Roland System-500 Analog Modular Synthesizer, Complete Eurorack Set
Overview by GAK
Based on the classic SYSTEM-100M modular synthesizer - one of the most sought-after instruments out there - the SYSTEM-Roland’s System-500 combines the iconic analogue sound of the System-100M with sleek aesthetic of the System-700, then condenses it into a compact & portable Eurorack format. Not only is the System-500 more reliable and transportable than the System-100M, it’s significantly more affordable!
Vintage System, Modern Format
The System-500 is a stunning collaboration between Roland and Malekko Heavy Industries, an innovative synth & effect pedal manufacturer based in Portland, OR. This version is the “Complete Set” of Roland’s System-500 and is comprised of five 100% analogue modules that combine the rich System-100M sound with the elegant stylings of the rare System-700. With a compact size that’s far more portable than the bulky modular synths of yore and vast timbral flexibility that can provide endless hours of inspiring sonic exploration, the System-500 is easily one of Roland’s most exciting synths to date.
An advantage of these modules is that they have been engineered to communicate and integrate with modern Eurorack synths and effects, allowing you to inject the vintage Roland sound into your contemporary rig. Not only can the System-500 be a fantastic asset to an existing setup, it’s also a complete monophonic analog synth that can be used standalone - perfect for those that are making their first forays into the exciting sonic territory of Eurorack.
Within the System-500, you have the 512, 521, 530, 540 & 572 modules which are essentially Eurorack-sized renditions of those found in the original 100M. In addition to nailing the sound of the 100M’s modules, Roland have enhanced the System-500’s modules with new capabilities.
512 - Dual Oscillator
First up is the 512 dual-oscillator module. This module features two independent VCOs (voltage controlled oscillators), which provide the System-500 with a warm & weighty sonic foundation. The 512’s VCOs can track across an impressive range, using traditional 1V per Octave tracking. Each VCO generates Sawtooth, Triangle & Pulse waveforms and expands upon the 100M’s 112 module by offering access to all three waves at once. There’s also variable PWM (pulse width modulation) which can be accessed using CV modulation or with the dedicated control and hard/soft oscillator sync for those harmonically-rich patches.
521 - Dual Filter
Next, we have the 521 VCF, which is comprised of dual low-pass/high-pass filters and is a great tool for sculpting your patches. These filters are precise recreations of the ones found in the 121, with the juiciness and depth that you’d expect from a vintage Roland synth. Each filter features three mixable inputs for the low-pass (allowing you to process multiple sources at once & in different ways), audio & CV input mixers, dedicated cutoff & resonance controls and two selectable cutoff modes for the high-pass.
530 - Dual Amplifier
The 530 module replicates the 100M’s 130 dual VCA (voltage controlled amplifier), providing you with control over the audio signal level and routing whilst imparting an old-school sonic character. Both of the 530’s VCAs offer switchable linear & exponential responses, a trio of mixable audio & CV inputs (with dedicated sliders) and an independent Initial Level control.
540 - Dual Envelopes & LFO
With the 540, we have essentially two modules in one - dual ADSR envelope generators and a voltage controlled LFO (low-frequency oscillator). The capability of the 540’s EGs has been expanded from the original 140 module, with fast & slow settings and the ability to cycle the attack & decay stages for unorthodox LFO shapes. The LFO offers five waveforms to choose from and unlike the 140, you can decide if the LFO wave & delay are triggered by contour 1 or 2 and have access to all five waveform outputs at once. Whilst the 540 excels as a modulation source for the System-500 Complete Set, it’s also a versatile modulator for your other Eurorack-compatible gear.
572 - Phaser, Delays & LFO
Rounding out the System-500 Complete Set’s impressive array of analogue modules is the 572. This 572 is based on the prized & pricey 172 module, which was released after the launch of the System-100M. Carried over from the 172 are the lush five-stage phase shifter, CV gate delay for modifying incoming gate signals and an audio delay that is capable of modulated, chorus-esque repeats. The phaser and delay feature dedicated controls for frequency/time & resonance/feedback and can be modulated via the 572’s LFO or with CV signals from other hardware.
Additions to the 572 that weren’t found on the 172 module include an internal LFO (which features normal & inverted outputs) and an independent wet/dry mix control for the phase shifter & delay. This Mix parameter can be adjusted using either CV or the dedicated control. These upgrades to the 572 are significant improvements to its versatility and ability to interact with other modules.
Fusing robust USA build-quality & exacting Japanese construction with the finest components, the System-500 is a truly premium instrument that authentically recreates the vintage Roland sound. If you’ve been lusting after a System-100M, the System-500 is a more than worthy alternative that delivers a spot-on sonic recreation of that incredible synth.
- Complete analog modular synthesizer with multiple oscillators, filters and effects
- Vintage Roland analog sound in a top-quality modern instrument
- Perfect modular starting point complete with case, power supply, and braided patch cables
- Versatile wood and metal case is portable, stackable and can sit flat or angled
- 512 module with two voltage controlled oscillators with saw, sine and square waves
- 521 module with two voltage controlled filters with selectable high-pass filters
- 530 module with two voltage controlled amplifiers each with multiple CV inputs
- 540 module with two ADSR envelopes and invertible LFO with five waveform types
- 572 module with classic phase shifter, delay, gate delay and invertible LFO
- Numerous CV connections for an array of modulation possibilities
- Built in USA and assembled in Japan
- Power Supply: Eurorack power
- Dimensions: 80.8 (W) × 128.5 (D) × 57.2 (H) mm, 3-3/16 (W) x 5-1/16 (D) x 2-1/4 (H) inches
- Current Draw: 70 mA (+12 V), 55 mA (-12 V)
- Weight: 212 g, 8 oz
- Current Draw: 40 mA (+12 V), 40 mA (-12 V)
- Weight: 203 g, 8 oz
- Current Draw: 50 mA (+12 V), 35 mA (-12 V)
- Weight: 194 g, 7 oz
- Current Draw: 85 mA (+12 V), 50 mA (-12 V)
- Weight: 202 g, 8 oz
- Current Draw: 110 mA (+12 V), 90 mA (-12 V)
- Weight: 213 g, 8 oz
- Owner’s Manual, Leaflet “USING THE UNIT SAFELY,” Installation screws (4 pcs.), Eurorack power cable
No upgrades available