Posts Tagged ‘Roland’

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Roland Announces Juno-G Version 2.0- Free download

April 30, 2009

roland-juno-g-namm

Roland has announced the release of a major system upgrade for the Juno-G Workstation Keyboard, adding Fantom-series audio sampling functionality that you can use alongside all the other Juno-G features.

The Version 2.0 software upgrade is a free download.

Included in the Juno-G Version 2.0 upgrade are these new features:

  • Sample audio from external sources or import audio phrases from the removable flash memory.
  • Samples can be assigned to trigger from the Juno-G’s function buttons or the Juno-G’s keyboard.
  • Velocity and note number can be assigned individually for each sample.
  • Adjust Start, End and Loop points using the Juno-G’s front panel control knobs.
  • Advanced sampling editing such as Truncate, Normalize, Emphases, Sample Chop and Combine are included.
  • Samples can automatically match bpm in real time to changes made to the tempo of your song.
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Roland Wants Videos of Junos New and Old; A Look Back at the Juno Line

April 22, 2009

juno106

JUNO-106, as captured by cicciostoky

Roland is holding a YouTube video contest to get people to show off their JUNO keyboard synths. They’re not just talking the currently-available Roland keyboards that wear the JUNO badge, but the classic models going back to 1982.

“How Do You JUNO?” Video Contest [Roland US]

I like to disclose our partnerships upfront, so in the interest of disclosure: Roland US is currently promoting this campaign on CDM – thanks, Roland, for supporting the site. I can also tell you that personally, selfishly, I’d really love to see some great JUNO videos up on that YouTube channel, and that I suspect the take of some of you readers will be different. Also in the interest of really full disclosure – yeah, okay, I’m partial to the vintage JUNO. That’s my own personal bias. But I’m eager to see videos of whatever you’ve got. (Also, the JUNO-G is one of my favorite mainstream keyboards at the moment, for reasons I talk about below – it has the advantages of a workstation, like the ability to load custom waveforms and do onboard audio recording and sequencing, but without some of the bells and whistles a lot of us don’t want.)

JUNO History

I think it’s worth reviewing the history of the JUNO line. What it’s meant to be a “JUNO” has changed pretty radically over the years; a JUNO-D and a JUNO-6 might not recognize each other. It reflects some of the changing tastes and technologies in the industry. Sometimes that represents forward progress — hooray, MIDI and patch memory! But sometimes something is lost. The analog original is something special, and even Roland wound up bringing back retro-styled front-panel editing, missing on the JUNO-D, to the JUNO-G and JUNO-STAGE. It’s not about nostalgia: it’s about making something musically productive. In some ways, that’s brought us full circle.

Mirror, mirror: JUNO-6, photographed by p caire.

1982: JUNO-6, JUNO-60. The original JUNO was a six-voice polyphonic analog synth. The distinctive, punchy analog sound was so beloved, it even inspired a meticulous emulation on a dedicated Linux machine. It also introduced Roland’s friendly-looking panel layout approach with big, clear labels and a spacious setup – something to which Roland themselves have recently returned. The JUNO-60 added patch memory storage. No MIDI, although there Roland later produced add-on hardware for MIDI control.

Roland generations: the JX-8P was the successor to the first commercially-available Roland MIDI synth (JX-3P). You can also see how the JUNO-60 compares to the size of the JUNO-106 at top. Photo: Soundingblue.

1984: JUNO-106. The 106 has a special place in history, not only a favorite of the 80s but ever since – it’s got six analog voices as on the original JUNO, plus one digitally-controlled oscillator per voice, but adds MIDI control. It sounds great and it’s dead-simple to use. It’s also a nice choice if you’re looking to pick up an 80s keyboard as it’s a good value today as it was when released. In a world in which “vintage” often translates to elite and expensive, the JUNO-106 is one of the great populist keyboards of all time. Note that if you are looking to pick up a used 106, our friend James Grahame from Retro Thing notes tells me the voice chips are starting to die. Buyer beware: owning a used synth can be like owning a used car.

The Roland Jupiter, not the JUNO, went down in history as one of the two first synths to connect in public via MIDI – at winter NAMM, January 1983, connected to a Sequential Prophet-600. But the JUNO-106 was still one of the Roland products that helped popularize MIDI.

Digital oscillators + analog filters. Odd that we don’t have more synths like that today, in fact. Photo: ALERT ALERT.

1986: Alpha JUNO 1. The Alphas are smaller, and eschew physical controls for LED and minimalist button selections – there was something about the mid-1980s that did that to synth design. But you can add on a PG-300 controller for additional controls, the Alphas are MIDI-friendly, and not hard to find these days. They maintained the distinctive JUNO sound and have been a favorite in the techno scene ever since.

Alpha JUNO 2. The Alpha 2 hits a nice sweet spot as a controller: aftertouch, 61-note keyboard. That could make it a decent choice on your keyboard rack even today.

The New JUNO Models

2005: JUNO-D. The JUNO-D is a budget wavetable synth, and as such, really the odd man out here. The connection to the original JUNO is presumably that it’s a friendly synth with some favorite sounds, and it does support a computer editor. There are also front-panel envelope controls. But it’s the more recent JUNO models that have brought back more of the original spirit of the JUNO. The JUNO-D has “JUNO” printed on it, but otherwise, while a solid entry-level keyboard, it lacks a lot of the features that make the other modern JUNO line appealing.

JUNO-G, at home in the studio. Photo: Claudio Matsuoka.

2007: JUNO-G. The JUNO-G is quite a lot more interesting if you’re interested in doing some real programming and live performance. It’s a workstation, though without some of the arranger features that are superfluous to many of us. You get the Fantom-X synth processor, but with easily-accessible front-panel editing controls and a layout inspired by the original JUNO. There are also some nice gigging features, like onboard audio/MIDI recording, 16-part MIDI sequencing, and a slot for flash memory. It’s also got additional controller features, like a D-Beam, plus USB connectivity. I reviewed the JUNO-G in summer 2007 for Keyboard Magazine. I was especially attracted to the ability to use your own waveforms as the basis of sounds, and to the front-panel editing and sequencing/recording features.

Version 2 of the JUNO-G recently added waveform editing.

junostage

2008: JUNO-STAGE. I quite liked that the JUNO-G is light, but the JUNO-STAGE gives you a 76-note, semi-weighted keyboard and additional performance controls. It gets rid of some of the sequencing and workstation features of the JUNO-G, but if you want to do all your sequencing on computer, that may not matter. The idea of the STAGE is really focused on live performance controls. Like the JUNO-G, it’s the soul of a Fantom-X in a different package, but that package is more narrowly-focused in a way that can appeal for live playing.

Modern JUNO Portal at Roland

Source: http://createdigitalmusic.com

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Roland Keyboard Amp Range

February 11, 2009

Amplifiers

KC-880

Stereo Mixing Keyboard Amplifier.

A portable keyboard amplifier featuring five channels of stereo input, 320 watts of power and Roland’s famous DSP effects — perfect for keyboards, vocals, and more. High-Powered Performance for the Entire Band!
Features

The new flagship of the KC amp series is packed with high-performance features. With five channels of stereo input, 320 watts of power and Roland’s famous DSP effects built in, the KC-880 is a portable powerhouse for keyboards, vocals, and more.

* Flagship stereo keyboard amplifier with five channels of stereo input
* 320-watt stereo power amplifier, 12-inch woofers and two horn tweeters
* DSP effects (Reverb, Chorus, Tremolo, Rotary)
* Flexible I/O (XLR mic input, stereo XLR line outputs, headphone out), Stereo Link for chaining multiple KC-880s

KC-550

Stereo Mixing Keyboard Amplifier.
This flagship keyboard amp boasts 180 watts of powerful sound via a 15-inch speaker and horn tweeter.

KC-350

Stereo Mixing Keyboard Amplifier

KC-150

Stereo Mixing Keyboard Amplifier.
The KC-150 is a compact 65-watt amp with 4-channel capability including Auxiliary and Microphone inputs.

KC-60

Keyboard Amplifier

The KC-60 brings renowned KC-Series sound quality to an even lower price.

KCW-1

Powered Subwoofer.
A convenient way to add 200 watts of punchy low end to sub-out equipped KC amps.

SA-300

Lightweight, Powerful, Portable PA.

The versatile SA-300 is built to handle any type of audio source you plug into it: microphones, rhythm machines, keyboards, CD players, etc.

MOBILE CUBE

Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier,

A portable CUBE amp with connections for microphones, guitars, keyboards, drum machines, MP3 players, and more.
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ROLAND PRESENTS DRUM TUTORIAL SOFTWARE FOR HD-1 V-DRUMS OWNERS

January 28, 2009

roland_hd1_box

PC software makes learning drums easy for HD-1 owners

Roland Corporation is proud to introduce new drum lesson software for owners of the HD-1 electronic drum kit. The DT-HD1 teaches introductory drum patterns and techniques in ways that are fun and easy for any entry-level drummer.

This new software integrates seamlessly with the Roland HD-1 V-Drums Lite electronic drum kit, which is made with the same revolutionary V-Drums technology used by professional musicians. Incredibly quiet, conveniently compact and affordable, the HD-1 brings quality sounds and ease-of-use to anyone who wants to learn to play drums. The DT-HD1 drum tutorial software bundle includes a USB-MIDI interface and an audio cable, allowing drummers to learn while practising with the HD-1. Players can learn how to perform basic drum patterns from different genres of music, all the way up to playing full songs with a backing track. Users can even load their own favourite song data (SMF) and jam along.

In the Notation Screen, a bouncing ball guides players through the patterns and demonstrates which pads to play and which hands to use when playing a fill. The software also allows drummers to slow or speed up tempos, repeat sections, and select specific pads for playback to help them learn more difficult patterns.
roland_hd1_gui

The DT-HD1 software makes learning drum technique fun, with features like the Game Screen. Drummers play along with co-ordinated falling blocks to obtain a high score, while learning precision, timing, and technique.

The DT-HD1 drum tutorial software is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP and Vista, and is scheduled to be available in February, 2009.

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NAMM 09: Roland Round Up

January 21, 2009

924_boss-me-70
Roland  launches no fewer than 19 new products at this years NAMM 09

After the excitement of what is pretty universally seen as the product of the show – the Roland V-Piano – Roland has also used this year’s NAMM show to launch nearly 20 new products across its entire portfolio, from drums, through digital pianos, amps and, of course, Boss effects.

The new Boss ME-70 multi-effects unit (pictured) builds on the popular ME-50, with the same ‘stomp box’ ease of use for the guitarist, combined with Roland’s Cosm engine derived from the GT-10, and added EZ Tone and Phrase Loop features, which enables sound-on-sound creation, with up to 38 seconds of recording time. The EZ Tone function allows for fast and easy tone creation via simple effects presets, so players of any level can create superb tones of any genre within seconds.

Next up is the KC-880 stereo keyboard amp, which builds on Roland’s KC sound with a new stereo design, powered through a 320-watt stereo power amplifier, two 12-inch woofers and two horn tweeters. This design delivers the most accurate sonic representation of the performance, with wide, clear full-spectrum sound. New onboard stereo effects such as Tremolo, Rotary, and Reverb, give musicians a whole new range of keyboard and vocal performance possibilities.

mainWith a massive nod back to the 1980s, Roland has re-introduced the shoulder keyboard with the Ax-Synth, the first of the Ax series ever to offer an onboard sound engine, featuring a collection of the best of Roland’s synth sounds.

Created with performance in mind, the AX-Synth allows keyboardists to connect with their audience as guitarists and singers do. Real-time controls such as the Ribbon, Modulation Bar, D Beam, and Assignable Knob controllers give musicians the ability to perform memorable and expressive solos.  When wearing the battery-powered and wireless AX-Synth, keyboardists could create kinetic musical performances, moving freely around the stage without any encumbering wires or cables.

The AX-Synth features 49 velocity-sensitive keys and is the first shoulder keyboard to include a 128-voice polyphonic sound engine with 256 distinct tones accessible from eight bank buttons.

The new VP-770 Vocal & Ensemble Keyboard, features a newly-developed Vocal Designer effects and high-quality ensemble sounds powered by Roland’s SuperNatural technology.
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With a solid wood construction and metal chassis, the VP-770 features a newly enhanced interface, plus onboard sounds applicable across a vast array of musical genres.  A high-quality headset microphone comes standard and provides the best signal path possible in combination with the VP-770’s pristine onboard microphone preamp.

Finally (for now) Roland has introduced the TD-4K electronic drum kit: the latest addition to the V-Drums range. With upgraded sounds, enhanced functionality and a cool new design, the TD-4K is fun to play, comfortable to use, and great for practice.

The TD-4K includes the new TD-4 percussion module which features all-new expressive drum and percussion sounds, as well as new ambience effects, optimised for drums. The included mesh-snare pad features Roland’s patented multi-layer mesh for incredible dynamic response, superior feel and low noise. A newly-designed four-legged drum stand allows flexible and solid positioning of the pads and places the TD-4 module in the centre for easy access. The TD-4K also includes Roland’s natural playing cymbals and expressive hi-hat control, making drummers feel as if they’re playing an acoustic drum kit.

MI Pro has been fortunate to use the Retail Up stand (booth 3605) at the show this year, from where all NAMM show bulletins will be written, uploaded and flashed.

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NAMM 2009: Roland AX-Synth Shoulder Synthesizer

January 16, 2009

roland_ax-synth

Roland AX-Synth. Finally, the return of the “Keytar” from Roland. You get keys, you get a Ribbon, D-Beam and modulation bar. The new AX-Synth also touts 6 hour battery life and MIDI over USB. I like it but why isn’t this wireless? link

It’s time to escape the keyboard rig and rock the stage. The stylish AX-Synth represents Roland’s new generation of remote keyboards, but for the first time, this one has a sound generator onboard. It’s self-contained and equipped with powerful, solo-oriented sounds from Roland’s latest, greatest synths. Strap on an AX and steal show.

  • Built-in sound engine with voices from Roland’s latest synthesizers
  • Ribbon controller, D Beam, modulation bar, knobs, and easy to see display for stage
  • USB MIDI for easy connection to PC
  • Dedicated V-LINK button for video/visual control
  • Long battery operation (approx. 6 hours)
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Roland MV-8800 Complete Production Solution

January 2, 2009


mv8800

Since 2003, Roland’s MV-8000 has been a coveted centerpiece for many of the world’s greatest hip-hop and R&B producers. With its powerful hands-on features, and its ability to incorporate a VGA monitor and mouse, it brought the best of the hardware- and software-based production worlds together. Today Roland sets a new standard in production power and flexibility with the MV-8800.

  • Complete production solution, from beat creation and multitrack recording to mixing, mastering and CD burning
  • Tight integration of drum machine-style pattern recording and DAW-style linear recording
  • Realtime control of audio pitch and time, groove quantize, and pattern/song arrangements — great for both studio and stage
  • World-class sound library pre-installed on the internal hard drive
  • Legendary Roland instrument and effects models onboard, including TR-808, TR-909, SRV reverb, SDD-320 Chorus, SBF-325 Flanger, Boss BF-2 and HF-2, and RE-201 Space Echo
  • Three MIDI ports (IN x 1, OUT x 2) for connecting external MIDI devices
  • Color LCD with icon-oriented interface
  • Accepts external VGA monitor (optional) and optical mouse

Create your own sounds or load up to 128 instruments or drum kits at once from the MV-formatted sound library that’s preinstalled on the hard drive. Newly created drum kits are provided, including a special collection of 16 vintage drum machines such as the legendary Roland TR-808 and TR-909. Acoustic and electric pianos, strings, guitars, horns, synth basses, and other essential instruments are also included.


Amazing Pitch & Time Control

Load hundreds of loops, hits, or vocal phrases at once, all with realtime BPM matching. Just tap the tempo and all the samples lock to your new tempo! You can match the pitches of melodic phrases just as easily. Create loop-based tracks on the fly, all locked together in perfect pitch and time sync.

Vintage & Modern Effectsl

An incredible lineup of modern and vintage effects is built into the MV-8800, including models of classic Roland SRV reverbs, SDD-320 Chorus, SBF-325 Flanger, Boss BF-2 and HF-2 pedals, and the legendary RE-201 Space Echo. The MV-8800’s multi-effects processor includes an Analog Modeling Bass that turns the MFX engine into a virtual SH-style bass synthesizer. All MFX knob tweaks can be automated as you mix.

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Mark Ronson talks production, equipment and Tom Cruise

November 5, 2008

m-ronson



Mark Ronson is currently one of England’s biggest music exports, having won an English Brit Award and being a three-time Grammy award winning music producer and artist .




His second album, Version focused on the British music scene, with covers of songs by the likes of Radiohead, Maxïmo Park, The Smiths, The Zutons and Kaiser Chiefs. The album includes three top ten hits and won Ronson a BRIT Award for Best Male Artist 2008. He is the first person to win a BRIT award who does not sing on the actual recording.


Ronson’s heritage comes from being a superstar Dj seemingly to some of the music/fashion industries biggest names, P Diddy and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few.


To be more exact, it’s been about six months since Ronson has spun in Manhattan — the borough that made him famous for his selector skills. But one fulfilling evening doesn’t override his feeling of burnout. “I don’t enjoy [DJing] five nights a week — playing new hip-hop and stuff — because it doesn’t really get me that excited anymore,” he laments.


Some 14 years in the booth can do that to you. Ronson still gets his fill by spinning recent hip-hop hits, electro, rock and remixes of his own records — primarily at the renowned YOYO parties in London and for his weekly Internet show “Authentic Shit” on East Village Radio. Those couple gigs aside, he’s no longer keen on being the celebrity DJ that he became in the late-’90s by entertaining the rich and famous. As fun as it was rocking parties for Tommy Hilfiger and Diddy, it wasn’t enough creatively.
By 2000, Ronson found a new outlet with a piece of equipment he was already familiar with as a hip-hop head: the MPC. His first notable production work was heard on vocalist Nikka Costa’s album, Everybody Got Their Something (Virgin, 2001), and two years later on his solo debut, Here Comes the Fuzz (Elektra, 2003). This anything-goes party album featured everyone from Sean Paul to Saigon and saw Ronson translate his kinetic turntable magic onto wax.


Since cutting back on spinning in clubs in early 2006, Ronson has never been busier on the production front. Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse have all reached out to Ronson recently for his soulful backdrops. Ronson has also produced Liverpool’s own Candie Payne’s “One More Chance (Ronson mix)” in 2007.


 


During a little downtime from his work for others, the producer recorded his surprising new sophomore album, “Version” (Allido/RCA, 2007) — a record that was never supposed to happen.


The album was been well received by critics. In May 2007 it was awarded the title Album of the Month by the British dance music magazine Mixmag. On June 23, the DJ made the cover of the Guardian newspaper’s Guide magazine, alongside the singer Lily Allen.


In June 2007, Ronson signed DC hip hop artist Wale to Allido Records. In late 2007, he focused on production, working with Daniel Merriweather on his debut album, and recording again with Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams.



Mark is the epitome of a modern day DJ who has advanced into the production realm. His work for other artists and producing covers’ is arguably what he is now most known for.


 


Ronson has only one request regarding working conditions when making music here: “It just has to be quiet in the studio,” he says humbly. That’s not much to ask, and as you’ll soon find out, Ronson is rather easy to work with.


But before he welcomes others into the studio, this soul purveyor sits at his Akai MPC3000 LE developing drum patterns. While the drums were the first instrument Ronson picked up as a kid, he admits to not being able to play them all that well. Thus he prefers recording the MPC pads to develop a track and then adds live percussion later. “The beats all come from the MPC, and then depending on what I think the song should start with — a keyboard, the guitar, a bass line — that determines what I should put on top,” he explains. “I just find a beat that I like on the MPC and then lay it into Pro Tools and then just add all the live instrumentation on top of that.”


Sticking to his old-school sensibilities, Ronson often draws from his collection of vintage keys: a Roland RS-101 Strings synth, a Wurlitzer electric piano, a Hohner Clavinet D6 and Yamaha grand piano, to name a few. “The only new thing that I use is a Nord Electro because I don’t have a hammer board, and it has a pretty good sound.”


Even with vocals, Ronson likes to take it back as heard on “Valerie” with Amy Winehouse. Here, using an old RCA DX77 ribbon mic through a Neve mic pre, the soul singer’s Motown-esque tone simply pops.


Soon after recording a handful of tracks with the aforementioned gear, Columbia UK picked up his new album (via Allido), and all of a sudden, there was a budget. With the dough came a world of possibilities. After working with funk/soul band The Dap-Kings on Winehouse’s Back to Black [Republic, 2007] album, Ronson called upon the horn players from the Brooklyn group to help blow out the covers on Version. He also hired large string sections — a move he never thought he could pull off.


“After working on Amy Winehouse’s record, that was sort of my first experience producing and arranging by myself in front of a band and going in front of a string section — something that maybe I would have been a little bit intimated to do before. So once I had the learning block of getting over that working on Amy’s record, that’s when I was able to have the confidence, and that’s when we brought that into my own record.”


 



Ronson worked with Tom Elmhirst, who mixed a quarter of the tracks on “Version” having already mixed Back to Black (Winehouse), Elmhirst was already familiar with Ronson’s robust funk/soul sound that relied so much on horns and big-band arrangements. “[Version] was very much a continuation of what we’d done on Amy’s record, which was that thing of having people play but make it sound contemporary as well,” Elmhirst explains. “On the mix side, I was really keen for it to kick. So a lot of times with The Dap-Kings, I’d be blowing up the sounds to make them heavier with samples to make it kick as well.”


As a veteran who’s worked with Moby, Bush, Goldfrapp and dozens of others, Elmhirst takes a purist’s approach to mixing. Working behind a Neve VR72, he likes the physical aspect of the console. “I enjoy the mixing side of it rather than just pushing a mouse up and down the whole time,” he says. “But it’s pretty conventional — Pro Tools|HD, and I managed to get it all out of 48 outputs.”


With his love of reggae, Elmhirst used acquired techniques to slip in a little Caribbean flavor on Version. “On a lot of the horns I’ll put a delay on them, but what you have to do with horns sometimes so they can come through clean and [with] that old, almost Motown sound — sometimes you need to distress them a bit so it’s extremely broad frequency-wise,” Elmhirst explains. “So I’ll put shelves on them, I’ll put Lo-Fi on them — anything to sort of crunch ‘em up and put ‘em into place. And the way the [horns] were tracked, they weren’t played individually — they were played as a group, so you’ve got a nice blend.”


 


MARK RONSON’S
ALLIDO HEADQUARTERS
Computer, DAW, recording hardware
Apple Mac G5
Digidesign Pro Tools|HD system
Studer 16-track tape machine


Sampler, turntables, DJ mixer
Akai MPC3000 LE sampler
Rane TTM 57SL mixer
(2) Technics SL1200 turntables


Console
Neve VR72


Synths, software, plug-ins, instruments, amps
Ampeg Jet guitar amp
Clavia Nord Electro organ/piano
Crumar Roady electric piano
Digidesign ChannelStrip, Lo-Fi plug-ins
DW drum kit
Fender Jazz Bass, Rhodes electric piano, Twin guitar amp
Gibson Les Paul guitar, acoustic guitar
Hohner Clavinet D6
Line 6 Amp Farm plug-in
Rhodes Mark I Stage Piano
Roland A-90 Controller, RS-101 Strings
Wurlitzer electric piano
Yamaha grand piano


Mic, mic preamps, EQs, compressor
(2) Avalon Vt-737sp preamp/ compressor/EQ
Brent Averill 1073 preamp
Manley Reference Gold mic, VoxBox compressor/de-esser/EQ
RCA DX77 mic
Universal Audio 1176 preamp


Monitors
Genelec 1030As