Multi Timbre Sound Module

  A very popular module among early computer musicians.  This "alarm-clock looking" instrument (like others from the same era) is based on the D-series synthesis engine (LA or Linear Arithmetic synthesis).  The MT-32 offers eight part multi-timbrality, plus a rhythm part.  There is an effect processor that offers 10 variations of reverb.

There are 128 presets in ROM, divided in bank A and B.  These cover the pop/rock territory pretty well, with a few surprises (ethnic and special fx).

The MT-32 can be considered the "uncle" of General MIDI (GM), in particular of Roland's famous Sound Canvas SC-55, because it paved the way for that standard.  Many of the sound categories found in the MT-32 are followed closely by the GM standard.

Interesting to note is that not all the editing features are controllable from the front panel, but they are accessible from a sequencer or computer editor.  The front panel only allows simple adjustments such as changing part volume, tuning, reverb mode, and MIDI channel.

If you have access to a computer editor, though, you can treat this as a D-series synthesizer, and edit all typical parameters you would find on a D-10, D-20, or D-110, such as WG, TVF, TVA etc.  The MT-32 is definitely a cool little synth worthy of attention.

Note:  the first thing to do upon turning on the MT-32 is to press "MASTER VOLUME" and the "5" part button at the same time, press the "1" part button.  This will reset the MIDI channels one through eight, and when playing - typically - from a MIDI keyboard set to channel 1, it will play.  If you don't do this, you're not going to be able to hear anything because for some odd reason the MT-32 factory MIDI configuration sets part one to MIDI channel 2.  Channel 1 has mysteriously disappeared.


Roland MT-32 factory patch audio demos in mp3



Stream all the patch examples below as an .m3u playlist


Bank A
001 Acou Piano 1 Standard D-series piano, a bit flat.
002 Acou Piano 2 Variation
003 Acou Piano 3 A bit more realistic.
004 Elec Piano 1 Typical e. piano
005 Elec Piano 2 FMish
006 Elec Piano 3 Wurlitzer'y
007 Elec Piano 4 Nice
008 Honkytonk Classic honky tonk piano
009 Elec Org 1 Very nice electric organ from the '60s - lounge style.
010 Elec Org 2 Very good jazz Hammond with Leslie emulation.
011 Elec Org 3 Early organ
012 Elec Org 4 Vox/Farfisa
013 Pipe Org 1 Not bad
014 Pipe Org 2 Darker variation
015 Pipe Org 3 Soft pipe organ, very melancholic
016 Accordion Very nice accordion
017 Harpsi 1 Classical harpsichord.
018 Harpsi 2 Variation.
019 Harpsi 3 A bit more synthy.
020 Clavi 1 Standard Clavinet.
021 Clavi 2 Variation.
022 Clavi 3 Stevie.
023 Celesta 1 Beautiful celesta patch
024 Celesta 2 Perfect for film work.
025 Syn Brass 1 Classic LA sheen synthesized brass
026 Syn Brass 2 Variation.
027 Syn Brass 3 Very nice '80s soft brass
028 Syn Brass 4 Very nice and typical '80s synth brass, a la Spandau Ballet.
029 Syn Bass 1 Ok moogy.
030 Syn Bass 2 Metallic synth bass.
031 Syn Bass 3 Full, deep synth bass.
032 Syn Bass 4 Excellent TB-303/SH-101 style acid bass.
033 Fantasy The famous opening preset on its bigger brother D-50, not bad.
034 Harmo Pan Sublime synthesized pad, panned in the stereo field
035 Chorale Classic "breathy" LA synthesis pad
036 Glasses Glassy digital synth
037 Soundtrack Another preset inspired by the classic D-50.  Very good!
038 Atmosphere Classic preset, again.
039 Warm Bell Perfect for new age.
040 Funny Vox Very cool synthetic vox preset.
041 Echo Bell Bells + syn brass.
042 Ice Rain Great.  Typical sample-based GM preset, this sounds even better in LA synthesis.
043 Oboe 2001 Cool oboe variation.
044 Echo Pan Very nice staccato synth.
045 Doctor Solo Nice Minimoog style solo synth.
046 Schooldaze Variation
047 Bell Singer Nice ethnic bowl
048 Square Wave More Mini
049 Str Sect 1 Very good small string ensemble
050 Str Sect 2 Variation
051 Str Sect 3 Darker, more analog version.
052 Pizzicato Very nice
053 Violin 1 Outstandingly expressive.
054 Violin 2 Variation
055 Cello 1 Nice violoncello patch
056 Cello 2 Variation
057 Contrabass Ok
058 Harp 1 Nice gentle harp
059 Harp 2 Good
060 Guitar 1 Ok acoustic guitar
061 Guitar 2 nice variation
062 Elec Gtr 1 so so.
063 Elec Gtr 2 Strat.
064 Sitar Very good sitar.



