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NAMM 2013: Roland gives first look at new keyboards and digital pianos

Jory Mackay
NAMM 2013: Roland gives first look at new keyboards and digital pianos

With the 2013 Winter NAMM show only days away, Roland has announced a new keyboard and two new digital pianos.


First up is the all-new V-Combo VR-09 keyboard, an affordable, easy-to-transport (weighing in at 5kg) unit for the performing keyboard player featuring dedicated piano, organ and synth engines. The three sound engines are organised in three intuitive blocks on the front panel - giving fast access to the sounds you need and especially useful on a dark stage.

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The keyboard's acoustic grand piano section features 88-note stereo multi-sampling, delivering pro-level piano sound that rivals Roland’s dedicated stage pianos. Many popular vintage E. Piano sounds are onboard as well, along with complimentary effects such as vintage phaser and tremolo. The compressor - accessible via a dedicated, easy-to-reach knob - transparently boosts the level of the piano sounds, ensuring that your playing always cuts through when performing in loud bands.

The V-Combo VR-09's classic tonewheel organs are powered by Roland’s SuperNATURAL technology with nine harmonic bars provide authentic real-time performance control. A newly developed transistor-type organ is also included, offering the unique sound of combo instruments from the 1960s. The 61-note keyboard has an extremely fast response, perfect for essential organ techniques such as trill, sputter, glissando, and percussive hits. Rotary speaker and amp simulators reproduce the characteristics of vintage organ speaker cabinets and overdriven tube circuits with astounding realism, while a new “Twin Rotary” option delivers a deep, aggressive effect never before heard.

For synth sounds, the V-Combo VR-09 is packed with ready-to-play synthesizer sounds, from vintage analog classics like JUNO strings and ‘80s synth brass to textured, modern-era digital tones and beyond. Front-panel controllers allow you to tweak the synth tones intuitively in real time, including convenient ADSR and cutoff/resonance adjustment with the harmonic bars from the organ block.

The keyboard also features nine sliders for tone shaping and a large array of knobs and buttons for tweaking the seven simultaneous effects and various parameters. Other great additions include an onboard looper, a drum section packed with rhythms for practice and jamming and the free VR-09 iPad sound editor.



Next up is the Roland RD-64 stage piano featuring 64 weighted-action keys and weighing in at only 13kg.

The piano's 64-note ivory Feel-G keyboard incorporates Roland’s most advanced sensor technology, escapement mechanism, and Ivory Feel construction giving a touch, sensitivity and appearance only found before on Roland's flagship 88-key pianos. The sound engine is powered by Roland’s SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, with acoustic piano tones plus a selection of expressive electric pianos.

Onboard effects include a high-quality stereo reverb, plus two effects processors tailored to the RD-64’s tone categories. Options include enhancer and damper resonance for grand piano sounds, tremolo and phaser for EPs, and many more, with quick on/off access via easy-to-reach buttons. There’s even a dedicated rotary effect for the organ, with on/off and speed controls for authentic organ performance. A two-band EQ lets you easily shape the sound via two convenient knobs. Stereo RCA inputs allow you to connect a music player for live backing tracks and rehearsing.

The RD-64 can also be used as a high-quality MIDI controller complete with assignable knobs, buttons, pitch bend/mod lever, and the D-BEAM -  perfect for controlling synths and other devices on stage and in the studio. The one-touch SuperNATURAL button automatically assigns the RD-64’s controllers to use the massive expressive potential of the SuperNATURAL tones in Roland’s Integra-7 sound module and Jupiter-80 / Jupiter-50 synthesizers.



Last up is the HPi-50 digital piano which combines Roland’s SuperNATURAL piano engine with a powerful set of speakers and an authentic Ivory Feel keyboard action to replicate the sound and feel of a world-class concert grand piano. 

The HPi-50 also includes a digital 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).

For those looking to learn the piano, the HPi-50 also includes a collection of practice features to help improve your playing. The Finger Training course displays the 'finger power' in both hands while playing the built-in Hanon exercises (which develop finger movement skills). The Visual Lesson application identifies areas in the digital sheet music that you need to work on.

For children, the HPi-50 also includes interactive DigiScore games such as the DoReMi Course, which reviews your music reading and fingering techniques, and the Scroll Game, which lets you play along with a graphical piano roll on the display. The Medal Collection application awards gold, silver, or bronze medals for playing accuracy as you play along with the built-in songs.

For more information on the whole range of new products from Roland visit the launch site here.

All of Roland's new products will be available to view at the Winter NAMM show at Level 3 302A main stand.

Tags: Roland , keyboard , new products , digital pianos , NAMM 2013

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