Roland reinvents its cloud service with the new ZENOLOGY Synthesizer environment, new subscription plans and finally lifetime keys for plugins
The Roland Cloud has not the perfect reputation from the first minutes: rent plugins, no possibility to buy permanent licenses and CPU hungry. The business model, as we know already from Adobe and others, polarize many people: many like it others hate. That Roland quickly throws ideas over board and brings them out is nothing new (System-1, System-8, Aira Modular).
This has now also happened to the Roland Cloud. They somehow reinvented the system which is still based on the polarizing rental system, but plugins are now also available for purchase. The biggest change is the arrival of ZENOLOGY, a powerful Synthesizer plugin based on the Zen Core engine that can be found in the Roland Fantom and Jupiter X/XM.
Roland ZENOLOGY Synthesizer
With the ZENOLOGY, Roland brings its Zen-Core Engine into every DAW and makes it possible to share sounds seamlessly with compatible hardware instruments. A concept that we already know from plug-out times, but here deeper and more mature. Roland describes it in these words
ZENOLOGY is an expandable plug-in version of the ZEN-Core Synthesis System. ZEN-Core is based on discrete synth voices—each containing a flexible oscillator, filter, amplifier, dual step-LFOs, and lush effects. It mixes multiple synthesis types, combining vintage Roland oscillators and filters with PCM waves capable of PCM-SYNC and cross-modulation. Layer up to four voices in a single tone for rich, complex sounds, both classic and modern.
It is not yet clear how Roland plans this with the Zen-Core system. I can imagine that Zenology Pro will become a kind of modular Synthesizer in which various components can be combined, such as an oscillator from SH-101, filters from Jupiter 8, and chorus from Juno 106. That would be very interesting and would make new vintage & modern sounds possible. So basically, in addition to its well-known plugins, Roland would also offer individual components (oscillator, filter…) to the user.
New Subscription Plans
ZENOLOGY is part of the Roland Cloud subscription system, which includes all vintage Synthesizer emulations released to date. However, the subscription plans have changed again. You can now choose between Free, Lite, Pro, and Ultimate. The content in each new plugin is different. It’s nice to see that they are offering now a free version in which you can already a taste of the Zen Core engine. It features ZENOLOGY Lite synth featuring 176 tones and six drum drum kits. To be honest, this is was necessary to pull people more into their ecosystem.
All paid membership levels start with a free 30-day trial of Ultimate, later you can choose between
- Core: (USD $29.99/year or $2.99/month) Explore ZENOLOGY and ZEN-Core Sound Packs and purchase Lifetime Keys. Includes the ZENOLOGY Software Synthesizer featuring over 3,000 tones and access to all ZEN-Core Sound Packs for software.
- Pro: (USD $99/year or $9.99/month) Unlimited access to the TR-808 and D-50, ZENOLOGY Pro (full-edit version available fall 2020), with access to all ZEN-Core Sound Packs and Wave and Model Expansions for software, plus Anthology, TERA, FLAVR, Drum Studio, and all software patches and patterns.
- Ultimate: (USD $199/year or $19.99/month) Unlimited access to all software instruments and sounds. Includes ZENOLOGY Pro (full-edit version available fall 2020), all ZEN-Core Sound Packs, all Wave and Model Expansions, all Legendary and SRX collections, Anthology, TERA, FLAVR, Drum Studio, and all software patches and patterns.
And yes, you can now purchase the plugins very classic without a subscription, finally thanks Roland.
At first glance, the whole package looks more interesting, also because you can now buy plugins again. I’m also very curious about how the Zenology Pro and the engine continue to evolve. However, I am always careful with Roland and new products. You know how quickly they throw ideas back and not support products anymore aka Aira Modular, System-1, System-8, etc. Interest yes, but with caution
More information here: Roland Cloud