Stream all the patch examples below as an .m3u playlist


Bank B
065 Acou Bass 1 Good, full and warm jazz contrabass.
066 Acou Bass 2 Picked acoustic bass.
067 Elec Bass 1 Slightly overdriven rock bass.
068 Elec Bass 2 Precision
069 Slap Bass 1 Nice slap
070 Slap Bass 2 Variation
071 Fretless 1 Good fretless bass
072 Fretless 2 variation
073 Flute 1 Breathy and realistic
074 Flute 2 variation
075 Piccolo 1 High up
076 Piccolo 2 Variation
077 Recorder Very nice!
078 Pan Pipes Nice Andean sound
079 Sax 1 So so.
080 Sax 2 Better
081 Sax 3 Warm
082 Sax 4 soprano
083 Clarinet 1 Nice
084 Clarinet 2 variation
085 Oboe Nice and melancholic
086 Engl Horn Okay
087 Bassoon Nice
088 Harmonica Realistic
089 Trumpet 1 Honest classical trumpet
090 Trumpet 2 Jazzier.
091 Trombone 1 With obligatory "circus style" slide
092 Trombone 2 variation
093 Fr Horn 1 Excellent French horns patch
094 Fr Horn 2 variation
095 Tuba realistic
096 Brs Sect 1 nice pop brass
097 Brs Sect 2 variation
098 Vibe 1 Jazzy and dreamy
099 Vibe 2 more toy-like
100 Syn Mallet nice
101 Wind Bell Very good ambient patch
102 Glock Perfect glockenspiel patch
103 Tube Bell nice.
104 Xylophone Realistic and useful.
105 Marimba nice sharp attack.
106 Koto Superb rendition of the Japanese instrument.
107 Sho Nice ethnic sound
108 Shakuhachi The classic from the '80s ;-)
109 Whistle 1 Spaghetti western
110 Whistle 2 Subtle whistling patch
111 Bottle Blow Very good.
112 Breathpipe nice fusion sound.
113 Timpani Outstanding percussion
114 Melodic Tom '80s toms
115 Deep Snare clean pop rock snare
116 Elec Perc 1 Classic Simmons style
117 Elec Perc 2 variation
118 Taiko The famous Japanese drum
119 Taiko Rim variation
120 Cymbal Well recorded
121 Castanets yep
122 Orche Hit nice combo
123 Triangle Nice
124 Telephone ja
125 Bird Tweet Awesome special effect
126 One Note Jam a bit fast
127 Water Bells Incredible special fx!
128 Jungle Tune Classic LA synthesis showoff.


The MT-32 Rhythm Set:

MT-32 Rhythm Set audio example

a typical produced, '80s drum set.  Includes percussion samples.

Roland MT-32 specifications


Year of release: 1987
Polyphony: 32 partials
Sound generation method: L.A.
Preset memories 128
MIDI: in, out, thru
Sound expansion capabilities: no
Sequencer no
Arpeggiator no


Roland MT-32 pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)


Roland MT-32 manual

available at



SITE Type of resource DESCRIPTION

Roland MT-32 review with audio demo