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Roland has just announced the MC-09 Phrase Lab. This affordable desktop tool combines a 4-part audio looper with a DSP monosynth capable of creating fat lead, bass and rhythm sounds -- plus a vintage step sequencer, onboard effects, optional SmartMedia storage and more. With the PhraseLab, DJs, remixers and musicians have everything needed to create complete tracks with easy realtime control.

The MC-09's DSP synth section is a modeled analog monosynth capable of creating fat synth bass sounds, leads and even drums. Sounds can be triggered using the PhraseLab's key pads or via MIDI -- making the MC-09 a powerful synth and drum machine in its own right. Sounds can be tweaked using six realtime control knobs and sequenced using the MC-09's 32-step sequencer. This sequencer also offers Roland's popular TR-REC method for programming drum patterns using a grid.

Once a synth or drum pattern is created, users simply sample it with the PhraseLab's 4-part audio looper. Similar to BOSS' popular RC-20 LoopFactory pedal, the audio looper can capture and loop up to four monophonic phrases, each up to six seconds in length. Of course, it's also possible to sample phrases from external sources as well via the MC-09's Line inputs. Since the PhraseLab uses BPM and measures, automatic looping is made easy; it's even possible to divide a loop into 16 "slices" using the Chop feature.

Rounding out its features, the MC-09 also offers onboard effects. Four algorithms are provided, including Filter, Isolator, Phaser and Slicer. Effects can be applied to any of the four audio loops or to live inputs, and can be controlled in real time via the knobs for more intuitive tweaking. All data -- including synth/effects patches, sequences and audio -- can be conveniently stored to optional SmartMedia.

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