Tubbutec MC-2oh2, new upgrade kit turns the Roland MC-202 into a groovebox

SYNTH ANATOMY uses affiliation & partner programs (big red buttons) to finance a part of the activity. If you use these, you support the website. Thanks! 

Tubbutec MC-20h2 upgrade kit turns your Roland MC-202 into a groovebox of 2023 by replacing the original CPU, keyboard PCB, and display.

Roland released the MC-202 in 1983, a year after introducing the SH-101 and TB-303. Two synthesizers that are legendary today. And so popular that they are replicated/cloned by other companies. With the MC-202, Roland wanted to offer customers an instrument with an SH-101-like engine paired with a 2-channel CV/gate sequencer with the workflow of the TB-303.

For many, it was the sort of a next-generation TB-303. Tubbutec already showcased a mighty upgrade for this vintage synth+sequencer at the Superbooth 22. Now the MC-2oh2 upgrade kit is ready and can be pre-ordered. As an MC-202 user, you can hardly avoid this upgrade, as it catapults the instrument into 2023.

Tubbutec MC-2oh2

Tubbutec MC-2oh2

The engine of the Roland MC-202 is analog and strongly reminiscent of the SH-101, also the layout of the control elements. You can find here sections for the LFO, VCO, source mixer, VCF, VCA, and envelope. The upgrade turns the actual feature set of the MC-202 on its head. To benefit from the new features, you have to replace the original CPU, keyboard PCB, and display

Tubbutec promises that the MC-2oh2 will introduce a new control scheme for the MC-202. Tobi, the developer, even says that the kit turns it into a groovebox. The sound, however, stays the same, and you can benefit from tons of new features. It’s also compatible with the upcoming DIN-SYNC’s clone/replica RE-202 project.


Once you’ve upgraded your MC-202, the three completely independent synthesizer control channels will be available: the internal monophonic synth, a CV/gate output, and a MIDI out or drum channel. Each channel has its own clock divider and MIDI input and output. Clocking options are available via MIDI, DIN-sync, or trigger (tape input).

On the original SH-101 style engine, you can benefit from an additional noise sound with a shapable envelope. It can be triggered per note, mixable with the other sources, and runs through the analog filter.

Tubbutec MC-2oh2

Tubbutec also upgraded the modulation for the filter and pulse width. The built-in filter can now be modulated using three new sources: a new accent, advanced ADSR envelope (delay, looping, and invert), and multi-wave LFO. The same applies to the pulse. It benefits from a new envelope and LFO.

A highlight is a new 8-bit LoFi drum/ sample output with various sound modifiers that turns the MC-202 into a little fun groovebox. You can load samples in via MIDI sysex and. You can only playback one sample at a time and modify it using accent, reverse, 2x, or 1/2 speed modifiers. However, Tubbutec says that this feature should not be seen as a mega feature as it is very limited:

Note that the sample feature is fun, but limited. Only one sample can be played at a time, samples are of low quality and there is only a limited number of ways to modify the samples. Use this feature or don’t, just don’t expect a full high quality sampling engine. Samples can be modified using Accent, reverse, double speed or half speed modifiers.

A Massive Sequencer Upgrade

Tobi from Tubbutec has not only upgraded the MC-202 in terms of sound. The sequencer is also completely new. It now hosts a modern sequencer with 32 patterns that is editable on the fly. It has seven sequencer play directions, song mode, and a full sequencer editor section for modifying the note pitches, lengths, and note modifiers on the fly.

There is also a built-in arpeggiator with multiple octaves, seven direction modes, optional euclidean mode, and live shortcuts. And you can save and recall up to 8 sets containing sequencer and modulation parameters. You don’t need batteries for this. Oh yes, there will also be a “hack” that allows you to create patterns from a new editor.

Tubbutec MC-2oh2 editor

Then, it introduces MIDI CC for all additional parameters, filter cutoff, pulse width, clock dividers, and more. That’s a great addition. Plus, MIDI velocity can be linked to various sound parameters. There are also various new CV-input modes available.

According to Tubbutec, there will be a “basic” and HiRes version of the MC-2oh2. The latter allows pitch bend control and microtonal tunings.  Not to be forgotten is the new OLED display, which shows the parameters in unprecedented high quality. Hehe, normal in the year the MC-202 was released, there were no OLEDs.

The song you hear in the teaser below is entirely made with the MC-20h2 upgrade kit.

First Impression

This is an impressive update for the MC-202. I can imagine that many MC-202 users will buy this. The new features make a lot of sense and fit perfectly with the vintage instrument. I guess after this update, you can’t call it a vintage device anymore, as the upgrade is pushing it into 2023.

Tubbutec MC-2oh2 is available now for pre-order in two versions: the basic for 250€ + VAT and the HiRes for 280€+ VAT.

More information here: Tubbutec 

Hardware Synthesizer News


  1. This is a really cool mod. Makes me wish I hadn’t sold mine 30 years ago! I wonder how many functioning MC-202s are out in the wild? My recollection is that it wasn’t a very popular device during the short period of time it was sold (1983-85) and I recall when I sold mine I might have gotten $100 for it. I see they are now trading inn the $1500 – $2000 range. I had a bunch of stuff (including a TB-303) that I foolishly got rid of on the cheap in the late 80’s – early 90’s because it didn’t have that “midi” stuff built into it. Who could have predicted that CV/Gate would make a comeback in a big way 25-30 years after its supposed demise?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.