In less than 3 weeks, the NAMM show in Anaheim will be back and many are already wondering what companies like KORG or Roland are introducing this year. One thing is already certain, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to enthuse musicians with classic analogue monophonic Synthesizers as the market is already very saturated.
It’s pretty sure that Roland will shows something new this year. After Roland has dealt more with digital synths in the recent times as with analog, one can ask whether the next synth will be analog, digital or even both, hybrid.
Looking at Roland’s portfolio, you quickly come up with three options: analog (SE-02, System-500), digital (Boutique, SYSTEM-1, SYSTEM-8…) or hybrid with an analog and digital core (JD-XA,…).
After Roland released in the past the SYSTEM-500 and Boutique SE-02, again analog Synthesizers on the market, it may be possible that the Japanese company collaborate again with a smaller synth manufactory. A compact analog poly synth with a characterful Roland sound would fit well into the product setup. It just should not be too expensive.
A competition to the KORG Minilogue would certainly be interesting here. Three oscillators, multi-mode filter, a similar sequencer as the SE-02 and four to six voices of polyphony. Roland would certainly have the resources to build such a small strong Synthesizer.
In addition to analog, Roland has also proven in recent years how well they can develop digital Synthesizers. I can imagine that the Japanese company have developed a device in which one can switch between different engines again. A similar concept as the SYSTEM Synthesizer but this time more clever designed with a fixed engine. So that one has a Promars, SH-102, SH-02 etc. directly in the delivery without purchasing additional plug-out engines.
The SYSTEM concepts convinced me, but the developers trusted the wrong color at that time. If you had the same concept, extend and renewed with a new interface without green color and with a better key-bed than I can imagine that his can be a success.
Hybrid – Analog Meets Digital?
After we had analog and digital already, it can also be a hybrid Synthesizer, as we have already seen in the Roland JD-XA. Here I could imagine an analog sound generator and other digital sound extensions such as effects, modulations, etc. The JD-XA was a very interesting product because of his unique hybrid engine. The sound character is quite special and very versatile. Also exciting would be an a compact synth with a digital sound generator in combination with analog filters, distortion like the Waldorf Quantum or the Novation Peak.
Roland has not published any information about the new product yet but you can be curious about which direction to go.