Roland are highly regarded as the pioneer of modern electronic instruments. Whenever music technology makes a paradigm shift you can be sure Roland are at the forefront. Since our first store opening in 1991, Professional Music Technology has grown to become the largest stockist of Roland, Boss and AIRA in the UK.
Roland's Rich History
You could say the Roland name is synonymous with music technology nowadays, as there isn’t an avid guitarist, drummer or keyboard player that hasn’t heard of the Roland brand at some point in their lives. Whether it's drum machines, guitar effects or digital pianos the Japanese giant has a knack of being first to the punch or doing it best. Ironic then that two of their most iconic pieces of gear were first deemed a failure. The TR-303 bass synth and TR-808 drum machine didn't set the world alight on launch. What happened in the decades after was unprecedented, entire genres of electronic music owe their existence to these machines.
Established in Osaka in 1972, Roland has become the world leader in design, manufacture and distribution of musical instruments. From pianos, keyboard, and synths, to guitars products, electronic drum kits, amps and audio processing Roland continue to deliver innovative designs that shape the music industry.
Under the slogan “Inspire the Enjoyment of Creativity” Roland hopes to turn your imagination into reality through sound.
Roland Aira is a series of products with its very origins descending from electronic music. The Roland Aira series as designed to meet the ever-evolving needs of modern electronic musicians. In your home, in the studio or on the stage the Aira products are designed to bring genre-defining sounds to a modern audience. Innovative Aira products like the Aira TB-3, Aira VT-3 and the Aira TR-8 have changed the game for music producers and live performers, without the heavy price tag associated with vintage analogue synths.
With the Aira series, Roland have built on these foundations and provided functionality modern musos expect. Aira units work in combination with each other plus computers, MIDI keys rigs and modular synth setups with equal ease. If you fancy something more self-contained and a full set of keys, the Roland JD analogue synths are an excellent choice. Whilst modern day music production is dominated by computers, the Aira products such as the Aira System 8 seek to provide inspiration through characteristic looks and a responsive design based on traditional analogue software.
Beginning with the production of their first synthesiser; the Roland SH-1000 in 1973, Roland have continuously delivered a stunning range of innovative designs and function packed synths that allow you to shape your own individual sound. 1976 saw the introduction of the System-700 Modular Synth System, followed by the ever-popular JUPITER-8 polyphonic synth in 1981.
Always at the cutting edge of technology, Roland contributed markedly to the birth of MIDI in 1983, when they released the MSQ-700 Sequencer, the first MIDI sequencer in the world. They also created the Roland JX-3P Synth which was their first synth to feature MIDI support.
The world sensation of the Roland D-50 synth followed in 1987 prided on its stunning sound and ease of use.
Jump forward to 2004 and the birth of the Fantom-X Synth which was the world’s first workstation synth to include a colour LCD screen. Ten years later the Roland FA-08 Synthesiser was released delivering effortless real-time power, a super-fast workflow and maximum versatility.
Then in 2015 Roland produced their JD-Xi Synth an analogue/digital crossover synth perfectly blending the ease of use and connectivity of digital with the warmth and tone of analogue.
Today whether you’re a tradition piano player or a modern synth producer, Roland have a range of synthesisers to suit a wide range of needs.
For pianists of more traditional styles, Roland have a range of workstations, digital and stage pianos. Whether classical, rock or pop the SuperNatural engine delivers piano tones, electric pianos and organs.
Roland Synthesizers include everything you could want and need in a keyboard workstation including multi-track recording capability, revolutionary sound modules and Roland’s world-famous high-quality sounds.
Roland’s new Boutique synth range recreates three classic synths, at a fraction of the cost of the originals. You can enjoy the comprehensive capability of the Roland Boutique JP-08, or the affordable yet highly coveted Boutique JU-06 and JX-03 synthesizers.
Being big names on the synthesizer scene meant Roland couldn’t leave out the home piano and stage piano market. With Roland’s usual focus on creating absolutely superb instruments at affordable prices, the Roland digital pianos quickly became one of Roland’s top-selling flagship instruments. With a flair for sleek design and a passion for sound, Roland’s sound engineers have created an impressive range of digital electric grand pianos for both home and stage. Each Roland piano has its own particular sound and with different ranges of quality and affordability, there’s something for everyone.
