I recently picked up an MC-909 Groovebox for really cheap. I know Peaches used the MC-505 for most of her first album and thought it could be inspiring for something. So far It's cool for some 808 and 909 drum sounds. They're actually pretty editable and there are lots of controls via front panel, probably as cool as TR-8 in certain ways for that purpose.
It takes up a ton of real estate and I'm having trouble justifying keeping it just for some decently editable electroclash 808, 909, and 303 sounds. Frankly most of it sounds really dated. I mainly use Pro Tools for years with tons of soft synths so wouldn't be using this as my main workstation, just for extra sounds and inspiring hands on hardware integration. I have a fair amount of modern and vintage synths, so it's not really hard integrating another hardware piece if I'll use it.
Are there any MC-909 lovers or tips and tricks or reasons to keep it you can think of?
Don Solaris Soundset aka “Drums And Stuff” for MC-909
Here is an expansion pack for your Roland MC-909. The only requirement for this sound pack is that your MC-909 has 128MB of RAM and that you have a card with capacity of 128MB. If your MC-909 has more than 128MB of RAM it is ok, but if it has less, then i’m sorry.
So what’s in the package? A lot! For start, 1092 samples total! With 69 rhythm sets and samples originating from 27 vintage drum machines. You now finally the got whole history of electronic drums covered on your MC-909. The following drum machines (and some synths) were sampled for this sound pack:
- Akai XE8
- Alesis HR-16
- Alesis HR-16B
- Boss DR-55
- Casio PT-30
- Casio RZ-1
- E-MU Drumulator
- E-MU SP12
- Fujitone IIIB
- Kawai XD5
- Korg DDD1
- Linn 9000
- Linndrum LN1
- Nord Wave
- Oberheim DMX
- Roland TR-66
- Roland TR-505
- Roland TR-606
- Roland TR-626
- Roland TR-707
- Roland TR-727
- Roland TR-808
- Roland TR-909
- Roland CR-8000
- Yamaha RX-5
- Yamaha RX-11
- Yamaha RX-21
- Yamaha SY-35
- Yamaha SY-85
As mentioned earlier there are 69 rhythm sets. Of those 69, 54 feature drums, 8 feature jingles, 4 feature cuts, 2 feature robot voices and 1 features ambient noises. Let’s explain them in more detail or just click on the demo below.
54 drums sets. Well that’s pretty straight forward. You get full sets sampled from machines, i.e. a TR-606 will feature sounds from TR-606 and will be titled TR-606 accordingly. If sampled source has more than 16 sounds then they are split into parts, so for example you get HR-16 set1 and HR-16 set2. Then there is a third kind of rhythm sets which feature grouped instruments, such as kicks, snares, hats, etc. Notice: these are no doubles (from existing drum machines) but different drum samples, sampled from various sources – think of it as compilation of kicks, snare, hats etc. Makes things much easier when composing. Just Transpose the track and you have a new kick hitting without need to change the rhythm set.
Then there are 8 sets called ST jingles. These are various jingles taken from Amiga 500 computer Sound Tracker ST00-ST99 sample collection which is in public domain. These are made of vocal phrases, funny noises, stabs, etc. They are really old, think 1989, 1990, which i thought it would be fun to have. And they are raw gritty 8 bit samples.
There are 4 sets called Cuts. These come from TV/radio sources. Mostly made of random phrases, chatter, etc. I have included some legendary samples in here, just for fun, and you can hear some of those in the demo. Hint: Bomb The Bass.
There are 2 sets called Robot. These are, as its name suggests various Robot talk phrases. Which i thought wold be cool for all the techno heads and sound experimenters.
Then there is one special set called Atmospheres. These are various ambient noises which i’ve either generated or recorded in field during some work in the early 2000s that never managed to end on a sample CD (which i’ve planned back then but never finished it). So here is their premiere for the first time. You can hear some of them in the demo as well.
BONUS: Extra 48 patches. Since i know a thing or two about programming Roland JD/JV engine i couldn’t resist to program a couple of patches for you!! I have also included some cool samples in here which are also available thru patch selection.
Is it worth the money? Put it in this perspective. Average Dance card for MC-909 cost around 100 notes, delivers around 800 samples and 24 drum sets. This set cost 39 notes and delivers around 1100 sampled and 54 drum sets.
Put a new 128MB card into your MC-909. Got to disk utility and Format it. Once you do that, connect MC-909 to your computer via USB cable. When prompted, choose Menu/USB. Press the button that points to Memory Card. Connection should be established. Now go to your computer. Extract the archive that you received into the folder on the card called ROLAND. Computer will ask you if you want to overwrite the content. Choose YES TO ALL. And that’s it. Disconnect MC-909 from computer and reboot it. If still unsure, here is a video that shows you how to install.
Having problems after installing this soundset?
I wrote these instructions with the latest OS installed in MC-909. So if you have any issues while installing this set via different operating system on the machine and you are missing patches etc. please make sure to check a few of these important things. Do you have the latest 1.23 OS in your MC-909? If not i suggest you download it from Roland’s website and install it into your machine before proceeding with installing my soundset. Use the following procedure to display the current Operating System Version:
1. Press MENU. 2. Select “SYSTEM” and press ENTER. 3. Press F6 “System Info.” 4. While holding SHIFT, press and release button 1, 7, 8 and 9 under the PART MIXER. 5. Press F5 “Test Mode” to display the “PROG. Version.” 6. Turn the unit off and back on to return to the normal mode.
Second thing: since i made the video with the Windows XP and perhaps some different operating systems might behave differently or have some extra features while copying data please check: is there snd909.svd file on your card inside SND folder? If you are missing patches, please manually copy it from my ZIP file and overwrite the existing snd909.svd on your card. Third thing: do you have a TMP folder on your card? Please remove that folder, now place the card into MC-909 and boot the machine. Do patches now load? Feel free to ask if you have any extra problems i will be glad to help.
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MC-909 Don Solaris Soundset