Michigan Synth Works MSW-810, Roland CMU-810 Clone In The Making

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Michigan Synth Works is working on an authentic clone of the Roland CMU-810 named MSW-810, the weird cousin of the MC-202 analog Synthesizer.

When I talk about clones/replicas, I mostly talk about instruments that are legendary and hard to come by. Or they are simply too expensive second hand with the argument that Behringer always says. It’s certainly a mix of both. Other companies also clone themselves through life, I leave it up to you whether you like that or not.

Michigan Synth Works is a US-based Eurorack manufacturer that specializes in recreating vintage synths. The Chronovore, for example, is a Eurorack adaptation of the popular TB-303 sequencer that is often used for acid music. The developers are currently working on a replica of a Roland Synthesizer that is probably not so well known to many.

Michigan Synth Works MSW-810

Michigan Synth Works MSW-810

The MSW-810 is an authentic recreation of the Roland DG CMU-810 Synthesize aka the “weird cousin” of the MC-202. CMU-810? No idea which synthesizer that was? No problem, it was more of a very “introverted”, strange Synthesizer from 1983 that you didn’t notice, especially when you look back to the legendary synths today. The CMU-810 belonged to the Roland Expander series which was designed to be very minimalistic. No keyboard, in white, sterile cold. They brought the synth onto the market as an inexpensive alternative to the MC-202/SH-101-

Its core is mainly based on the Roland MC-202 controllable via a slider interface that is reminiscent of the SH-101 and MC-202. It’s a monophonic synth with a very simple design: single VCO (simultaneous sawtooth & square/pulse-width), sub-oscillator, 24dB lowpass filter, LFO, and a VCA with an ADSR envelope. The latter has linear and exponential modes. Interesting is here the mixer in the upper left section where you can route signals in the synth. They don’t go through the filter, unfortunately, but it’s a handy mixer functionality.

Like its more expensive brothers, the analog synth is capable of creating rich bass and lead sounds. The Michigan Synth Works MSW-810 will include all the same features including the CV/Gate connectivity, and the CV controllable VCA.

A clone of the Roland CMU-810 was certainly less wanted. I find the idea of bringing this somewhat quirky Synthesizer back not bad at all. Anyway better than another SH-101 clone.

Michigan Synth Works MSW-810 will be available in Summer 2021 as a DIY kit.

More information will follow here: Michigan Synth Works

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