If you’re a musician and you live in the UK, there are a few things you can be certain of; it’s cold, dark and wet outside, there’s nothing good on TV and there’s a ton of new music gear being announced by Roland and Boss. With the mighty NAMM show just over a week away (kicking off in Anaheim, Los Angeles on Thursday 23rd Jan), we thought we’d get in early and lift the curtain on what’s to come in 2014. There’s always room in the muso’s heart for some shiny, new gear – especially when it sounds this good – so sit back, turn it up and blow the cobwebs away.
To see all the products, in all their glory and some of the videos, visit Roland Connect.
Synth – FA-08 & FA-06 flagship workstations
Studio keyboards don’t always cut it live, and live keyboards don’t get on with studio gear, so each instrument solves only half of your problems. The new FA-06 and FA-08 workstations make the problems disappear. Both come with a built-in audio interface and DAW integration, pro-quality-weighted-action keyboard and the huge collection of sounds, taken from the popular Integra-7 module and spanning the entire musical spectrum. Each of the 16 parts has its own effects engine, each with 67 effect types, on top of dedicated processors for drums, EQ, chorus and reverb.
With the FA-06 weighing in at only 5.7kg, means its easy enough to pack up and carry around, whereas the FA-08 comes with an 88 note keyboard and weighs in at 16kg. Add a powerful sampler and easy to use sequencer for both and you’ve got all the tools of the trade – ready to make music wherever you are.
Home Piano – HP504, 506, 508, DP90e and DP90Se, LX15e and HPi-50e
We’ve launched a host of digital pianos for 2014, including updates to our HP and DP range along with a new LX-15e and HPi-50e. Lets start with the revamped HP range.
The entry-level HP504 is the most affordable in the range and is a modern classic, with an elegant, understated look that brings a touch of class into your home. As part of the HP range it boasts the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine enhanced with a Dynamic Harmonic feature for fortissimo playing.
Building on the features of the HP504 comes the bigger-brother HP506, aimed at everyone from young students to more advanced players. This mid-range HP piano uses the same SuperNATURAL sound engine as the other models in the series, but introduces the Acoustic Projection sound system and a PHA-4 Concert-class keyboard. The HP506 also has four speakers, instead of two, which are positioned so the player is enveloped in a rich, warm sound that’s far closer to an acoustic piano.
The flagship HP508 digital piano offers the ultimate blend of style, feel and sound. Like the other two models in the range, the HP508 is based on the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine. The HP508’s premium six-speaker Acoustic Projection system is the jewel in the crown, producing a sound so pure that if you closed your eyes, you’d swear you were playing an acoustic piano. If you appreciate the finer things in life – be it design, craftsmanship or performance – the HP508 will make you happy every time you play it.
Finally you still get everything that makes the other HP pianos so enjoyable to play, including the Piano Designer, 3D Headphones sound, built-in recorder, USB connectivity, free Roland iOS piano apps and no need for tuning – ever.
Take a look at the whole of the Roland HP digital piano range.
Roland DP digital pianos
If you are after stylish modern looking piano with the sound of a classic piano the DP-90’s are for you. There are two products in the range, DP-90Se and DP-90e, with the DP-90Se available in polished white or ebony as an option.
If you’re after a premium piano that’s also compact and beautifully understated, the DP-90 could be the answer. Again it comes with the SuperNATURAL sound engine which accurately recreates the sound of an acoustic grand piano. Your fingers will dance over the PHA-4 Premium Keyboard with the latest touch-sensing technology for enjoying the piano’s rich tonal variations and natural dynamics. And your eyes will definitely be drawn to the minimal elegance and design aesthetics of a high-end piece of furniture. The DP range also works with Roland’s free piano apps for Apple iOS devices, so you can use your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to make piano practise fun.
Take a look at our Roland DP range of digital pianos.
So you love the timeless elegance of a classic upright piano, but you realise you can do so much more with a digital piano. Usually, it’s one or the other but the LX-15e gives you both. By placing our superior piano technology into a compact upright-styled instrument, the LX-15e is a piano that’s beautiful to behold, beguiling to play, and capable of satisfying both sides of your personality. As a piano for connoisseurs, the LX-15e is all about detail and authenticity. The piano sound, keyboard feel and cabinet construction all combine to create an instrument that’ll make you lose track of time. The LX-15e also works with Roland’s free piano apps for Apple iOS devices, so you can use your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to make practise productive and fun. Indulge yourself for once.
