ROLAND MSQ-700 with DCB + DIN SYNC
|The MSQ-700 is an 8-track sequencer that holds up to 6,500 notes that can be
stored. Several functions of the MSQ-700 include a chain function, multi-track
function, overdubbing and a merge function. Use it to control your TR-909, or Juno-60 or any other MIDI equipment. The
MSQ-700 is compatible with both MIDI and Roland's proprietary DCB sync methods
(although it can't do both at the same time).
The MSQ may load notes in real time or step time into any of the units 8 tracks. The unit offers 1-6 and 8 beats per measure. Step time allows you to enter notes step by step. The note is selected by an external keyboard and the duration is selected by a slider. While the slider seems relatively sturdy moving this slider back and forth over and over again can¡¯t be to helpful to slider¡¯s longevity. I find the slider a little awkward to use. The slider offers 1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/12, 1/8, ¼, ½ notes to be selected. Longer notes may be created with ties. There is rest key with is used to input rests with duration selected by the slider. You may record data at the beginning of a track or identify a beginning of a measure in to insert data into.
The MSQ has both MIDI in and out ports and well as a DCB interface. However the machine can only use on these interfaces at once. So it will not act as a DCB to MIDI converter which is a shame. This means you cant send the unit midi data and have it send out the DCB interface. DCB is found on the Roland Juno 60 and more importantly later Jupiter 8s. The MSQ may be controlled by its internal clock or controlled by external midi clock, tape sync, or din sync. The MSQ can write tape sync and can control other units (i.e. TR909, TR606, MC4, etc..) using din sync. The ability to sync and control using all these different formats is one of the MSQ main strengths. The unit can be controlled by its own or external midi clock and send din sync signals at the same time or vice versa. So the MSQ700 will function as a midi clock to din sync converter and this is one of its primary use today.
To playback what has been recorded you simply select the track you wish to play and hit the play key. The sequence will run to its end and then stop or you make select ¡®continue play¡¯ and it will repeat over and over. You may stop the sequence during playback and then hit the stop/continue key and the sequence will start at the point it was stopped or you may scroll forward or backward to the applicable measure. More than track may be played at once. You may program the machine to play up to 78 tracks in any combination which is known as chain play.
Editing or Lack of Editing
An erase function allows you erase a complete track but there is no way to erase a measure or an individual step which is a tremendous short fall of the machine. So if you make a mistake at some part of the track you either live with it or erase the entire track. A merge command allows you to mix up to seven tracks of data onto one track. A ¡®time correct¡¯ or quantize function is available which essentially decrease the units timing resolution. I¡¯m not to big of a fan of this type of error correction. Overdub is also available which allows you to enter data in real time playing along with existing data. When using DCB, the existing data and the overdub is loaded into a new track. When using MIDI, only the new data is loaded into the new track. If you like the overdub you may merge it with the original data. No other functions are offered, no step time edit or anything else.
A cassette interface is provided to store and load data. The unit uses ¼ audio cables to connect with your tape recorder. The unit offers save, load and verify to test the save. The entire memory of the MSQ or selected tracks may be saved. The data may be reloaded into the unit as it was saved or interestingly enough the track data may be loaded into empty tracks without affecting tracks with data on it. Also worth noting is that the MSQ offers a level test to help you determine the appropriate level of playback that should be used for best results when loading data.