go back to main studio page

Roland MKS-100Japan 1986.
12 bit digital sampler
You might think the MKS100, being a high number in the MKS-range (the roland rack synth types from the 1980s), would be something like a super mega Jupiter 8 rack synth.
It isn't. The MKS100 is the rackversion of the Roland S10, a 12 bit sampler from 1986 with 256 kilobytes of memory.

The specs are "amazing"....there is only 4 seconds of sampling time and you can only have 4 different samples in the entire machine (1 second each! then, or 1 sample of 4 seconds, or 2 samples of 2 seconds etc.)
There are resonant lowpass filters but they are not realtime (!) and it takes a lot of calculating time before the filters are rendered over the sample. It also uses the super obsolete 2.8" quickdisk format to save the samples (and yes to save the entire memory of 4 samples you will need two of those!). You can fortunately dump the samples to a computer with MIDI but that takes such a long time that I just don't save the samples.

Despite that I like this sampler, its idioticly simple to use (there is a button for almost every function) and it works fast, and as I said before the sound is magic...wooley and warm.
Back in the days this used to be enough to make tracks with, I had 3 samples with drums and one with a synth sound or something.

Listen to the sounds of the MKS100 in this track, all the drums and the bleep melody are MKS100, the synth is a Korg MS20:
Legowelt - Svolvear

Here's a list of the Roland MKS series:
MKS 7  "Super Quartet" - Multitrimbal rack version of the Roland Juno 106 with a monophonic synth and TR707 sounds
MKS10  "Planet P" - Piano module that uses analog synthesis
MKS20  "Digital Piano" - Piano module that uses rom samples, rack version of the RD1000 electric piano
MKS30  "Planet s" - Rack version of the JX3P synthesizer
MKS50  "Synthesizer Module" - Rack version of the Alpha Juno synthesizer
MKS70 "Super JX" - Rack version of the Roland JX8P/Super JX10
MKS80 "Super Jupiter" - Rack version of the Roland Jupiter 8
MKS100 "Digital Sampler" - 12 bit sampler, rack version of the Roland S10

go back to main studio page