Aug 19

Here is something that caught my eye, not because it is a Roland / Boss product but simply because of what the person is doing with it. Watch Youngr in the youtube clip above. I know this sort of thing has been done before but he really demonstrates a variety of skills with using technology, playing various instruments and singing – great stuff.

The Boss RC-202 is a tiny but powerful little unit that I am sure will be great for club performers, electronic musicians and beatboxers. It is based on their RC-505 Loop Station which everyone loved but whilst it is just a two-track it does have a whole load of new features. Four Input FX and four Track FX are available at once, and loops can be saved to memories in real time. It is therefore ideal for looping musicians who have their hands occupied with guitar, keyboards, and other instruments like Youngr on the youtube clip.

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Jun 12

cakewalk_sonar_daws

What did you think of the new deal from Roland Cakewalk for Sonar? Yes, lifetime monthly updates for a one-off payment (Sonar4Life). This really surprised me as I thought the idea was for them to keep receiving payments every year from us so that they could use this for development costs.

I suppose I won’t have to think about finding another £100 for next year’s updates or indeed any further years and I suppose this does keep me loyal to Cakewalk and not consider going over to Pro Tools for example.

The Monthly updates have been great and provides you with something to look forward to each month, something to learn and greater stability with your product with improvements and bug fixes. It is therefore really worth the money.

I think priorities for me are less CPU drain when using plugins. The better this is the more plugins you can use without it falling over.

Carry on the good work Cakewalk – I wonder what next month will bring?

Jan 21

Namm 2016 and Roland release the new EC-10 Electronic Layered Cajon. Have a look at youtube clip above and you will hear it performed by the very beautiful Professional percussionist, Heidi Joubert.

The new Roland EC-10 EL Cajon is the first of its kind. It is an acoustic cajon but it can be with layered with electronic sounds. These range from electronic drum sounds to more traditional acoustic percussion sounds as well as FX. It is the same size as a standard cajon (50 x 30 x 30 cm) and the playing surface is made of sapele wood.

It has 30 built-in electronic kits for layering with acoustic cajon sounds and each kit includes two independent sounds that can be triggered from the head and edge of the playing surface. It also includes studio-optimized cajon sounds to enhance the instrument’s acoustic sound, providing additional depth and punch.

It comes with an Integrated amplifier and coaxial speaker and runs on AA-size batteries providing you with up to 12 hours of continuous playing time or an AC adaptor (DC 5.7 V).

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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:-

roland-jp-08-module

roland-ju-06-module

roland-jx-03-module

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-juno-ds-61-and-88

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.

L

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

Print

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

SPECIAL OFFER

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

musikmesse-2014-new-products

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

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