New amps, drums and some real surprises…
2016 has been an amazing year for the Roland and BOSS brands. Releasing a plethora of unique musical instruments throughout the year must seem like a tiring affair, but both of these innovators are showing no signs of slowing down releasing ingenious new products and improving on an already stellar catalogue of equipment each and every year. September 2016 would mark the release of an array of exciting products for musicians of all kinds and included new amplifiers, pedals, drums, DJ controllers, pianos, updated re-releases of classic drum machines and synths, turntables and so much more. So today we’re going to look at some of the coolest items that span the new Roland and BOSS releases.
BOSS have been making high quality equipment for guitarists of all levels since the late 70s and have become omnipresent throughout the music scene, so it’s always a big talking point when the brand release something new, as chances are, your either going to absolutely need it or seriously want it! The BOSS Katana series of amplifiers safely falls into both brackets!
Since the introduction of the Waza Craft series of pedals which provides guitarists with refined circuit designs and all-analog components, the signature BOSS line now carries a certain prestige which was then passed over to the Waza Craft amplifier technology. The translation of “waza” loosely means “art and technique” and symbolises dedication to one’s craft. The Katana series includes this Waza technology and certainly offers guitarists a whole universe of tonal possibilities. The BOSS Katana series includes a 50 watt 1×12 combo, 100 watt 1×12 combo, a 100 watt 2×12 combo and a 100-watt guitar amplifier head, offering both the professional and beginner musician with the options they need. The BOSS Katana series gives you oodles of pure power through high quality speakers, 5 selectable amp characters including Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown, and Acoustic as well as access to 55 BOSS effects, 15 of which you can download into the amp via the free BOSS Tone Studio editor software. They not only sound amazing, but can achieve that cranked amp tone at lower volumes which makes it perfect for home practicing and recording.
The BOSS GT-1 offers the guitarist on the go with a huge array of effects and pro-level tones in a neat, smaller scale box making it one of the most intuitive and highly portable multi-effects units in the world. It’s driven by the powerful BOSS GT-series engine and gives you access to 108 types of effects as well as a huge selection of world-class amplifiers to suit all types of music. Scroll through classic BOSS effects such as the OD-1 Overdrive and enjoy using the huge array of COSM amps built in. This nifty little product also doesn’t have any hard edges, making it a great option for throwing in your backpack or guitar bag and can be used with 4xAA batteries with up to 7 hours of playing. There’s even a looper to help with practicing! It’s a world of tonal possibilities at your feet.
Roland’s V drums have become a must have item for the electronic drummer who needs a responsive kit with realistic feel and expression, so it was an exciting announcement indeed when the brand revealed they were releasing 3 great kits. The Roland TD-1KPX Mesh Portable V-Drum Kit, TD-50K V-Drums Electronic Drum Kit and Roland TD-50KV V-Drums offer professional electronic drum kits for drummers of all levels. These 3 gig-ready options have been meticulously designed to provide drummers, both touring professionals and those who want something to learn/jam on with realistic and highly accurate response as well as a great feeling drum kit to play. The endless search for the best electronic drum kit might just be over with the TD-50KV -V-Drums as it offers the newly developed snare with high-definition multi-sensor system and those coveted cymbals with accurate optional sensing. For those that need a highly portable option, the TD-1KPX Mesh Portable V-Drum Kit is an awesome set that includes the easy to use TD-1 sound module as well as the awesome Roland Mesh heads that provide realistic feel. It can be easily folded away and stored in an optional carry case – carrying drums just became a whole lot easier!#
When it comes to creating awesome instruments for DJ’s of all levels, Roland just continue to get it right. Three great products released in 2016 include the Roland DJ-808 Professional DJ Controller, the TT-99 Direct Drive Turntable and the Roland DJ-99 2-Channel DJ Mixer. The DJ-808 in particular has sent the EDM community into a bit of a frenzy as it provides a complete DJing system in one easy to carry controller. It has the TR drum machine built-in, a TR-S step sequencer that controls the Serato Sampler as well as a VT Voice Transformer with Pitch, Formant, Ducking and Serato key matching. This 4-channel mixer with dual deck control is a great option that brings together Roland’s innovative software and usability with sturdy construction. For the vinyl purist, whether you’re a performer or at-home listener, the Roland TT-99 Direct Drive Turntable is for you. The TT-99 is a direct drive powered turntable that is capable of playing at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM speeds. The anti-skating control offers increased stereo balancing and die-cast aluminium construction with included slip mat ensures smooth and steady playback. Starting and braking time is kept below 1 sec too! If you want to gig with it, you’ll be happy to know the DJ-99 2-channel DJ mixer designed as part of a commemoration to the legendary TR-909 is available too. Not only does it have the same colour scheme, but it provides accurate signal control thanks to the 3 band equalizer and DVS/CD line connectivity as well as a professional grade mini innoFADER crossfader.
