MC-4 quick workarounds

edited December 2011 in MC-4 Hack
I have an MC-4-a which I bought 2-3 years ago and only now am starting to use it.
After reading the manual I'm still puzzled about some things I'm hoping you could clarify for me.

I want to be able to write basslines on the fly, for live performance purposes.
I know I could use CV + Gate mode to write in real time, but then the gate would be over the place.
I could rewrite the gate in real time but again I would most likely miss the correct quantizization.
Or I could simply do the live entry initially, then correct each step/gate by typing in the nearest number according to the 48/12/6 timebase etc
as well as it may not add up to 192 which is akin to a 16 step/1 bar pattern cycle correct?

The thing is, I want to be able to write a pattern/bassline/melody etc improvised then have it cycled, all as my other machines are still playing running through their respective patterns.
Which bring me to the next point, being whether or not to make the MC-4 the master clock. I'm currently using it as the master since I know about its tightness and robustness etc
but if I'm using it primarily to sequence a bassline on a SH-09, part-way through a track/live performance etc I may want to change the bassline.
so maybe it would be better to make the MC-4 a slave to another master clock via DINSYNC, so I could possibly stop it through a track and quickly rewrite the bassline/melody etc without the whole network of synths & drum machines stopping as well.

or else, if could have written a pattern/looped bassline for 1 measure, then press ME end, so that is measure 1. then for measure 2 write a different pattern. but when i go to play these I may only want measure 1 to cycle through, looping. and then when I feel like it/when I want to, I want the 2nd measure to play itself cycling/looping. or then I may want but measures to cycle through consecutively; 1,2,3,1,2,3 etc
I want to be able to trigger/select which measure plays and when live. I dont want to have to sequence a whole song in perfect time, because for a live performance i might want 1 bar/pattern to cycle through longer/until I want to change it.
So, do you know how to do this? how to tell the MC-4 what measure/bar/pattern to cycle on in a live manner?
I'm hoping I would just have to press 2 for measure 2 and wont have to stop the whole machine.
in a nutshell, the same way you just select which pattern to play on a 707 etc when you want to change it.

also, i might be using the mc-4 to sequence 2 synths, so i'd use channel 2 as well obviously.
I would like to write a pattern/line/measure etc into channel 1 for bass and channel 2 for a 2nd synth, but I may want channel 1 to extend for longer than channel 2, which if channel 2 is only very short,
will have to wait until channel 1 has finished its complete cycle until it goes back to the start and then channel 2 will play again.
do you know of a way which will enable me to keep channel 2 cycling/looping itself, whilst channel 1 will go through many patterns/measures?
this way I'm hoping would enable to make polyrhythmic variations unexpectedly, so channel 1 may last 16 steps, whilst channel 2 may last 13 steps or 15, i.e. creating automatic variations layering over each other.

also thinking about intergrating one of these; what do you think?

Do you know of any secret functions the MC-4 can do?

cheers and excuse my over explanation ;)


  • Though I *am* in the process of writing an MC-4 application that will convert MIDI files (and table-based manual data entry) into MC-4 cassette format, I don't know much about real world use of the MC-4 (believe it or not, I don't own an MC-4!). So I might recommend asking on a place like Analogue Heaven or Muff Wigglers, or perhaps the Google Groups MC-4 mailing list:
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