Roland MC-500 Micro composer


Recently I picked up this MC-500 sequencer. I’ve read a lot about them and there are really cool vintage 80’s professional sequencers. It sort of looks like an old calculator 🙂


  • Year: 1986-1988
  • Memory: 256KB (768KB for the MKII model)
  • 4 tracks (8 with the MKII software)
  • 3,5″diskdrive
  • Midi in
  • 2x Midi out

Quote from ‘‘:

The MC-500 is one of the best and reigning stand-alone sequencer and midi recorders around. There’s 4-track recording in real or step time and 16 midi channel multitimbrality, a dedicated rhythm track, a built-in 3.5″ disk drive with 100,000 note capacity and a large LCD screen. New operating systems including the newer mkII version can be loaded via the disk drive. Editing is intense and precise. The sequencer has 30,000 note capacity, track merging, microscopic editing, quantization and it’s relatively simple to use. (1986)

The MC-500mkII was equipped with Turbo software. Now there are 8 tracks of recording, 100,000 note capacity, real-time track muting and more.

I’ll hook it up to some of my old Roland synthesizers and figure out how to use it just for the fun of it.

The guy who sold it to me had no idea what it was and he didn’t have the special Roland EC-210 power cord so he ‘mended’ that problem in the following way:

Somebody call the fire department please 😀

I feel better already:


Of course it didn’t came with the boot disk required to use it so I though I’d make one my self. You can still download the boot disk from the Roland website so don’t buy it on eBay. While I was trying to create a boot disk my USB floppy drive sort of broke so I’ll have to get a new one first. The MC-500 powers up fine and the display just says: “Insert system disk” or something like that.

Since I have to wait for a new USB floppy drive to arrive I had a look on the inside of the MC-500:

Everything looks fine here. My MC-500 has no back light on the display at all. This is a common issue since the back light is provided by an EL foil which becomes dimmer and dimmer after many hours of use. You can get a new EL foil on the internet and replacing seems to be easy. Maybe I’ll do this someday.

Some pictures of the outside of the unit:


One thought on “Roland MC-500 Micro composer

  1. I have had one of these since new. I bought it in 1985, the second one ever delivered in Australia. I wrote many tunes on it and learned all about recording and sending SysEx messages, even editing string info to change a patch… such fun!! Let me know if you need any tips… I will help if I can remember.. Craig. Australia


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