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  • One Way To Convert MC-500 MKII Songs To Standard Midi Files


    Hi there fellow MC-500 MkII users. I have written this page to help all of you who face a problem that is very simple to overcome; that problem being converting your MC-500 MKII songs to Standard Midi Files (SMF) or vice versa. I have tried to help many of you who have posted messages to the newsgroups so rather than write the same message each time I shall attempt to put all the instructions here. Since I have done this I guess I should put all the mumbo jumbo that if by following these instructions your computer explodes or MC-500 disintegrates tough luck it is not my fault. So there it is, consider yourself warned. Please don't email me any complaints, I will accept only thanks and if you are really grateful I will accept any of your results (ie. High Quality Midi files). So there are the rules if you don't like go play with your MC in someone else's cyber yard. Now on with the procedure.

    Step 1

    Creating a disk readable on both the PC and MC-500

    The first and most IMPORTANT thing to realise is that the MC-500 uses DOUBLE DENSITY disks NOT the usual high density disks used by your PC. So you will need a couple of DOUBLE DENSITY disks before you start. I have tried the old "sticky taping over the hole on the right hand side of a High Density disk trick" BUT this DOES NOT seem to work with Ucopy and the MC-500.

    The second thing you need to realise is that MC-500 disks (ie disks formatted by the MC-500) cannot simply be stuck into a PC and then viewed using File Manager/Explorer nor can files be copied by this simple manner. A disk needs to have the appropriate formatting files before it can be read on that system. Like when you stick a PC disk in a Mac the Mac will automatically write a few files and folders on to the disk so that it can read it. So here we go with Step 1.

    S.1 Format a DOUBLE DENSITY disk on your PC. NB you can't format a DD disk to 1.4 Mb you will have to format it to 720 k.

    S.2 Download the S-MRC data disk files (206K) from Roland. By Clicking HERE.

    S.3 Once the download is successful unzip all of the contents of SMRC_20.ZIP to the DOUBLE DENSITY disk that you formatted in S.1.

    S.4 This disk should now be readable on BOTH you PC and MC500. Cool hey! You may want to do another 1 or 2 dual read disks. Check that your disk works by booting your MC-500 with your USUAL SYSTEM disk, load a song and then try and save it on your new PC/MC disk. NOTE: the MC-500 will not boot using the PC/MC disk you just created. Now take the PC/MC disk out and put it in your PC you should be able to see the song you saved (in amongst all the other files) I think it will have a .sng extension.

    If you are wanting copies of the MC-500 SYSTEM DISKS proper they are available at the bottom of this page. To make system disks from the files below you MUST use Ucopy and the process detailed in Steps 3 and 4, substituting for the system disk you require.

    Step 2.

    Download and install the disk copying program Ucopy

    As stated earlier you cannot simply place the disk containing MRM software needed to convert your sequences into your PC, zip up the files and then post them on the net. If it was that easy this page wouldn't exist. The only way I can provide a copy of the software is to take a "disk image" of a MRM disk and make this available. To do this I have had to use a program called Ucopy which is freeware and importantly GOOD to create the disk image. Since I have used Ucopy you too will have to use Ucopy to read the disk image. At this point I'd like to add a big THANK YOU to Brien Malone who has provided us all with a patched version of Ucopy that will now run of Pentium II processors and above. Ok? So lets download Ucopy!

    2.1 Download by clicking here. Once the download is complete create a directory on your hard drive called ucopy and unzip all the contents of to it. NB. I have found to that there may be a Y2K problem here with the MC & Ucopy so before you go further change you computer's date to before 2000. I suggest 1995.

    Step 3.

    Download the conversion software (MRM-500) for the MC500

    Here is where I stick my neck out. I was told by someone in the music industry that Roland have been making the MRM-500 software available free of charge. This software allows the MC500 to convert it's own format (MRC) to standard midi files (SMF). I am placing a disk image generated by the software for download from this site. If you are from Roland and this in NOT the case please let me know and I will remove it immediately. If you want a copy of the MRM-500 system generating disk see the bottom of this page.

    3.1 Download (57 k) by clicking here. When you have downloaded the file unzip it and save the enclosed smf.dat file somewhere simple because you will have to MANUALLY type in its location later. If you have a directory called C:\temp (most of you should have this) save it in there. Once the download is complete print this page because the next step is to log off and go to good 'ol DOS. Remember to set your clock back to pre-2000.

    3.2 Reboot your computer in DOS and start Ucopys.exe. If you have followed the instructions type C:\ucopy\ucopys.exe at the C:\ prompt. Go to the configuration screeen of Ucopy [F3] and make sure there is a [x] beside every option. Place a blank DOUBLE DENSITY disk in your A-drive. Now select H-Drive as your source drive and A-Drive as your target drive, hit OK. You will now be prompted for the smf.dat file located on your hard drive which will be C:\temp\smf.dat if you saved the file in the temp dir as suggested. Once you have the location for the smf.dat file typed in hit ok and ucopy will start copying the files to the floppy.

    Step 4.

    Perform your conversions.

    You're almost there. Once Ucopy has finished copying all the data to your floppy you should have all the tools required to convert files at will.

    4.1 When ucopy has finished copying all the data to the DD disk take it out and use the disk to boot your MC500. Hopefully the MC500 will boot up and you will be asked what type of conversion you want to do:

    1. MRC -> MID
    2. MID -> MRC

    As you can see you can convert both ways this is where the dual MC/PC disk you made in Step 1. comes into play. You can copy your .mid files from your PC onto it to convert them to MC-500 format or save your files converted to .mid onto it so that it can be read by your PC.

    Best of Luck

    YEAR 2000 UPDATE

    We are now in a new millenium and Roland certaining won't have any old MC software lying around for sale so I will be making all that I have available below. All the system and data disk files will need Ucopy to write to disk.

    MRC Ver. 1.00 - MRC Version 1.00 Why? Cos people have asked for it.
    Super-MRC Ver. 2.00 - The FULL V.2.00 system disk
    MRC-300 Ver. 1.00 - MC-300 System Disk
    MRM-500 - SMF Converter - System Generator
    MRP-500 - Performance Software - System Generator
    MRB-500 - Bulk Librarian - System Generator
    MRD-500 - Rhythm Bank - Data Disk NB This is NOT a system disk. Disk contains rhythm tracks ONLY.
    Rhythm Bank MIDI Files - As a special treat I converted all the MRD files to MIDIs.

    MANUALS in PDF Format
    MC-500 Advanced Manual Part 1
    MC-500 Advanced Manual Part 2
    (NB The MC Manual is a 2 part self-extrating archive. You must download both parts to disk before running mc_500_manual.exe)
    MRP-500 Manual
    MRB-500 Manual (NB: This is a copy of a copy, quaility is not exceptional)
    MRM-500 MIDI File Converter Software Manual (1.66MB)
    MRM-500 Standard MIDI file Converter Supplemental Notes (Link is directly to Roland US)

    REVIEWS in PDF Format
    MC-500 Review (1987)
    MRM-500 Review

    This site is created and maintained by R. Kevin Grannum
    R. Kevin Grannum has no affiliation with Roland whatsoever.
    All registered trademarks and logos are property of their respective owners.
    All previously copyrighted photographs, articles, and scans of original material are presented under the provision the fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.
    © Copyright 2000, All Rights Reserved.