NAMM 2016: Roland A-01 Synthesizer / Controller
Roland has something new up its sleeve. This time, it's a unique combination of a sequencer, controller and synthesizer, all rolled up into a compact package. It's called the A-01, which strongly reminds us of a familiar face, the K-25m.
You may remember the K-25m from Roland's Boutique series. While the Boutique synths are behind us, the K-25m can stay put, because the new A-01 also fits inside it, which raises all kinds of questions, like: How many other products will Roland develop that fit in the K-25m?
Instead of speculating too much about the future, let's focus on the here and now. The A-01 is a controller for MIDI as well as CV, and an excellent companion to the new Roland System 500, for instance. It has a comprehensive, pleasant display which shows all the controllers, and a step-sequencer is present as well.
The A-01 is so much more than just a controller. It also contains a synthesizer; a very special one, in fact. Roland was clearly up to the challenge of making a synth based on an 8-bit CPU and 8 kB of memory. These kinds of limits were common back in the early days of synth development, which may be what gives this monophonic synthesizer its retro allure. If you want to play this synth, you'll need to invest in the K-35m, which is available separately.
Sometimes we deal with products that are tough to categorise, and the A-01 is one of those types of products. Usually, Roland is pretty predictable when it comes to concepts, but the A-01 has totally taken us by surprise. This is a product for a very select audience, and if you happen to be a member of that audience, then you're in for a treat.
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