Roland will turn 50 years old in 2022 and to celebrate they’ve launched a new website, covering the development and emergence of some of their most influential hardware of the past five decades. The new site covers the 70s through to 2020s, with equipment like one of the first preset synths, the SH-1000, the iconic RE-20 Space Echo and the gigantic System 700 modular, which still fetches crazy prices second hand. Roland’s first polysynth, the Jupiter-4, also gets a shout out, while the ’80s say iconic kit like the TR-808, Jupiter-8 polysynth and the king of acid, TB-303.
Roland has announced two new hardware synths as part of their Boutique series – the JX-08 and the JD-08. Modelled on the JX-8P and the JD-800 respectively, the new boutiques are mini versions of two classic synths from Roland’s back catalogue. The JX-8P was a late ’80s classic that was known for its shimmering chords and raw bass arps. The original was a digital beast, meaning it was hard to program and didn’t have many instant-access controls on top of the unit.
Roland’s infamous SP-404 sampler has been given its first major update since the original release back in 2005. The unit is famous for making lo-fi beats and has been the go-to sampler for the likes of Flying Lotus, James Blake and many more.
Roland’s popular SP-404 sampler has been a go-to for electronic music producers, especially those making lo-fi beats, since 2005. Leaked details of a MkII version appeared last week on Reddit – according to MusicTech – bringing with them rumours of a ‘cassette simulator’, velocity-sensitive pads, 32 voices of polyphony, an OLED screen and “upgrades under the hood” to improve boot-up times and load times.
Roland has launched a new apparel series including a 909 bomber jacket to celebrate 909 day – Sept 9th. The new accessories include hats, t-shirts, hoodies, hats and specially designed headphones in collaboration with V-MODA.
All items feature the classic 909 colour scheme of orange, grey and black – sporting a retro vibe, just like the previous apparel release around their equally legendary 808.
Two iconic drum machines have been added to Roland’s Cloud synth subscription service. The 727 and the 707 aren’t quite as famous as the other instruments in the TR range, namely the 808 and 909, as they used PCM samples exclusively, and didn’t feature any synthesized sounds. Given the restrictions of PCM sampling at the time, they are comparatively thinner, but have their own distinct character that saw them used in early Madonna records as well as tracks by Luke Vibert and Aphex Twin.
Roland has launched a limited edition run of merch to mark this year's 808 Day, which took place on August 8th.
Among the items for sale in honour of the iconic TR-808 drum machine are 88 bomber jackets (pictured above), which are priced at $808 each. Each jacket is numbered.
There are also 808-emblazoned T-shirts, hoodies and wireless over-ear headphones, available in both black and white.
Three music brands and two retailers have been fined a total of €21m for price-fixing and colluding over minimum pricing from 2014 to 2018. As reported by Music Tech, a German Federal Cartel Office statement read that Yamaha, Roland and Fender would “contact Thomann and Music Store and ask these retailers to adjust their sales prices, which they also did in many cases.” The practice is illegal under EU consumer law.
Roland has introduced a new mixer for livestreaming, recording podcasts, music videos and more – the GO:MIXER PRO-X. The original GO:MIXER was a popular choice for DJs and musicians throughout 2020 who wanted to live stream their sets and performances as it connects straight to your iOS and Android device.
The PRO-X offers expanded support for Android devices, as well as a guitar and bass pad switch and the ability to use headset and in-ear mics like Airpods as an input.