The Spiral Sequence with the MC-50 and SP-808

The Spiral sequence with the MC-50 and SP-808

Vangelis 1977

The artist Vangelis launched his album ‘Spiral’ in 1977. A classic masterpiece full with synthesizers. The music is used in series, movies, documentaries, tv-shows and so on. So, most people know his music and particular the song ‘Spiral’. Of course it can’t be that you don’t know what I’m talking about. Check out this video to get that ‘Aaah’-moment.


First I inform you that I’m not the person who thinks that he can recreate it completely. No…Vangelis is too huge and I’m too small. I can’t touch his masterpiece at all. That said I want to say that just wanted to share with you how to recreate that sensation with a Roland MC-50 and the synth engine of the Roland SP-808.

Step by step

The MC-50 has the ability to record in Step-time. This means you are not recording in realtime but just note by note. A very convenient way to create arpeggios, for example. In the video I grabbed I show which steps to take to record the Spiral sequence in step time. Important is to count 8 steps and to put the quantise on 12th note. This recreates synths whirling up sound.

SP-808 Synth Engine

Like I’ve explained before the synth engine of the Roland SP-808 is an effect. So turning the effect on is important and also MIDI channel matching with your keyboard/sequencer is a must. I started with the Stepbs1 sound and from that point I adjusted some parameters like opening OSC2, changing it to SAW and adding delay. In the video you see more adjustments.

The video


Yeah…I love this step time mode and I love the synth engine of the SP-808. Mostly because they’re machines from the 90’s and still doing their job in 2018.

If you have question, please let me know. You can send an email to


Thanks for watching/reading/listening and more.




  • damon

    yon bro this is dope! and i subscribed to your youtube channel. you are dope with all the gear you have. can u do a video review on the mc 50 and all its features. i would like to know if you can change the ppq and does it have note repeat. thank

    • Roger, TMM

      Hi Damon!
      Thanks for your encouraging message!
      It’s a great idea what you mention, to do a video review. Others asked me to do it also about other machines.
      So yes, I will invest time to arrange that.

      Regarding PPQ I don’t quite understand what you mean. Do you mean like shuffle-mode? The smallest note possible is a 32th.
      And note repeat like playing a note on your keyboard which will be repeated by the MC-50 live is not possible….too bad….

      Thanks again for your idea/question.


  • Cristian

    Hello Roger! how are you? Great tutorial!
    Congratulations on the blog. After to watch several of your videos on YouTube wanted to know if you could connect via MIDI the sp808 to a DAW.
    Do you have any general advice for configuration and setting via MIDI to record the events and triggering in the DAW?
    Thank you!

    • Roger, TMM

      Hi Christian!
      Thanks for passing by and dropping your comment and question.
      I’ve sent you an email directly and I will answer it here also for other viewers.
      Yes, you can connect the SP-808 through MIDI to a DAW.
      The most simple intention is to use the samples triggered through MIDI by a DAW.
      In that case connect a MIDI cable from the MIDI-in of the 808 to the MIDI-out of the DAW (Soundcard with MIDI).
      Make sure the midi channels are set correct.
      You can also trigger effects on MIDI channel 11 or the virtual synth on MIDI channel 11 (which is an effect also)
      You can also tempo sync the delays of the SP-808 by setting the Tempo Map on the right BPM.

      Ah…you can also use the SP-808 in MTC-mode to trigger the transport buttons and the sliders but that’s another story.
      Ok…perhaps too much information.

      In fact, I use the SP-808 always as a MIDI Module with my sequencers (MC-50/MV-8800). It’s the same setup as what you want to achieve with a DAW.

      Feel free to ask more.


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