OT + MKS-70 experiments

As some of you read in the “latest purchase / intentions” thread, I acquired a Roland MKS-70 rack mount synth. This is basically a JX-10, aka two JX-8Ps in a rack mount enclosure.

This thread will be used to post some videos of OT sequencing the MKS-70. I haven’t owned a vintage synth since the late 90s when I had my SQ-80 and 1/10th the knowledge about how to use it, as I have now.

I’ll be upgrading the firmware with the Vecoven EPROM and flash module soon. But I was eager to get to know it while I wait on the EPROM ships to arrive from Europe. And, after accidentally recording the first version in mono, here’s a better version anyway:

OT sequencing, with some live chord inversions (on a p-locked step 1, via toothpick hold). G# Minor. 4 note pad.
MKS-70 goes back into the OT, and then out to an Eventide Blackhole reverb pedal, and Analog Heat.

edit: Scroll down for more experiments


Beautiful strings! Folks used to complain about its slow envelopes, looks like the new firmware may make them snappier? How are you finding them?

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Yea, I heard @tr909 complaining about the envelopes today, haha.

Me? I’m still exploring. They are a bit wonky. Decay shaves the attack. But it’s got character, and I like that.

I’m only going with the v3 Vecoven upgrade though, so there will be no difference in the envelopes (v4 adds PWM, and added LFO and envelope modulators, but is a very involved upgrade).
Since I just want the added patch memory, and MIDI CC# control, the V3 flash memory EPROM along with the 2 other newer EPROMs (Vecoven includes these with the 32 bank flash upgrade) will suit my needs just fine.

Made this first video as an exercise in live editing and also forcing me to develop some memory for loading/editing/saving patches and tones. For now I’m just using all 12 voices for one timbre (A-Whole, as it’s called on the unit, heh). I’ll dive into layering bitimbral patches down the road.


Ah, MIDI CCs, easy to forget how convenient modern stuff is. But nice that it’s bitimbral. Also heard it was used in a lot of 90s film scores, melancholy strings, etc.

Interesting about the wonky envelopes. The MKS50 (& Matrix 1000) had pretty slow envs compared to modern stuff, (and no MIDI CCs). Lots of stepping too.

Looks like this PG-800 emulator for the iPad may work with the Vecoven firmware.

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Sounds amazing, if you didn’t;t know you’d swear that was played on a keyboard and not sequenced by an OT

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MKS-70 is a great poly, a signature sound of a lot of great early deep house (JX-8p too) what a great gift your buddy gave you, congrats!

Sounds awesome!



Yea, I am seeing why people complain about the envelopes. They are not fast. But I won’t complain! :grinning: In fact, after my failed quest to make a snappy stab last night I gave some of the inverted pitch envelopes a try and got a nice little bouncy bit going…

MKS-70 synth, OT sequencing, OT pitched drums and effects. + Blackhole pedal & Analog Heat

I’m enjoying this concept of trying to get it to behave in ways it cannot, and then seeing where it ends up. It’s been a fun way to explore its capabilities and I’d like to get more atypical sounds out of it.


Here’s another. Getting some dub chords out of the MKS-70. Minor triads ftw.
Blend of saw and pulse, with OSC Sync Mode #1 (a real cool sync mode that gets pitch from one oscillator and harmonics from the other)

MKS-70 into OT delay into Blackhole pedal into Ableton Echo
OT drums into Ableton for some eq/compression.


That sounds lush

Played it live with the beat running, and just tweaked the bottom 3 knobs on the Blackhole live (size, low reflections, high reflections) Love this pedal.

Some velocity mod on the filter envelope too.

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Yeah Blackhole still rules for reverb if you ask me - my Space pedal has something wrong with it though and scrambles parameters randomly playing back glitched sections of whatever it lands on. Time for a replacement maybe!

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Just want to say congratulations and I’m excited about this thread.

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I also need to thank @ignatius who sent me an original printed manual for the MKS-70.
And while I have a searchable PDF manual, the printed manual has made navigating the patch factors MUCH quicker.

I still haven’t taken a dive into getting the most out of dual layer mode just yet. Waiting on the new firmware eproms to arrive.

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new stuff… using the iPG-800 iPad editor for the MKS-70 has been real helpful, and the new EPROMs were required to make use of it.
Can see the whole patch at a glance.

Here’s a medley of the last 3 chord pads I made. A little Ableton Echo and NI Raum reverb used here and there.


Sounding good.

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Getting acid bass lines out of the MKS-70.
It’s totally possible with a bit of imagination.

Crank the filter envelope’s key follow. This will shorten the envelope time for higher keys.
To offset that higher register of playing, lower the DCO’s coarse tune (range), and if needed - drop the DCO tune another octave.
Now, play the notes on your KB/sequencer in a higher register than usual, to offset the lower pitched DCO.

There’s further explanation on my instagram.
And extended audio here:

Anyone that’s ever told you the envelope’s on this thing are only good for pads and strings just isn’t trying hard enough.


I still keep both for everything I own, each has their own benefit

Came across a zip file of some patch sheets from the old roland user group magazine. They’ve been good for exploring the patch settings and chase delay. These aren’t parameters accessible on the DT-800/PG-800 programmer, so it is easy to overlook them.

This one has been my favorite so far.

Here’s how it sounds…
“Alien Pad”


New and fun.

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Haha, yea if they should ever reprint these.
“Old” and “Time-consuming” would be accurate.

It was fun to dial up a sound that was published as text way back when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. I felt like a sonic archaeologist. :face_with_monocle: