The new Roland FA-06 Synthesizer is the next step in the evolution of the workstation. It is inspired by the machines of the past to create an instrument for the future. But where did the music “workstation” begin?
Contributed by Christian Moraga for the Roland Australia Blog
The dawn of the digital age saw advances in microprocessors and disk space. This allowed for the combination of both a sequencer and synthesizer. Other popular technologies of the time, such as samplers and digital synthesis, were also adapted to the workstation. As a result, it is now one of the most powerful, all-in-one instruments available for both composing and recording.
The earliest users of the workstation demanded that the instrument have each of these features readily accessible, As well as the ability to record and export the final track. However, with so many features onboard (sounds, sequencer, effects, sampler etc.), they had become notoriously difficult to navigate. Even the introduction of an onboard screen did little to help people find their way around the complicated menu systems.
With personal computers becoming increasingly powerful, composing and recording began to move “inside-the-box”. The Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) had fast become the choice for many musicians. This provides an easier solution in forming their early song ideas, and the popularity of the stand-alone workstation began to wane.
Fast forward to 2014; musical styles and genres have evolved and technologies have become easier to use. There has been demand for an all-in-one workstation. An instrument that can be used everywhere from live performance to song development to studio production. It needed to have a fast workflow, intuitive real time controls and total DAW integration – the ideal platform to create new music.
Enter the new Roland FA-06: A highly-evolved redesign of the workstation, the ultimate all-in-one keyboard.
THE FA-06 CONTAINS STATE-OF-THE-ART SOUNDS THAT ARE JUST ONLY ONE CLICK AWAY…
The Roland FA-06 workstation has come a long way since the first FANTOM workstation. This in not just in power, but in the quality of sounds. Roland has been perfecting its sound engine for decades and the FA-06 gets the best of the best! Over 2000 tones have been taken from the flagship INTEGRA-7 synthesizer module. This includes the ultra-realistic SuperNATURAL tones and PCM tones for those classic Roland synthesizers.
But it’s not just about the sounds – it’s how you use them! You have the option to play the tones as SINGLE, DUAL, SPLIT or create a STUDIO SET to have a full palette of 16 tones readily available. No menu-diving or confusing combinations of buttons to access these tones. All instruments have been grouped together for easy access – a far cry from the workstations of the past.
You also have a choice of 67 on-board effects, vocoder and Total Effects (TFX) over the master outputs at your disposal. These effects have been refined over the years to add dimension and depth. The result is a wide array of sounds from superior acoustic tones to other-worldly sounds that are sure to inspire. This next-generation synth is all about workflow to leave you to do the playing!
WHEN YOU’RE PERFORMING ON STAGE, IT’S ALL ABOUT FEEL…
Ask any player and they’ll tell you that an instrument is all about feel. A great performance comes with confidence in your instrument – freeing you to be creative on stage and in the studio. The Roland FA series has been designed with this in mind with the FA-06 featuring a semi-weighted 61-key synth action keyboard. For the true professional, the FA-08 features an 88-key Ivory Feel-G keyboard. This means, that no matter what level of player you are, you will have a fast, high-resolution response not typically found on a portable workstation.
But it’s not just the keys that must feel right. All of the knobs, pads, buttons and dials have been implemented with performance in mind. Each one sturdy under your fingers and within easy reach. Six SOUND MODIFY knobs control 24 parameters, placing every feature just a push, spin or click away. This allows you to ‘stay in the moment’ when creating something special.
Herein lies the new Roland FA-06 workstation philosophy: Regardless of how times and technologies may change; the FA-06 workstation must deliver maximum support for creating new music, with creativity as the top priority.
FROM CENTRE STAGE TO THE CENTREPIECE OF YOUR STUDIO
When songwriting, musicians want to have the freedom to explore and quickly develop every idea that comes our way. Capturing that moment of creativity and getting that strike of inspiration is why we seek the best from our musical instruments.
One of the most powerful features of the Roland FA-06 workstation is the 16-track SEQUENCER. It offers fast access to your choice of sixteen instruments among the thousands contained. Combined with the non-stop loop recording and the REHEARSAL feature, it takes songwriting on a workstation to an entirely new level!
Start with the drums.
Then the rhythm chords.
How about some bass?
Then the melody… you get the idea!
Integrating external audio for songwriting inspiration is also very easy with the 16-pad sampler. This is based on the very popular Roland SP-404SX. You can either import WAV, AIFF or MP3 files via SD card or directly connect a guitar/mic/line instrument via the jacks on the back of the keyboard and edit the sample on-board. Gone are the days of frustrating splicing and editing interfaces or mouse-clicking. The Roland FA-06 taking the “work” out of the music workstation.
Your work-in-progress can be saved as a SONG within the FA-06, or export it via the keyboard’s outstanding DAW integration tools. Now you are ready to begin production of your new song without skipping a beat!
THE BRAIN OF YOUR STUDIO WITH ‘DAW CONTROL’
The final piece to the workstation puzzle is for it to effortlessly integrate with your current DAW and hardware setup. The FA series has evolved to become the “brain” of your studio with DAW CONTROL. Connect the FA-06 workstation to your computer via USB and it can now act as a MIDI controller, sound module, control surface, pad controller, audio/USB interface and more.
Take your workstation sounds, sampler sounds and your external instruments (via the rear-panel jacks) and create a multi-track mix – recorded in real-time! We have left behind the production workflow of the past and redesigned this workstation for the future.
The Roland FA-06 Workstation is the ultimate all-in-one keyboard. It has a real focus on stream-lined workflow to keep you inspired. it allows you to take ideas from concept to song, importing it to your DAW for production to a full track then exporting it back into your workstation for live use.
The upcoming article series will dig deep into the features of the FA-06 workstation. We will look at the vast collection of sounds and effects, how the FA-06 makes performance a breeze, using the workstation as a source of songwriting inspiration and integrating the FA-06 workstation to your DAW for a super simple studio workflow.
Taking the “Work” Out of the Music Workstation.
Taking the “Work” Out of the Music Workstation.