Re: [AH] Roland MC8 questions

From ISO-8859-1
Sent Sat, Feb 4th 2006, 18:59

Hi Rachel,

congratulations to your MC8 - it definitely is a dinosaur ;-) - as well 
as an challenge :-). I try to give you some answers to your questions.

> 1) Looks like the cable is missing.  I believe there was a source
> mentioned in the AH archives, but I can find no relevant info
> on the net.   Does anyone have a lead (sic) on where I might get a 
> cable?

I fear that you have to build your own one. The connector itself is a 
HIROSE connector (see See picture on the 
second page of the PDF. I do not exactly know the type of the connector 
since it is not printed on the connector itself but I will send you off 
list some pictures of the connector. To build the cable, I expect that 
it is a 1 to 1 connection (if you need more information, I can do some 
measurements for you).

> 2) I've been given the pinouts and Service Manual, so I am going to
> get it checked out when it arrives and hopefully the cable will
> be easy to prepare, if I cannot source one, but since I haven't seen 
> one,
> what kind of connectors does it use?
> I heard it was a bit like a 60pin SCSI I adaptor?

See above.

> 3) The MC8 has FSK sync input, ostensibly for tape sync.
> I want to sync with my computer as Master.   I assume that there
> are MIDI to FSK convertors out there?  Most of the info I have seen
> seems to refer to FSK->MIDI, whereas I want MIDI->FSK.  What do I
> need to do this?  Do most converters sync both ways?

I think e.g. an MSY2 of doepfer ( should do it. Or a 2nd 
hand Korg KMS-30 might serve as well. I did not try it.

> 4) I assume mine is going to get a service.  Is there any difficulty
> with getting these done wrt rare spares?
> Any mods I should do while it is opened up?

In my opinion, the parts difficult to find will be CPU, RAM and DAC. 
But maybe there are other components hard to find. I do not know about 
any mods.

> 5) Is there anything else special I should know about these?

Well, just a general comment: Compared with todays sequencers, the MC-8 
is a sequencer very, very hard to program. Any error is a nightmare. I 
never managed to work with it without the manual - which means, I wrote 
down notes as a quick reference. And also the MC-8 lose the memory when 
it is switched off. So it is important to set up a tape connection to 
store your daily work and reload it when continuing next day. This 
means, be prepared for a hard work ;-). This is the main reason why I 
stopped to use the MC-8 for now...