For Synth Lovers
Roland have taken their synth collection to greater heights thanks to introducing a new synth and the re-release of some absolute classics. The System-8 Plug-Out Synthesiser features eight voices and three oscillators as well as a huge range of filters and effects to shape your sound. Powered by the Roland Analog Circuit Behaviour (ACB) engine – introduced in their AIRA series – it is without doubt a serious powerhouse with 49 full size keys and built-in 64-step sequencer. Scroll through effects such as overdrive, distortion, fuzz, delay, chorus, reverb and take control of your sound via the Filter, Amp and FX controls that can be manipulated in real time. Fans of vintage style sounds and the coveted range of classic Roland products will enjoy the Roland TB-03 Bass Line Synthesizer and Roland VP-03 Vocoder Synthesizer. The TR-09 is a faithful recreation of the TR-909 drum machine, the TB-03 a recreation of the TB-303 Bass Line Synth and the VP-03 a compact recreation of the highly sought after VP-330 Vocoder Plus. There’s now no longer a need to re-mortgage your house to get hold of that classic synth sound as each product offers faithful recreations of each of the classic models adding a plethora of new options without ever taking away from the performance or overall aesthetic of the original models.
For Piano Players
Roland have also returned with a selection of gorgeous pianos and keyboards for both professionals as well as those with the itch to learn. The Roland GP607 Digital Mini Grand Piano is an awesome addition to the brands collection. This classic mini grand digital piano looks stunning, sounds and feels amazing thanks to the SuperNATURAL Piano Modelling technology and has that PHA-50 authentic grand piano touch with progressive hammer action and escapement to provide a real feel. It’s all the benefits of a beautiful mini grand without any tuning problems – ever! It even includes a built-in 4.1 channel multi-speaker system and it can connect to the Roland iOS and Android apps via MIDI or Bluetooth. The same SuperNATURAL sound engine has also been built-in to the great FP-90 Digital piano which features over 300 high quality sounds to suit all musical genres. Not leaving the fans of upright pianos out – we have the Roland DP603 Digital Piano too! This upright piano features 300 sounds as well as 380 on-board songs to play along with and hone your skills. It’s also compatible with the awesome Piano Partner 2 app for iOS and Android to help you on your musical journey.
Some Surprises Too!
Roland are consistently pushing the envelope when it comes to creating new and unique instruments and 2016 has been no exception. The introduction of the very cool Roland EC-10 Electric Cajon turned heads owing to the plethora of sounds and versatility this digital Cajon contained – but Roland didn’t want to stop there! The Roland EC-10M El Cajon Microphone Processor adds an extra layer to your acoustic Cajon and can amplify the sound and be used as a mic preamp. You can also take advantage of the 16 onboard kits that includes stuff like tambourines, shakers, djembes, electronic drums, and more. Just connect it to your existing Cajon and you’re good to go! You can even loop electronic layered sounds and trigger them via the optional foot pads – making it a great addition to your live set.
Another unique instrument comes in the form of the Roland Aerophone AE-10 Digital Wind Instrument. Roland’s SuperNATURAL sound technology has been transferred to this innovative wind instrument offering a plethora of different sounds. You can transfer your fingering from an acoustic saxophone to the AE-10 instantly and it even detects sensitive breath and enables control over advanced playing techniques such as vibrato and pitch. You can even practice silently thanks to the headphone output too! This great digital wind instrument can even replicate clarinets, flutes, oboes, trumpets, and even a violin, as well as ethnic instruments such as the shakuhachi (Japan) and erhu (China).
Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns.
After releasing two albums, a myriad of EPs / singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery.
Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.