Take a closer look at the Roland LX-15e digital piano.
HPi-50e the piano that teaches you how to play it
Imagine a piano with a colour screen showing sheet music and exercises to help you improve. That’s the HPi-50e in a nutshell, a digital piano for anyone wanting to improve their playing. The HPi-50 is all about that big colour screen, called DigiScore, which is housed in the music rest. The DigiScore system displays digital sheet music (and even turns the page for you) with a choice of over 400 built-in songs. You can even add other songs via SMF data (also known as Standard MIDI Files). A wide range of exercises and games make learning fun for everyone. Younger children will love to earn ‘medals’ for their progress, while older players will appreciate the ability to perfect their playing technique and notation reading.
See what other features the Roland HPi-50e has in-store for you.
RD-800 – The ultimate stage piano for live performance
The ideal stage piano should do several things exceptionally well; sound amazing, have a great keyboard action, and be able to handle life on the road without needing three people to carry it. The RD-800 solves all of these problems. The RD-800 is intuitive and easy to use on stage with a colour display, plenty of dedicated controls, including the new Tone Color function for dramatic sound manipulation from a single knob and combines all the sounds from refined acoustic grand pianos, vintage electric pianos, organs, synth sounds and many more. Weighing in at just under 22kg you can get it easily packed up and in the car in no time, its full of heavyweight features and truly at home on stage. And once the gig is done, you’ll be happy that this is the lightest flagship RD ever, weighing just under 22kg. Packed full of heavyweight features but light where it counts, the RD-800 is truly at home on stage.
Check out more about the new Roland RD-800.
Expanding the Boss guitar effects offering
There are three releases for Boss at NAMM this year, two compacts and a new flagship ME multi-FX. Starting with the two compacts the Boss OD-1X Special Edition pedal launches the famous Boss overdrive into a modern era of expression, delivering an unmatched level of performance for guitarists with an ear for tone. Prepare to be amazed—the inspiring and ultra-responsive OD-1X will change your thinking about overdrive pedals forever. In comes the DS-1X, again taking the famous Boss distortion into the modern era, it combines over 35 years of innovation in pedal design with the most advanced technologies, bringing you a completely new tonal experience that’s only possible with the legendary expertise of BOSS.
The tones of a top studio. The simplicity of a stompbox – the ME-80
If you just want another stopgap guitar FX pedal, move along as the new Boss ME-80 is a real keeper. Raising the spec of the Boss ME-70, and taking key features from the flagship Boss GT-100, it’s as tone-packed as a top studio, but as easy to operate as a stompbox.Take a look under the bonnet there is an array of ultra-realistic COSM amp models that replicate the coolest amps in history, and pro Boss effects are ready to give your songs wings. On the dashboard, a pedalboard-style layout of gig-friendly footswitches, intuitive controls and expression pedal let you bring the noise fast and shape it in real-time.
Live guitarists will lap up the Boss ME-80, but so too will production boffins, thanks to free Boss Tone Studio software that allows deep editing on your computer, and gives a web connection to the gig-ready patches and endless guitar content at Boss Tone Central.
Take a closer look at the Boss ME-80 multi effects pedal
Expand into hybrid drums – TM-2 Trigger Module
You’ve come a long way with shells and skins. But now, with every session and song demanding a different vibe, you’re starting to realise there are some sounds that acoustic drums can’t deliver. The good news: there’s no need to ditch your beloved kit. The Roland TM-2 Trigger Module brings the two worlds together, attaching instantly to your acoustic kit and fusing all the features of electronic percussion into your performance.
The Roland TM-2 Trigger Module isn’t here to mess with the feel or ruin the raw tone you love about your acoustic kit. Its battery-powered, compact and easy to attach. A massive choice of pro kit sounds and studio-quality multi-FX come ready-to-play in the TM-2. You can also load in your own custom WAV sounds, loops, samples and backing tracks via SDHC card, alongside twin inputs to support Roland pads and triggers like the BT-1, KT-10 and RT-10 series, the TM-2 is the fastest and most flexible way for acoustic drummers to harness electronic features and create a hybrid kit.
Read the full spec sheet for the TM-2 Trigger Module.