Sep 20

It looks like Roland’s secret is out as someone has accidently leaked details of three new (rather old) synths as small desk models:- The Roland JP-08 synthesizer module, the Roland JU-06 synthesizer module and the Roland JX-03 synthesizer module. Have a look here:-




All looking very colourful like the originals. I can’t help feeling Roland has done this to directly compete with Yamaha’s Reface series of Keyboards which are their reimagined interfaces of classic Yamaha keyboards. Personally I think it is great to see these classics from both Yamaha and Roland.

I am pleased that Roland do not have a small keybed attached to their modules, although you can get the K-25m keyboard unit if you wish. Instead of spending £2000 on one keyboard that does all we will all be buying 10 little synths at £300 each. Where do you put them all?

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Sep 15


Roland have launched a new synth Roland Juno-DS which comes in two types the Juno-DS61 and the Juno-DS88. Are they just referbished Junos?

I do get annoyed with Roland when they bring out a new synth that has all of the sounds of the old synth. They also continue to make keyboards like their current range in cheaper and lightweight materials. Don’t get me wrong, we all want lightweight but can they stand up to the rigours of gigging. I suppose it just means you have to take greater care with them.

Roland are advertising these synths as feature packed performance that you can use anywhere and run from battery. They say that it comes with all of the sounds of the Juno-Di, but adds freshly updated pianos, electric pianos, organs and other essential sounds that all keyboard players need. I wonder how different these freshly updated sounds are?

They do however give you access to over 1000 free addition sounds by way download at Roland’s Axial website. Just download onto a USB stick. There are no sounds for the Roland Juno-DS at present as the keyboards have only just been released. It would be good to have some audition facility at this site to give you an idea of what the additional sounds sound like.

What is also new to these models is the capability to connect a microphone. You can then add reverbs,vocoder effects and auto-pitch to your voice, couple this with an eight-track pattern sequencer with non-stop recording and you have a great piece of kit for fast song creation. Not forgetting it also has a sample import function for playing user WAV files on the JUNO’s keyboard and eight Phrase Pads for triggering samples and audio songs stored on USB memory.

The 61 note keyboard has 61-note velocity-sensitive keyboard with synth action whilst the 88 note has an 88-note Ivory Feel-G Keyboard. Cost is approx £550 and £800. I think I will check these out.


Jan 24

NAMM 2015: Roland Unleash the JD-Xi Compact Crossover Synth

This is a lovely looking synth, the only thing I hate is 37 mini keys – great if you are a child. I don’t understand why they could not make it like the Roland SH-01. Admittedly it would be more square-shaped but at least it would be nicer to play. Actually looking at this a bit further, this would make a great rack unit. I know many companies seem to not be making rack units anymore, but it is a real shame, especially as if it was rack you could have it right in front of you to connect up to you favorite keybed like my Fantom G 88. Come on Roland make this little beauty into a rack unit as there is a limit to the amount of keyboards one can own.

However, also in the news but not for release yet is it’s bigger brother the Roland’s flagship’ JD-Xa Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer also on preview at the 2015 NAMM Show. The Roland JD-Xa maybe available by the next great show at  Musikmesse 2015. The Roland JD-Xa briefly has a keyboard jam packed with knobs and controls but with full size keys. It also has four independent analog monophonic voices, so you can use it as a four-voice polysynth. As you would expect it comes with four additional synth voices, based on Roland’s SuperNatural technology and lastly it has eight channels of step sequencing.

Anyway, let’s not get carried away with things to come let us focus our attention on the Roland JD-Xi.

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Jan 23


Yes, we are bang in the middle of it -the National Association of Music Merchants (Namm) show 2015 from Anaheim, California on 22-25 January 2015. We have already looked at Nord Electro Series 5. Cakewalk Sonar Platinum and Casio XW-PD1 Trackformer.

