EXTENDED KEYBOARD RIGS
Taking the next step and introduce some serious sonic power
There comes a time in every musician’s career when they need to update their setup. This could be simply to replace older, worn out gear, or it could be that you need fresh sounds, better quality sounds or more comprehensive production options. Technology continues to drive many aspects of the music industry, and this includes production and live performance.
If you’re a musician who supplements your ‘day job’ by taking gigs, you will need different things from your instrument, and making the wrong choice could deprive you of future income through lost gigs. Reliability, for example, becomes much more important, as you don’t need your keyboard to go down in the middle of the set. The ability to blend into a band mix and sound good through a variety of PA systems are also key, as are logically laid out controls letting you concentrate on playing, not desperately searching for that elusive lead patch before the next song begins.
Back in the studio, the stakes are just as high, with a huge premium placed on getting a fresh sound. Sounding like nobody else plays a major part in getting attention and building an audience, and you could start something big. And of course, modern gear needs to play nicely with just about every format; it’s no good having thousands of studio-grade sounds at your fingertips if you can’t record them into your DAW of choice. Or you could go old-school with the focused approach of a dedicated workstation that doesn’t need to be hooked up to a computer. Many players love the simple approach – get the song working on just piano, and you’re half way there.
EXTENDED RIG #3
FA-06 WORKSTATION WITH JUNO DS-88
Studio-class power that can also be gigged
This rig is the perfect bridge between studio-based work and live performance. The FA-06 is a great keyboard to place at the heart of the studio, with many controllers including 16 phrase trigger pads. You also have the mic input and weighted action 88-note keyboard of the JUNO-DS88 - great for the studio but also good enough – and light enough – to gig with. When you’re not gigging, you can chain these two powerhouse synths together, giving more than enough audio power for even the most complicated productions – and all with no latency issues and with studio quality sounds and effects.
WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS COMBINED RIG?
- Enormous sound palette (over 3000 sounds)
- 88-key weighted-action key action (JUNO-DS88)
- 256-voice total polyphony
- User sample import (both)
- Easy sample expansion (FA-06)
- 16-track sequencer (FA-06)
- Great quality but lightweight - easy to transport
- Audio/MIDI Interface with low latency drivers
FA-06 selected highlights
- Over 2,000 sounds from the flagship INTEGRA-7 sound module
- 16-track sequencer with non-stop loop recording
- Onboard sampler based on the SP-404SX, with 16 pads x 4 banks and direct recording/playback via SDHC cards
- Studio quality DSPs (16 independent MFX, six COMP+EQ for drums, TFX, global EQ, Chorus and Reverb
- Dedicated DAW mode
JUNO-DS88 selected highlights
- No compromise hardware quality – a Juno for serious musicians
- Weighted-action keyboard with lightweight design (Ivory Feel-G)
- 256 MB internal wave memory + 1 expansion slot
- User sample import
- Eight Phrase pads for triggering samples and audio songs
- Eight track pattern sequencer + Audio files triggering
- Mic input with Vocoder and Auto-Pitch
- USB audio/MIDI and DAW controller mode
ARTIST PROFILE: Berenice Scott
It all began at the age of seven, when Berenice Scott performed her first classical pieces on the piano and trumpet. Soon enough, though, she’d fallen for the pop hits of the era, and found her voice with her own self-penned material. Fast-forward to present day, and this London-based songwriter and session musician splits her diary between live work for stars like Heaven 17 and Tony Visconti, while finding time for projects like 2015’s acclaimed solo album Polarity. A capable guitarist and captivating vocalist, Berenice describes herself as having a “love affair with the piano”, and her latest passion is the new Roland JUNO DS-88 synth, which has become a cornerstone of both her home production setup and touring rig.
EXTENDED RIG #4
JD-Xi with JD-XA analog/digital crossover synths
An analog/digital crossover platform for creating seriously powerful sound
When it comes to synths for performance, power and stage presence the combination of JD-XA and JD-Xi is hard to beat. Based on Roland’s analog/digital crossover engine, both models offer genuine analog sound generation – mono for the JD-Xi and four-part for JD-XA – as well as powerful and versatile digital parts complete with DSP-based effects. The JD-XA is a sound designer’s dream, thanks to the generous array of knobs, sliders and controllers and with a powerful engine underneath the hood, you have the power and control to create your killer sound set.
WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS COMBINED RIG?
- 197-voice polyphony (1 analog + 128 digital, 4 analog + 64 digital)
- A keyboard rig that sounds like no other
- The warmth and power of analog, with the broad versatility of digital
- Super-programmable, encourages experimentation but simple to use
JD-Xi selected highlights
- Analog monophonic synth with real analog oscillator
- Digital synthesizer with 128 voice polyphony / SuperNATURAL technology)
- Easy to use step sequencer with backing tracks
- Onboard vocoder with gooseneck mic included
JD-XA selected highlights
- Analog polyphonic synth with real analog components (Oscillators/Filters/Amps)
- Digital synth with INTEGRA-7 SuperNATURAL synth part and powerful DSP sections
- 16-step Sequencer
- Onboard vocoder
- Audio/MIDI interface with low latency drivers and CV/Gate outputs
ARTIST PROFILE: Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran)
Few synth players have made a greater impact on British music than Nick Rhodes. As co-founder of new wave legends and national treasures Duran Duran, his classic lines powered early-’80s mega-hits like Rio, Girls On Film and Hungry Like The Wolf, while his trusty Roland Jupiter-4 and Jupiter-8 rode shotgun as the band took on the stadium circuit. Since then, Nick’s visionary approach to sound has helped Duran Duran to move with the times. Last year’s acclaimed 14th studio album Paper Gods featured some of his most ambitious synth parts to date, while the associated world tour saw him recreate them using the crossover analogue/digital sound engines of the Roland JD-XA. Wherever synth technology goes next, expect Nick Rhodes to be on the front line.
ARTIST PROFILE: Kola Bello (Ellie Goulding)
Sound engineer. Programmer. Musical director. Kola Bello has worn plenty of hats since he broke onto the British music scene at the tender age of 16, but it’s probably his talent as a keyboard player that takes top billing. Since 2013, Kola has worked with Gentleman’s Dub Club on the Big Smoke album, and toured with British DJ Naughty Boy, but things really went stratospheric when he joined pop superstar Ellie Goulding’s lineup to visit over 20 countries on the Delirium World Tour. As an open-minded modern synth player with a flair for sampling and triggering, it’s no surprise that Kola chooses the trailblazing Roland JD-Xi, JD-XA and RD-800 to recreate the epic tracks from Delirium on the stage. Look out for him in a stadium near you.