the original GrooveBox
The Roland MC-303 is the original GrooveBox.
It came out in 1996, when Trance was at its apex, and - as you
can tell from several of its factory preset patterns - Goa
Trance is particularly well represented.
The term "Groove Box" was created by Roland, and then several other manufacturers started producing their own versions of grooveboxes, from Yamaha's AN/DX200, to Korg's very popular Electribe series.
A Groovebox is basically a portable unit that features sounds in ROM, a sequencer, the ability to program patterns from the unit itself, knobs/sliders and other controls, arpeggiator, and other functions. It's particularly useful for live performances.
A very good addition on the MC-303 is the inclusion of the "RPS" (Realtime Phrase Sequence) - you can play back phrases from the onboard buttons. Arpeggiator and sequencer are also very complete and effective.
The MC-303 also works via MIDI as a standard PCM sound module (similar sounds as on the Roland JV-series, but tailored for dance/electronica.
Factory Demo Songs:
Here is the Factory Demo Song sequence. It's pretty long at 12:00 minutes, but represents well what you can do with this machine.
Factory Demo Songs
Stream all the patch examples below as an .m3u playlist
|Pattern name with audio demo||My comments|
|A-01 Goa Trance Pattern 1||Classic mid-1990s Trance busy pattern|
|A-05 Goa Trance Pattern 5||Typical Goa Trance interweaving synth lines, a la Astral Projection.|
|A-21 Goa Trance Pattern 21||Another typical Goa Trance pattern|
|A-23 Goa Trance Break Pattern 1||Another Astral Projection, Infected Mushroom type pattern.|
|A-30 Trance Pattern 2||Nice dancey pattern.|
|A-40 Trance Pattern 12||Jumpy good.|
|A-45 Trance Pattern 17||Techno-heavy.|
|A-48 Trance Pattern Break 3||Nice 16th bass drum a la New Order's "Blue Monday"|
|B-06 Techno Pattern 6||Warm-sounding.|
|B-09 House Pattern 1||Super-groovy and soulful House|
|B-12 House Pattern 4||Reminds of Haddaway's "What Is Love"|
|B-18 House Pattern 10||Nice '90s British House|
|B-19 House Pattern 11||Curiously '80s sounding.|
|B-26 House Pattern 18||Nice Techno-House|
|B-28 House Pattern 20||Very stilish|
|B-33 Hip Hop Pattern 3||Funky goodness, 1970s-flavor|
|B-35 Hip Hop Pattern 5||Hip Hop happy|
|B-39 Jazz Funk Pattern 3||Good quality sounds on this machine.|
|B-41 Jazz Funk Pattern 5||Nice Fender Jazz bass sample|
|B-43 Jungle Pattern 1||Dreamy Jungle/Drum 'n' Bass pattern|
|B-47 Jungle Pattern 5||More aggressive version of D 'n' B. Excellent resonant filter synths.|
|C-14 Jungle Break Pattern 3||Dark and ominous|
|C-21 Trip Hop Pattern 3||Nice relaxed pattern|
|C-25 Trip Hop Pattern 7||Nice British pattern, a bit a la 808-State|
|C-31 Trip Hop Break Pattern 3||Mysterious|
|C-32 Salsa Pattern||Happy Salsa beat. The MC-303 is versatile!|
|C-33 Samba Pattern||More versatility here... a succulent Samba rhythm!|
|E-10 Goa Trance Drums Pattern||Banks E through I are "building blocks" - percussion, bass, synth lines to mix and match into your songs. This is a straight Techno beat.|
|E-15 Goa Trance Drums Fill In||Groovy fill|
|E-44 House Clavi Phrase||Nice Clavinet sound|
|F-01 House Piano Riff||Typical modern House electric piano pattern|
|F-08 House Snare Roll||Standard rising 909 snare, heard in (too) many songs.|
|F-14 House Bass Line||Gluey resonant bass line.|
|F-49 Jungle Synth Riff||Washy synth.|
|G-14 Jungle Oboe Riff||The oboe!|
|H-02 Trip Hop Wah Wah Guit||Nice sampled wah-wah guitar.|
|i-11 Trip Hop Sound Effects||Classic electronica "impossible" 32nd sequenced drum roll.|
The MC-303 can obviously also be used as a sound module via MIDI. Its sounds are typical Roland JV/XP ROM, but leaning toward the electronic side. Here is an example of the MC-303's internal sounds being played by a keyboard:
MC-303 as a sound module
|Year of release:||1996|
|Sound generation method:||PCM|
|Sound expansion capabilities:||no|
A few years after the MC-303, after the introduction of the MC-505, several artists used a groovebox for the "At Home With The Groovebox" compilation, that received good reviews and featured artists from totally different backgrounds - with in common only the fact they used solely a groovebox for their song.
available at www.rolandus.com
|SITE||Type of resource||DESCRIPTION|
Roland MC-303 review with audio demo