has a very decent sound, but it is limited. If you are looking for harsh, aggressive sounds, the MC-09 delivers. Otherwise, it won't be much use to you. The sound it generates is good, but I'd like to have seen a little more 'bass' in the bass. (But OTOH, it being a Roland, there might be controls I haven't been able to unearth yet ). It will hold it's own in a live setting. When you use it in a studio environment, you might want to use a little chorus and/or eq to fatten it up a bit. The fx-processor is decent. The filter and the slicer are OK, the phaser isn't that great, the isolator is a 3-band eq. The drum sounds it packs are horrible. Roland could have done a little better there. I've seen people comment on the lack of sound quality in the sampler. This might be true, but then again, the MC-09 will never, ever do as your main workhorse. I like the ability to record a few loops here and there, but I'd never rely on it.

OVERALL OPINION

Do I love it? Hell yeah! If you're on a limited budget such as I, it offers great value for money. Don't view it as a standalone groovebox, view it as a synth, a sampler and an fx-processor in 1 box. Despite it's obvious limitations, it's a very, very versatile box. You can spend hours exploring it's possibilities. I've had tons of fun with it, and it's been a great source of inspiration. It still is.

Originally posted on FutureProducers.com
Posted by: Unknown ( 2-, 2005)
»
FP User10/31/2008

FP User's review

Roland MC-09 PhraseLab
For such a small and obscure unit, it is literaly /packed/ with features. For 200 euros I got a synth with a step sequencer, a programmable, syncable fx-processor and a 4-track sampler. Damn! And it can even cough up a few drum sounds. None of it's features is great in itself. None of it will, IMHO, justify it's purchase. Still, it offers quite a few options for customization. Some parameters of the fx-processor are programmable, which can offer some nice results. A minor setback is the lack of user memory-space. I inserted a memory-card, but I/O literally takes ages. Also, sampled loops will shift in pitch if you adjust the tempo. This greatly limits it's use, but what can you expect for that price? In the end it comes down to how you view this box. It is NOT a groovebox, it was never made to do something incredibly well, it was made to do a decent job on a lot of things, and that it does.

Price paid

€ 199

UTILIZATION

The interface of the MC-09 looks simple and straightforward, but Roland has hidden away a lot of options in obscure places. You'll spend quite some time pressing buttons before you get a grasp on what this unit can do. The manual is a "Roland Vintage", meaning it is difficult to get through at best. Still, if you know what you are looking for, you can find it. Programming the step-sequencer is a tricky job, but that also is nothing new.

The MC-09 has a bit of a shabby look. It's made out of plastic, the turning knobs and faders are a bit flimsy, and the audio-connectors are of CD-player type (OK Roland, you can put the crackpipe down now...). Still, I have yet to have a Roland (or Boss) product break down on me, so I have faith.

SOUNDS

The synth in this unit has a very decent sound, but it is limited. If you are looking for harsh, aggressive sounds, the MC-09 delivers. Otherwise, it won't be much use to you. The sound it generates is good, but I'd like to have seen a little more 'bass' in the bass. (But OTOH, it being a Roland, there might be controls I haven't been able to unearth yet ). It will hold it's own in a live setting. When you use it in a studio environment, you might want to use a little chorus and/or eq to fatten it up a bit. The fx-processor is decent. The filter and the slicer are OK, the phaser isn't that great, the isolator is a 3-band eq. The drum sounds it packs are horrible. Roland could have done a little better there. I've seen people comment on the lack of sound quality in the sampler. This might be true, but then again, the MC-09 will never, ever do as your main workhorse. I like the ability to record a few loops here and there, but I'd never rely on it.

OVERALL OPINION

Do I love it? Hell yeah! If you're on a limited budget such as I, it offers great value for money. Don't view it as a standalone groovebox, view it as a synth, a sampler and an fx-processor in 1 box. Despite it's obvious limitations, it's a very, very versatile box. You can spend hours exploring it's possibilities. I've had tons of fun with it, and it's been a great source of inspiration. It still is.