Beginning with the release of the Roland EP-30 electronic piano in 1974, featuring a touch-sensitive keyboard the EP-30 was the world’s first electronic piano.
1986 then saw the world’s first digital piano based on digital synthesis in the form of the RD-1000 digital piano.
Roland then incorporated organs into their range with the release of their first series of electronic organs, the Music ATELIER AT-70/50 in 1994.
In 2010 the Roland HP307 Digital Piano hit the shelves, equipped with the revolutionary SuperNATURAL piano sound source designed to produce a rich and natural tone.
Continuing to develop and push the realms of innovation, Roland released the V-Grand Digital Piano, the flagship model of their digital piano range, offering superbly expressive power and the V-Piano sound engine.
No matter your skill level or budget, Roland have a piano sound for you. On the lower end of the spectrum, we have the Roland FP-30 Digital Piano, followed by the Roland F140R which are absolutely bargain pianos considering their top-notch performance.
On the higher end of the spectrum are the Roland LX series digital pianos. These are the pinnacle of immaculate tone and grand design. The series starts with the Roland LX7, moving up you have the Roland LX-15E and finally the current jewel of Roland’s crown the Roland LX17 Digital Piano. There’s something for everyone, so give PMT a call today to speak to a digital piano specialist.
Roland's Jazz Chorus amps launched back in the 70's but have remained in production ever since, solid-state tone done right. They recently expanded the range and launched a new high end modelling amp, the Roland Blues Cube. For affordable practice amps or something to go busking with the Roland Cube series come in all shapes and prices. The Roland Cube and Micro Cube series are great for on-the-go musicians who need portability but still require an amp with serious power and sound quality.
From the humble beginnings of the Roland TD-33, TR-55 and the TR-77 rhythm machines of 1972 to the iconic Roland TR-808 of the 80s, Roland offer a wide range of programmable rhythm machines that allow performers and producers to easily craft and create their music within a compact, easy to use interface.
Offering the ability to program an entire song in one convenient device, the Roland TR-808 had achieved legendary status around the world. Functionality that is still available today in the form of the newest version the Roland TR-8S 808 Rhythm Performer.
Any serious engineer will tell you just how important MIDI keyboards and DJ equipment are to their recording setup. They will also tell you how Roland are extremely innovative in this market, with state-of-the-art sound modules like the Integra-7. Roland are consistently on the cutting-edge of MIDI and keyboard technology, and they are always looking to further improve the quality and playability of every piece of equipment they create. Looking for an all-in-one MIDI keyboard? The Integra-7 gives musicians a goldmine of the latest SuperNatural sounds and behaviour modelling technology, with a fully stocked 16-part sound module (including V Drums, and flagship keyboards). The Roland SP-404SX is a versatile portable sampler filled with fun features for musicians, DJs and professional engineers. Or if you want something a bit simpler, the Roland FA-08 has made it extremely easy to create and record new sounds.
From the innovative RE-201 Space Echo first introduced in 1974, providing pioneering spatial effects, to the world’s first USB audio interface produced by Roland in 1998, Roland have always been at the forefront of recording technology design.
In 2006 the introduction of the Roland R-09 Portable Recorder created a new market for handheld recorders and location recording.
Not content with groundbreaking designs within the electronic percussion, synthesis and digital piano worlds, Roland have also created a range of effects for bass and guitar players.
In 1973 the MEG electronic corporation was established by Roland, which later became the effects pedal industry leader BOSS corporation.
Set up as a way to research and develop guitar and bass effects, this corporation created the JS Series Guitar Amps equipped with chorus effect in 1975, followed shortly after by the first ever Boss branded effects pedal the Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble (the forerunner to the current Boss CE-5 Chorus Pedal)
1995 then saw the introduction of the VG-8 Guitar System which was the world’s first modelling guitar system that allowed players to achieve a wide range of tones from one single guitar. The V-Bass System bass guitar equivalent followed in 2002.
As we’ve shown in this short synopsis of Roland’s history, it’s clear to see that this company have long been a staple of the music industry. Creating new and exciting products that are packed with innovative and revolutionary designs, Roland will no doubt continue to shape the world of music for years to come.
Get on board with this music revolution by grabbing your own slice of Roland at PMT Online today! Or head to your local PMT store to get your hands on these amazing products for yourself. Speak to our in-store experts about a demo and the best deals on all Roland products at PMT.