Chillwave Track Created With Just A Roland SH-01A

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Synthesist Stefano Mattia shared this music video for his track Drifting Automata.

All sounds come from one synth, a Roland SH-01a, with percussion and effects added in Logic. Mattia’s patches and arrangement work to showcase what’s possible with a single inexpensive synth.

Here’s what Mattia has to say about the technical details:

“I decided to make a space/chillwave track using my SH-01A only. I really love this synth for the immediacy with which you can dial in a particular sound you have in mind. And for how fun it is to tweak the patch while it’s playing.

Here my little blue SH-01A is in charge of arpeggio, bass line, high pitched strings, pads, lead and even some random LFO sound effects.

Delay, reverb, and chorus effects added here and there. Drums are stock Logic samples.”

Kebu Live Roland Synth Jam – “Just Another Space Odyssey”

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Sunday Synth Jam: Finnish synthesist Kebu (Sebastian Teir) shared this live performance of Just Another Space Odyssey, from his 2012 album To Jupiter And Back.

Teir created the video for Roland using an all-Roland keyboard rig, featuring both modern and vintage gear

Here’s what Teir has to say about th technical details:

“In this video, I perform “Just Another Space Odyssey” with an all-Roland keyboard rig, controlled by the Fantom’s sequencer.

The first two minutes of the tune is built up in real-time, by recording MIDI notes and looping them back. At 2:20, I start triggering pre-recorded MIDI sequences from the Fantom and play along with them.

Synths used: Roland Fantom 6, Jupiter X, Jupiter Xm, System 8, JD-XA, TR-8S, TR-808, Alpha Juno 1 & 2 and SE-02.

The audio was recorded in one take, but the video was edited from multiple takes.

Roland Brings More Synths To Roland Cloud, Zen Core

Roland today introduced Model Expansions, a collection of new synth models for Roland Cloud and its ZEN-Core Synthesis System.

The first in the series is the JX-8P Model Expansion, with SH-101, JUNO-106, and JUPITER-8 Model Expansions in the works. The new synth models will work in Zenology for macOS & Windows, and in Zen Core compatible hardware, like the Jupiter-X and Jupiter-Xm.

Here’s the official video demo:

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Here’s what Roland has to say about the first synths in the Model Expansions series:

  • JX-8P Model Expansion—Launched in 1985, the innovative JX-8P took analog a step further with capabilities that could generate tones associated with digital synthesizers, making it highly versatile. Scheduled for release on June 30, 2020, the JX-8P Model Expansion reintroduces the unique voice of this sought-after instrument for the first time ever. The user interface also includes the hands-on editing functions of the PG-800, a companion programmer unit that was available for the original synth.
  • SH-101 Model Expansion—The SH-101 monosynth has been a key ingredient in shaping electronic music styles from the mid ‘80s until today. It’s been reborn as a polysynth with the SH-101 Model Expansion, bringing new and exciting possibilities to today’s music creators. The SH-101 Model Expansion is scheduled for release on July 16, 2020.
  • JUNO-106 Model Expansion—Introduced in 1984 as an affordable polysynth for the masses, the JUNO-106 has risen from humble beginnings to become an all-time favorite of synth lovers everywhere, and its built-in chorus is the stuff of legend. The JUNO-106 Model Expansion is scheduled for release on August 8, 2020.
  • JUPITER-8 Model Expansion—One of the most revered polysynths of all time, the JUPITER-8’s lush, complex sound is part of countless hit songs over the last four decades, and its massive voice is simply unmatched when it comes to warm pads, strings, and lead tones. The JUPITER-8 Model Expansion is scheduled for release on August 31, 2020.

See the Roland site for details.

Korg UK, Roland UK Fined For Breaking Competition Law

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has announced that it has fined Korg UK & Roland UK a total of £5.5 million, in 2 separate cases, for restricting online discounting of musical instruments.

Each of the companies was fined fined for implementing resale price maintenance (RPM), essentially setting a minimal sales price for their products. While some argue that setting a minimum retail price protects smaller bricks and mortar music stores against big online retailers, RPM is illegal in the UK.

Separately, a retailer of musical instruments, GAK, has also admitted to engaging in RPM with Yamaha and agreed to pay a maximum fine of more than a quarter of a million pounds to settle the case. This is the first time the CMA has taken enforcement action against a retailer in a resale price maintenance case.

The fines follow earlier fines against Casio and Fender, bringing the total fines imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for this illegal conduct in the musical instrument sector to £13.7 million.

The CMA has also written to almost 70 manufacturers and retailers across the sector, warning them that the CMA suspects their online pricing arrangements may have been illegal and that they need to ensure they are complying with the law or potentially risk an investigation and fines. The CMA has not announced which companies it has sent warnings to. (Synthtopia has requested this information).

The CMA also issued these guidelines for manufacturers and retailers:

  • If you are a supplier:
    • You must not dictate the price at which your products are sold, either online or through other sales channels.
    • Policies that set a minimum advertised price for online sales can equate to RPM and are usually illegal.
    • You must not use or intimate the use of threats, financial incentives or take any other action, such as withholding supply or offering less favourable terms, to make retailers stick to recommended resale prices.
    • You cannot hide RPM agreements – restrictive pricing policies in business-to -business arrangements are illegal whether verbal or written. Equally you cannot try to use apparently legitimate policies (e.g. selective distribution agreements) to conceal RPM practices. You face higher fines if you do this.
    • You must take extra care if you use price monitoring software – monitoring your market position is legitimate, but you must not act on pricing information in a way that could limit your retailers’ freedom to set their own resale prices.
  • If you are a retailer:
    • You are entitled to and must set the price of the products you sell independently, whether online or through other sales channels.
    • Suppliers are not usually allowed to dictate the prices at which you sell or at which you advertise their products online.
    • If you have agreed to sell at fixed or minimum prices with your supplier, you may both be found to be breaking competition law.
    • You should not ask your supplier to influence your competitors’ prices – do not be tempted to push for consistent resale prices or to “police” RPM by reporting your competitors’ prices to your suppliers. If you instigate RPM conduct you can face higher fines and directors can risk being disqualified from managing companies.