Originally posted on FutureProducers.com
Posted by: Unknown ( 2-, 2005)
»
nobazz11/14/2014

nobazz's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)"A special tools and a sound that sends the paté."

Roland MC-09 PhraseLab
The MC-09 is really a particular design. I leave a comment to explain a little thing, because it had not seemed to me perfectly clear until you have between the legs.

It is therefore of a groove of the MC series, but that has nothing to do with the other (303,808,307,505,909 ...) that look more or less with different abilities. Unlike her sisters, the MC-09 does not have sound bank and "styles" based on foulitude waveforms. Its architecture is designed in an original way:

> Part "looper" 4 tracks can sample an external source or the synth part, designed to catch on the fly and fast editing, whence comes the appellation "phraselab." I read that the sampling degrade the sound is somewhat true. It is better to keep your hands on the synth part anyway you want to grind. BUT should not be exaggerated, quality sampling is very correct, it's not lo-fi, 8-bit sound or I do not know what other crap ....

> A particularly vivid synth part. His party claims sound emulation TB-303 with a rather conventional analog VA engine but highly efficient and configurable in depth. In short, do not expect him to play a piano or copper. This is a synth bass / lead acid that sounds. The engine can also generate rhythmic sets that they are not editable but decent quality (typed near TR909, 808 and consort).

> A common sequencer, so a single track, to play the synth (bass or lead or rhythm) OR a sample of the looper part cut or detune. One sequencable track, which therefore requires a (re) sampled in the looper to edit one second !!! Again, nothing to do with the other groovebox. this program is also in the manner of a TR more than other MC: placing notes on it, either visually (not Selected light) or step by step.

The effects section (Isolator, Phaser and Slicer) is not his strong point in my opinion. it applies only to the sampled phrases. Against by the filter is effective. Typically acid, the resonance can quickly toothache, and to shake down pass single glazing ...

Side connector is classical, midi in / out, stereo RCA inputs and outputs and headphone jack.




UTILIZATION

The general configuration is relatively simple for those who know the groovebox, on the other hand I have not found the manual very clear effect on the functions of the looper outbreaks party. Initially, however, better to have his elbow to identify under layers of menus. The display is very succinct (3 numeric characters ...) it takes time initially to decode the signs to the screens ... For example, midi setup is a little musty I think.

SOUNDS

The design of the machine requires to organize a minimum to keep your hands on what you want.

The typical process is (for example) the following:
make a loop with the rhythm sequencer, sampler in the looper. edit the mouth into the looper and the shift on the track side once you are satisfied.
looping bass with the sequencer, sampler in the looper. Edit, shift or merge with the track next to ...
sampler an external source in the looper. Edit, paste yours over effect, and shift or merge with the track next to ...
schedule a lead track in the sequencer, and play with while reading the 4-track looper ...
All on one card saves smartmedia starting casting a bronze, and in no apparent hurry.

for example :)

As it has been said, this machine is limited if it is used alone. In my case, it complements my MC-307, with a really effective synth and sampler part very flexible.

OVERALL OPINION

It's been one year since I got it. It is not the heart of my system but part of the instruments that I would keep because of its particular design. It sometimes helps me a box of ideas, and will help me to live if I resumed one day.

The pros:
> Its original design and fluid workflow
> Its power and possibilities of synthesis
> Its minimal emcombrement
> Start the car during the sampling.
> Bounce during playback.
> The loop editing sometimes surprising results system.

the -:
> Times infamous loading samples.
> Display on the screen unclear.
> The proprietary format of samples.
> No editing rhythm sets.

In conclusion, the ideal would have been for me a groovebox combines the MC-09 and MC-307 (or 505). The editing capabilities and sound territories are complementary. I use both all at once. I can understand the MC series say they have aged badly, especially when you do not bother to delve into their synthesis engine not exactly welcoming. This exception to the rule !!! I honestly think she does not have to be ashamed to do the latest products (roland or not) trying to approach the TB-303.
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Other names: mc 09 phraselab, mc09phraselab, mc09 phraselab, mc 09 phrase lab, mc09, mc 09, mc 09phraselab, MC-09

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