Roland MC-09 PhraseLab
Roland MC-09 PhraseLab

MC-09 PhraseLab, Secuenciador Sampler from Roland in the MC series.

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content in English
FP User 01/11/2008

Roland MC-09 PhraseLab : la opinión de FP User (content in English)


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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


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.


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.


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
Posted by: Unknown ( 2-, 2005)