Roland Zenbeats Updated With Full Bluetooth MIDI Support & More

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Roland released an update to Zenbeats, its cross-platform music software for Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Windows, and macOS.

Roland Zenbeats 1.2 adds Bluetooth MIDI integration for mobile devices and Zenbeats MultiVerb, a brand-new effect featuring multiple halls, rooms, and plate reverb effects, which bring dimension and depth to a track.

Here’s what’s new in Zenbeats 1.2:

  • Bluetooth MIDI Support
  • Zenbeats MultiVerb with classic halls, room and plate reverb effects (requires platform unlock)
  • MIDI Effect Routing: Added option to record the output of MIDI effects to the track
  • Touch Navigation improvements: Can now scroll around your project and editors with natural gestures
  • New Plugin Compatibility Options to help with external plugins that do not conform to device sample rate or buffer size
  • Plugin Browser: Added Filters to display plugins by developer and plugin type
  • Roland Cloud integration allows paid Roland Cloud members and Roland Account holders to use instruments–including ZENOLOGY–with no purchase required.
  • Three new sound packs for Ultimate owners: Tone Ringer’s electric pianos, atmospheric sounds in Ambient Dreamscaper 2, and Indie Drums’ new rock drum kits.
  • Plug & Play functionality for Android with Roland A-88MKII MIDI Keyboard Controller.
  • A new fader style for Mixer, gesture scrolling, Drum Machine optimizations, and plug-in browser organization.

Note that updates vary slightly by platform.

Pricing and Availability

Zenbeats is available as a free download, but advanced features, instruments and sound libraries are available as in-app purchases.

Roland Zenology Lets You Share Synth Patches Across Keyboards, Grooveboxes, Your DAW & More

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At the 2020 NAMM Show, Roland gave us a sneak preview of Zenology, a new synthesis system that lets you create sounds and share them across keyboards, grooveboxes, your DAW and more.

Zenology is based on Roland’s ZEN-Core Synthesis System. ZEN-Core offers multiple synthesis types, combining modeled versions of vintage Roland oscillators and filters with PCM waves capable of PCM-SYNC and cross-modulation. It lets you layer up to four voices in a single tone.

The ZEN-Core platform is a rich platform for synthesizing new sounds and also is designed to let you recreate the sound of many of Roland’s classic synthesizers. But, while most readers will be familiar with Roland’s emulations of classic gear, in both hardware and software formats, Zenology’s capabilities are new.

Zenology puts the ZEN-Core Synthesis System in your DAW (AU, AAX, and VST formats), but promises to let you take sounds that you create to any compatible Roland device, like Fantom keyboards, the Jupiter-X line and the MC-101/707 grooveboxes.

Roland also plans to offer Model Expansions for the platform, based on classic Roland synthesizers like the JUPITER-8, JUNO-106, SH-101 and JX-8P, based on the company’s Analog Behavior Modeling technology.

Here’s a hands-on demo of Zenology in action:

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  • ZEN-Core Synthesis System plug-in for Mac and Windows
  • Thousands of sounds including 80 drum kits
  • ZEN-Core tones have four partials, each with flexible oscillator, filter, amplifier, dual step-LFOs and equalizer. Each ZEN-Core tone is also provided with a lush effect
  • Layer multiple synthesis types including advanced virtual analog and modern PCM
  • Effects including JUNO-106 and CE-1 choruses and SDD-320 Dimension D
  • Advanced tone browser to explore sounds, find favorites, and create custom banks
  • Compatible with Sound Packs and Wave Expansions
  • Share sounds between ZENOLOGY and compatible ZEN-Core hardware
  • Upgrade to ZENOLOGY Pro (coming soon) or use ZENOLOGY Lite for free

Details on Zenology are available at the Roland site.

Roland System 100m Hands-On Demo

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In his latest video, Alex Ball takes an in-depth look at the classic Roland System 100m synthesizer from 1979.

Ball demonstrates four patches and then explains the modules involved in creating each patch.

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
0:44 Patch 1 Drum n Bass (Demonstration)
1:44 Patch 1 Drum n Bass (Explanation)
4:04 Patch 2 Rate Speech (Demonstration)
4:39 Patch 2 Rate Speech (Explanation)
6:01 Patch 3 Jupiter 100m (Demonstration)
7:11 Patch 3 Jupiter 100m (Explanation)
8:00 Patch 4 Dial-Up (Demonstration)
9:30 Patch 4 Dial-Up (Explanation)
14:12 Outro

Modules used:

110 VCO / VCF / VCA
112 Dual VCO
121 Dual Filter
130 Dual VCA
131 Output Mixer
132 Voltage Processor / Mixer
140 Dual Envelope / LFO
150 Ring Mod / S&H / Noise / LFO
165 Dual Portamento
172 Phaser / Audio Delay / Gate Delay / LFO
182 Sequencer
184 Polyphonic 4CV Keyboard
191-J 5 module case with multiples

Ball has shared more info on the System 100m at his site.

If you’ve used the Roland System 100m, leave a comment and share your thoughts on it!