Sunday, 22 January 2012

Roland MC4 MicroComposer Flowcharts & Saving Data to Computer


The Roland MC4 MicroComposer is a legendary music sequencer with well known works from composers such as Vince Clarke & Aphex Twin.  On this post are two vital pages from the Roland MC4B MicroComposer manual that gives an overview/flowchart of all operations. The earlier versions of the manuals did not contain these pages to my knowledge, based on an older version of the manual I have seen. The scans are the last two pages in my manual and so can easily get lost. I've decided to post mine here for other MC4 owners, and the curious. I don't own the copyright on them and have not asked Roland for permission as this machine is pretty ancient and now totally unsupported. Below is a rather hazy old picture of one of my two and half MC4B's taken about 1997.



Below the two flowchart pages is a scan of my letter to Chris Carter that was published in Sound on Sound Vol.12 No.10. August 1997. This was a letter to Chris in response to his retro-review of the related RolandMC8 Microcomposer. It details a method I devised to be able to load and save MC4 data via the audio interface on computer. Nothing special really, just a bit of lateral thinking on my part. But it became apparent that this sort of idea was very useful with all sorts of old machines / synths etc. that could only dump to tape or data casette. I'm sure I am not the only one to have thought of it! Chris also has his original article on the MC8 on his website: Check it out. Also, I was digging through a cupboard the other day and found Chris's postcard that he sent back to me, to let me know my letter was going to published in Sound on Sound. Happy memories, so I thought I'd do a scan of that too, to complete the story :)