Press the more option to see my favourite products amongst many being announced this week:-
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Jan 14

It is definately that time of year again. Cakewalk have made an anouncement a week before Namm 2015, no doubt in readiness for the show to say they have a new Sonar family. No it is not Cakewalk Sonar X4. Roland Cakewalk have decided to drop the “X4” to reflect that the new SONAR will now get new features regularly throughout the year instead of a big annual update. The new family names starting from the smallest is Sonar Artist, Sonar Professional and at the top they have Sonar Platinum

Have a look at the YouTube clip to give you a taster:-

There are some significant changes this year in terms of costs and some people will no doubt like the new plan whilst others will be dead against the changes – read on to find out:-

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Aug 22


If you have a Roland Gaia Synth, have you tried our expansion packs? For some great value why not buy all 3 – that is 192 Sound Patches for only £23.99 (which is about $40 or 30 Euros).

The Roland Gaia Extravaganza, Clubland and the Dance XS soundsets are available for download as a 3-pack special offer giving you 3 complete banks of 64 patches at a reduced price. This epic adventure into sound design extends your sonic palette with a massive range of Genres and Sound Types and provides you with 192 new patches.

< ———- Just click the image on the left.

Mar 10


Doesn’t it come around quickly – It is here again that great show at Frankfurt, Germany – Musikmesse 2014. Last year’s show with some really great sunshine may just be beaten by this show, which has already got everyone interested in new products two days before the show opens.

Today we have seen announcements from Waldorf, Akai, Nord and Waves and I am sure there will be more to come. Of course the eagerly awaited Roland Aira kit will be there.

My list of Musikmesse and new products is looking like this at present:-

Nord Lead A1R rack-mountable version of the Lead A1
Akai APC40 mkII Controller
Akai Rhythm Wolf Drum Machine & Bass Synth
Waves and Abbey Road – Real ADT Plug-In
Waldorf Streichfett – String Synth
Roland AIRA – System – 1 PLUG-OUT Synthesizer
Roland AIRA – VT-3 Voice Transformer
Roland AIRA – TB-3 Touch Bassline
Roland AIRA – TR-8 Rhythm Performer
Arturia Spark Version 2
Audient ASP880 New 8-channel mic pre with Digital I/O

Jan 24

Best of Namm 2014


The NAMM show is such a great event running from 23 January 2014 to 26 January 2014 in its usual location of Anaheim Convention Center, 800 West Katella Avenue
Anaheim, although I have seen there will also be a Namm show in Russia in September 2014.

Sometimes the companies build the hype to such an extent that you feel a little let down when you see the new products, but as you dig a little deeper, there is normally something for everyone. Whether it is precisely what you are after is another matter but you can easily get drawn in and dream of possibilities for you.

For me, I have my own selection of goodies from the show, so apart from the four that we have already looked at:- ROLAND FA-06 and FA-08 Synth Workstation, ROLAND RD-800 Stage Piano, ROLAND TM-2 Trigger Module and M-AUDIO Finger Trigger Pro, my favourites are:-


It looks like ROLAND VT-3 VOCAL TRANSFORMER and ROLAND ARIA will not be at NAMM 2014 and following Waldorf’s tease of possibly a new synth, nothing as materialised as yet.

I hope to look at the above in a little more detail, so stay tuned

Jan 18

New Roland TM-2 Trigger Module

Another unexpected new product from Roland is the new Roland TM-2 Trigger Module. There have also been quite a few rumours about a new drum machine based on the Roland 808 and I hope to bring you details of this when it is launched next week at NAMM 2014. Will Roland have any other surprises for us next week?

Anyway the Roland TM-2 Trigger Module is aimed at acoustic drummers who want to electronic sounds to their existing setup and/or beef up their acoustic sounds with a layer of electronics.

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Jan 16

The second new Roland Product that caught my eye was the new Roland RD-800 Piano

This You Tube Clip from Keyboard Mag does an excellent job of showing just how good this Piano is. It is a quality instrument but will cost you £1799 but watching this I am sure you will think it is worth it.

I had an RD-150 some years ago and loved it. I always remember its simple quick two track recorder for quickly putting ideas. There is now a much better version on the RD-800 allowing you to record as a wav file on a USB stick.
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