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Roland MKS-7 SuperQuartet

Roland MKS-7 Super Quartet

3.75 3.75 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

Tr707+3 channels of juno 106; recommended to use with a solid midi oriented daw; great bang for low bucks if one is ok w/sysex.


25th September 2011

Roland MKS-7 Super Quartet by crufty

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.75
Roland MKS-7 SuperQuartet

First...what it is: tr707 roms, one juno 106 bass voice, two juno 106 melody voices and four juno 106 chord voices in a rackable format.

Sound...
The 707 roms are a bit grainy and definitely not hifi. Nice enough. The juno voice is well represented here. Not the gnarliest dco out there (hat tip dsi evolver) but filter is typical roland butter soft. Resonance doesnt go up up up up. Nice and warm sound that is polite and sits in the mix. After dinner drinks with friends vs a kegger. Sounds better then va/vst but not quite exiciting enough for me to go oh hells yeah worth it any price. So: 6. Good and solid at the right price.

Ease of use: oh boy. Lets do features first.

Features: this is a multi channel instrument that needs sysex for max potential. Right off the bat most midi controller keyboards arent going to cut it.

In fact, this module really demands a modern daw...I cant imagine the pain involved when this thing first hit the streets!

It has 99 presets per dco channel, which cover the basics well enough. No patch memory. And the only way to program is via sysex. I cant imagine using in any other environment other then a modern daw, and one that has some kind of midi template system (like logic environment or cubase etc).

The sysex is pretty easy to program itself, after spending the requisite day fiddling around with daw + mks7, then reading, and re-reading the operations manual...easy compared to the roland d50 or yamaha tg/sy series.

Still, sysex programming can be a bit daunting, though perserverance is well rewarded. Be prepared to get your bin to hex calclator ready!

I suppose roland was feeling generous that it used midi at all. still, once a template is setup, programming is a breeze. The mks7 is velocity sensitive, another feature we take for granted today.

Compared to todays modern marvels, with thousands of presets and vst based patch creation, the mks7 is pretty rough. Its not that bad to get going, but time is time so...3.

Back to ease of use...Its not that hard to puzzle out though the manual makes life a lot easier. So for basic turn it on and bang on keyboard to get sound stuff, works as well as any module. Setup your splits or use a modern daw and you are off. But....to get the most out of this box, you really need the sysex commands for stuff like filter sweeps, resonance mods, envelope tweaks, and the like. This kind of setup is no longer par the course. A far cry from korgs/yamahas/rolands/access offerings, where a driver download and a usb cable get you "total integration". Old school it is...and no knobs nor sliders. 3.

Bang for buck as long as its inexpensive....8! For all the knocks above, its a tr707+juno106x3 in a ru format. it sounds great and one could make a smashing tune with just this box. I like its sound and its convenient. But one really needs to be invested in midi already.

If midi is scary...if the logic environment makes you think hmmm...esm is good enough...this might not be such a good buy, and one reason why it should remain relatively inexpensive.

14th October 2012

Roland MKS-7 Super Quartet by Fede.VR

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Roland MKS-7 SuperQuartet

the mks-7 is a very special machine .. with a normal patch memory and a dedicated programmer could have been one of the nicest modules of that time (it is the first multi-timbral synth rack roland and one of the few analog multitimbral), unfortunately some engineer @ Roland had a bad week and decided that patch memory was not needed, missing the point completely.
considered a 106 vith 7 voices, it really is a little different ... the bass part has a hardware EG (IR3R09) and the LPF cutoff is different, no chorus / no hpf / no lfo; the other 6 voices have the 106 architecture (except no noise in the chord 4 voice part).
the infamous voice chips of mine still have their coating but they all works ( hopefully for long)
Considerations:
few hours of time to sort out the sysex specs that are quite complicate, (even for roland overcomplicated standard) half an hour to program the PCR300 with a decent map to have access to most options ... (missed out just the noise due to lack of available keys) and i was ready to go ....
Logic handles sysexe decently, the pcr300 too has no problem and being able to send a snap of the PCR parameters for all pots, sliders, and buttons makes saving an edited sound quite easy. from the point of view of ergonomics and immediacy, with a right configuration it is immediate as a 106.
as for sound .... I must say that despite being a "few tricks pony" what the mks7 does, it does it really well... The first thing I noticed is how easy is to sit ti in a mix .... while with vst it takes more more time to treat the sounds to sit them in the mix , the mks7 is much more immediate from that point of view ... certainly it is not the ideal machine for evolving pad of 2 minutes but basses, acid meows , leads and soft pads are his bread ... and for "my" sound it definitely is a perfect machine
in conclusion ... underrated great synth, a keeper.

30th April 2019

Roland MKS-7 Super Quartet by wintersunproject

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Roland MKS-7 SuperQuartet

Incredible box, which i foolishly overlooked for years.
It sounds more like a Juno 6 in a box than a 106 to my ears
and the 707 drums sound better than a 707. The hardware envelope for the bass synth part is genius, such a lot of analog quality crammed into a small space.
The price of these is soaring and for very good reason, it sounds fantastic.
And VST's do not come near close. Not sure if the D/A converters are different to the juno 106 and TR707 but to me it sounds beefier, a very high quality unit covering all bases.
If Roland had allowed storage of sounds, this would be one very expensive vintage unit to buy now, and if they had put individual outs on the drums, which can be done with a bit of electronics skills..
This is one of the best bits of gear i have, and fortunately i have some pretty nice old skool kit in the studio.

 
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