New Gear from Roland’s #909day: Pianos, Synths & Drum Machines

September 9, 2016
Whether or not you caught Roland’s live stream of its The Future. Redefined 24-hour, 30+ product launch event, you don’t want to miss the fruits of this massive labor. Here are our highlights from what was shown, and we can’t wait to try them out in person!

See the slideshow below for all the images and more products in the digital piano, percussions and guitar categories. All prices listed are street prices. For more detials, go to the source at Roland.com/us.

GP607 Digital Piano - $4,999
Combining lavish mini-grand style with high-technology, the new GP607 pulls out all the stops for piano-loving homes in an elegant form that is much lighter than a grand piano and never needs turning. Along with Roland’s SuperNatural Piano Modeling, which replicates the entire sound creation process and responds to the player’s touch, the GP607 integrates a 4.1-channel speaker system for filling spaces with full-bodied, volume-controllable sound. That also allows users to play along with music streamed over Bluetooth, audio or MIDI tracks stored on USB devices, or the internal classical etudes and exercises. An onboard metronome and recorder helps players evaluate their practice.

The new PHA-50 Progressive Hammer Action keyboard of the GP607 incorporates the latest sensing technology and a combination of wood and ivory-like material for an authentic feel and durability. Bluetooth MIDI also helps players benefit from Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app, as well as sheet music and other developers’ apps. A dedicated Apple Watch app lets the player control the GP607’s large internal song library.

System-8 Plug-Out Synthesizer - $1,499
 

 
The Aira System-1 synth introduced the concept of a Plug-Out synthesizer, where a hardware synth could load and host a plug-in program, so you could essentially use the plug-in free of a computer and on a dedicated hardware keyboard, where the available hardware controls lit up to show what parameters were available. The new System-8 Plug-Out synth takes this concept to the Nth degree and bring the kitchen sink as far as features go.

First off, it has next-generation ACB sounds onboard, which were inspired by four decades of Roland synthesizers—analog-style pads, basses, leads and other evocative tones. Also, the new Jupiter-8 and Juno-106 Plug-Outs are included, which like all Plug-Outs, can also work on a computer like a traditional plug-in. There are three Plug-Out slots in all. The System-8 engine has eight-voice polyphony, three oscillators, high-res filters, LFOs, a vocoder, arpeggiator, polyphonic 64-step sequencer and effects like distortion, delay, chorus and reverb. A Performance mode lets you combine the internal synth with Plug-Outs, and a control surface mode works well for controlling soft synths. The System-8 functions as a USB audio/MIDI interface, and also has CV/Gate outputs for triggering other gear.


Boutique Series: TB-03 Bass Line, TR-09 Rhythm Composer and VP-03 Vocoder
 

 
With dawn of the Aira series and then its Boutique series, Roland has been recreating the sounds and interfaces of some if its most beloved vintage gear in modern packages. Usually these are formerly analog instruments given the digital treatment with Roland’s own Analog Circuit Behavior technology, which is the case with these three new Boutique series models. These updates lose the true analog circuitry but gain modern features such as USB, displays, more memory, etc. Each one also runs of battery or USB power and has a powered mini-speaker.

After about 303 other emulations of the original TB-303 Bass Line Synth by other companies, Roland finally gives in own take with the new TB-03 ($349). It adds an LED display, Step mode recording, and overdrive, delay and reverb effects. It has both MIDI I/O and CV/Gate for controlling gear.

It always seemed that there was nothing quite like a real TR-909 drum machine, so I wonder if the new TR-09 ($399) can fill those big shoes. It has the familiar interface and also Step or Tap write modes, which you can switch without skipping a beat. It has MIDI and trigger ports for analog gear.

Just like the orignal VP-330 Vocoder Plus, the new VP-03 ($349) has vocoder, human voice and string sound sources on board, as well as an included gooseneck XLR mic. Now, however, the user has one-finger chord playback with 16 chord memories and a rhythmic voice step sequencer. The VP-03 works as a 24-bit audio interface over USB and you can use it with the optional K-25m keyboard or a MIDI controller.

See the slideshow below for pictures and info on all these products, as well as more new digital pianos, digital accordions, electronic percussion/drum, guitar and digital wind instrument (!) products.

Slideshow

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