Roland System 100M Modular Synthesizer
THE NEXT SOUNDWAVE
In 1980 I traded my otherwise beloved Korg MS-20 / MS-50 / SQ-10 Modular for the Roland System 100M. Since I could not afford both systems, I needed to part with the Korg System for the upgrade.
I was first introduced to the System 100M by Bent Corlin of Roland Scandinavia, who also provided a compact system for the keyboard player Kenneth Knudsen of the renowned Danish jazz/rock outfit “Entrance” – a band that also featured world class trumpetist Palle Mikkelborg and drummer Kasper Winding. Kenneth Knudsen later helped me by endorsing my 1983 book on Synthesizers and Electronic Musical Instruments.
I immediately fancied the precise and punchy sound of the 100M system, so I ordered two 5-module cases, a keyboard and 8 modules for a start. I did not yet get the 182 sequencer, since I already had the System 104 sequencer, which was better featured and fully compatible.
The envelopes on the 100M are a lot more snappy than the rather undefined attack of the MS-system. And the higher audio specs for the modules allowed for some patches that would not be usable or sound good on the Korg. Plus the whole system is more open – with many more patch points – than in particular the semi-modular MS-20. So the new system allowed me to create patches that were more precise and advanced.
Shortly after getting the System 100-M, the first digital sequencers started appearing. And that opened up a lot of opportunities together with the modular. At first I got the Roland CSQ-100, which was very useful but pretty limited. So when the Roland MC-4B MicroComposer was introduced I had to have one. It was pricey but showed the way for multitrack productions without a tape recorder.
STUDIO VERSION 2
First version of the System 100M, with the Model 104 sequencer, Yamaha E-1010 Analog Delay, a Boss Spring Reverb and an MM graphic eq.
After using the system for some time, I ran into Aske Bentzon – a well-known flute and keyboard-player – who offered me to buy his System-100M, consisting of 3 small racks and 8 synth modules. I accepted although I could not really afford it. And suddenly my system was quite large, with 5 racks and 19 modules. I also acquired the 184 Polyphonic 4-voice Keyboard, which was an interesting addition, that I regret parting with.
CURRENT MODULE CONFIGURATION:
- 190 Rack Chassis (x3)
- 191J Rack Chassis (x2)
- 110 VCO/VCF/VCA (x3)
- 112 Dual VCO (x2)
- 121 DUal VCF
- 130 Dual VCA (x2)
- 132 Dual Mixer / Voltage Processor
- 140 Dual Envelope Generator / LFO (x5)
- 150 Ring Mod / Noise / S&H / LFO
- 172 Phaser / Audio Delay / Gate Delay / LFO
- 173 Gate Switcher / Multiple
- 174 Parametric Equalizer
- 182 Sequencer
- 181 Keyboard
RANUM's ROLAND MODULAR SYSTEM-100M
SOME PROMINENT SYSTEM-100M USERS
Daniel Miller (Mute), Hans Zimmer, Vince Clarke, Depeche Mode, Benge, Heaven 17, Orbital, Jamiroquai, Human League, Peter Howell (BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Meat Beat Manifesto.