ROLAND EXPERT, LEON FRIERY, SHOWS US HOW EASY IT IS TO MAKE MUSIC AT HOME WITH THESE ROLAND HOME MUSIC SOLUTIONS FEATURING ROLAND BOUTIQUE SYNTHS & MORE.
If you're a producer looking for some home music solutions, Roland product specialist Leon Friery from PMT Leeds has got you covered. This list features some really easy to use and portable synths and music-making production tools for the restless producers and music makers out there. We’re all at home, most of us working, and we all still want to be making music. One of our in-store(home) Roland specialists, Leon, has put together this guide on how to avoid more screen time whilst still making music! It’s never been more important for so many people to have a creative outlet they can rely on to pass time whilst being at home. Having spent 9-5 staring at a screen, the last thing I want to do is spend the evening on my laptop… So how can a producer avoid getting square eyes?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EASIEST ROLAND HOME MUSIC SOLUTIONS?
Before using a DAW was mainstream, lots of producers used hardware to create music. In fact, loads of classic bangers have been made on hardware. From Kanye to Mark Ronson to James Blake, lots of producers rely heavily on hardware when making music. Fortunately for me, Roland has been at the forefront of developing reliable and inspirational hardware, so as a Roland Product Specialist I’m going to talk you through what Roland has to offer today when it comes to home music solutions.
The Roland MC-101 Groovebox is a portable, 4 track sequencer and sampler with an on-board synth engine. You can sequence Roland’s classic drum sounds, manipulate samples, trigger external midi devices and play the vast internal library of Roland’s Zen Core synth engine all at the same time. This is perfect for sitting in the garden or maybe taking on your daily walk. The MC101 runs of batteries and fits in the palm of your hand, there are no limitations to where it can be used. The small size does mean there is a limit of 4 tracks, so you probably won’t be closing Ibiza with one of these. It is however, a great way to capture and inspire ideas, without having to go near a laptop.
Inside info – The base synth engine in this is the same as in the +£3000 Fantom 8. They even share over 3000 presets. If you run a controller like the A49 into the midi in, you have a very powerful synth.
ROLAND MC-707 GROOVEBOX
The Roland MC-707 Groovebox is the big brother to the MC101. The added benefits are 8 tracks instead of 4, more in-depth editability of both audio and synth sounds, direct sampling and much more. This all in 1 unit allows you to create polished tracks, ready to export or be performed live. Another unique feature is the ability to do unquantized sequencing, something hip-hop makers can’t find in many other sequencers. A feature I like is the “NOTE” mode for 16 pads, that transforms them into a keyboard. It makes for a really simple way to play in chords, melodies and basslines without having to individually transpose steps on a sequencer.
Inside info – The new update allows you to set 4 tracks as external audio insets. This means you can use ½ of the MC-707 as a mixer with loads of inbuilt effects for a hybrid set up.
The Roland TR-8S Rhythm Performer has cemented itself in the league of legendary sequencers since its release 2 years ago. This 11 track sequencer is packed full of classic Roland drum kits; 808, 909, 707 and all the rest! This is not just a drum machine though. There’s a library of samples and you can use the TR-8S melodically by transposing different steps. You also have the ability to upload user samples. The Roland TR8S is a fantastic live or studio tool and my favourite thing about this is how easy it is to use. Within the first 10 minutes of using it, you can have a track that sounds as good as anything you could normally spend a week making with other software and hardware packs.
Inside Info – You can use this to sidechain external audio. You can also select an individual track specifically for this purpose. This makes it a great pairing for any synth or sampler and can really push a live rig to the next level.
Having considered drums and samples, what about synths?! It wouldn’t be right to talk about Roland hardware without mentioning at least one synth. The Roland SE-02 is a massively powerful, 3 oscillator, analogue mono synth made in collaboration with Studio Electronics. It’s small and compact size makes it perfect for bedrooms and home music setups. The unique cross-modulation panel gives the SE-02 a character that you won't find elsewhere. Whilst you can create huge dirty wobbles and crunches, it's also really easy to get a very usable sound that will cut through the mix of any track. There are also 384 presets… Not bad for something that fits in your bag.
Inside Info – You can actually step record parameter changes in the sequencer to add movement to your tracks.
Remember, if you purchase any Roland equipment from PMT, you have access to 4 in-store Roland Product Specialists, based in Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester as part of the Roland Store focus. You can also book free in-store 1-2-1 sessions for a hands-on lesson in getting the most out of your Roland synths and various other Roland kit.