March 2011 Archives

Roland Organ & Stage Piano

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Roland hosted New Products Meeting 2011 inviting about 500  dealers, sales staff and press members on FEb. 8 in Tokyo.

The ATELIER Combo AT-350C attracted attention of the dealers for its broad application from stage to home. (photo right)

In addition to over 30 new products unveiled during the NAMM Show in January, Roland appealed media production business which links sound and image, live streaming in particular, as a prospective field in the coming years.

AT-350C ATELIER Combo ¥348,000
The latest addition to the Music Atelier in a sleek black chassis is designed with a new concept offering the instrument, legs, pedalboard and speakers as independent components. Though it's a professional model with two manuals, it comes compact in 25kgs weight, consequently suitable for live performance.

Virtual Tone Wheel sound generator has full-part harmonic bars for the two manuals and pedalboard to create advanced soundsl in combination of them. In addition to high quality orchestra sounds it provides 15 new voices including trumpet and flamenco guitar of their characteristic tonal color and subtle nuance produced by SuperNATURAl technology.

Manual Percussion function allows the player to perform percussion sounds on the lower manual. D-beam and other controls are also built-in so that the AT-350C is compatible with its sister models.

Rich optional accessories including KS-G8 collapsible legs, PK-7A 20-key and PK-25A 25-key pedalboards, damper pedal, amps, speaker and benches are available for various music scenes from home to stage and genre.

RD-300NX stage piano
Featuring SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine like RD 700NX upper model stage piano, the new cost-efficient model in compact light-weight structure can be a good companion to studio and touring musicians.

Acoustic piano voices include CONCERT much favored by its rich resonance of grand piano, and two types of electric piano. New Ivory Feel G keyboard action with escapement provides improved repeated notes and delicate expression and intonation.

Sound Focus function allows the player to carry over the sound of band, and it also features 3-band equalizer, multi-band compressor, reverb, chorus and multi effects.

The redesigned chassis comes much compact and it weighs only 17.5kgs. 

RPU-3 3-pedal unit is sold separately.

Further information is available from: 

Korg Synthesizer & Digital Pianos

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Korg staged new products presentation on Feb. 3 in Tokyo to introduce around  30 new models including KRONOS music workstation.

Kronos-88 ¥355,000
Kronos-73 ¥315,000
Kronos-61 ¥280,000
Nine greatest sound engines that Korg has developed in it's 50 years history are the heart of KRONOS new generation work station.

SGX-1 Premium Piano engine specially designed for the KRONOS provides increased expression capability and authentic warm sounds with meticulously sampled sounds of noise generated by damper pedal and resonance of grand piano cabinet.

EP-1 MDS Electric Piano engine offers 6 legendary electric piano voices, and CX-3 Tonewheel Organ engine provides modeling sound of CX-3 dating back to 1980. High fidelity PCM sounds are packed in HD-1 High Definition Synthesizer engine which supports high density silicone disk.

MS-20EX Legacy Analog Collection, re-designed virtual sound engine of MS-20 unveiled in 1978, comes with expanded patch panel functions and flexibility inherited from MS-50 advanced model.

Polysix EX Legacy Analog Collection engine provides popular string and pad sounds of Polysix 6-voice polyphonic synthesizer introduced in 1981. AL-1 Analog Synthesizer engine has analog modeling featured in OASYS in 2005 to create futuristic sounds.

MOD-7 Waveshaping VPM Synthesizer engine provides module type synth sounds combining VPM (Variable Phase Modulation) algorithm synthesis sounds and rich parameters for efficient patch control.

The 9th engine is STR-1 Plucked String which offers physical modeling plucked and tapped string sounds.

To take maximum advantage of these 9 sound engines, the KRONOS provides artist signature sounds produced with total support from greatest keyboard players and drumers including Jordan Rudess, Harbie Hancock, George Duke, Tom Coster and Ricky Lawson.

The KRONOS synthesizers serve as a reliable standalone music workstation with superior real time control capability featuring KARMA (Kay Algorithmic Realtime Music Architecture)technology, drum tracks, sound sampling, audio recording and MIDi sequencing capabilities. Onboard large density SSD (Solid State Drive) has realized super long time sound sampling never existed before for hardware instrument.

Other features include 16 effects to be controlled simultaneously, Smooth Sound Transition function for seamless voicing when changing sounds or modes, and RH3 weighted key hammer action.

88-key, 73-key and 61-key models are available.

SP-170S digital piano
SP-170 selected by its simple design is reshaped with an easy-to-use control surface. Power switch and volume knob are laid out right above the keyboard easily accessible for entry level players.

It has a new Sound button to select voice, and a Piano Play button that allows the player to instantly return to piano 1 voice from other voice.

It features piano voices meticulously sampled from concert grand piano in variable key touch sensitivity levels, 10 voices including electric piano, harpsichord and organ, NH (Natural Weighted Hammer) action, and new speaker system that delivers remarkably spacious sound for its compact structure.

It comes either in black or white cabinet. Legs are sold separately.

LP-350BKR digital piano
A new model featuring a red keyboard lid joined the 2009 Good Design-awarded LP-350 in 27.7cm deep cabinet and flat top design compact piano in limited production of 250 units.

The soft fall keyboard lid in one-piece structure without hinges at the center well compliments with sophisticated interior. When closed it comes with red surface top, and a red music rack is shown when opened.

It features piano voices sampled from concert grand piano in two key touch sensitivity levels, and RH3 Real Weighted Hammer action.

Further information is available from:

Korg Effects Processor & USB-MIDI Controllers

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The latest model of the KAOSS PAD effects processor allows the serious and hobby users to play 4 effect voices simultaneously to create effective performances. Touch pad LEDs that synchronize with performance provides special visual effect.

Twenty onboard effects are provided of which 4 can be used at the same time. The user can select one effect for four effect modules of Looper, Mod, Filter, Delay/Rev. As a total, 1,295 effect modes are provided to be controlled on the top surface for exceptional sound production. The effects can be added or replaced flexibly with the touch pads to match rhythm in play.

Freeze button for each effect module holds effect sound even after finger left the touch pad.

New effect voices include Looper to control loop sounds in 3 patterns, Vinyl Break for simulating scratch and other turntable performances, and Ducking Comp which emphasizes expression by enhancing off beat.

Korg's exclusive BPM engine automatically detects BPM of playing back music. Even when it's hard to detect BPM, correct BPM can be captured simply by pressing TAP button in tempo of the music.

nanoKEY2 ¥5,900
nanoPAD2 ¥5,900
nanoKONTROL2 ¥5,900
Three nano Series 2 models with professional control capability and functions packed in a super slim chassis joined the USB-MIDI controller line.

The user can set up a simple and stylish music production system by plugging with computer and USB cable anywhere. They are available either in white or black finishes.

nanoKEY2 with 25 velocity-sensitive keys is suitable for music production featuring separated keybed for sure key entry.

nanoPAD2 provides 16 velocity-sensitive drum trigger pads and an X-Y pad.

 Designed to control DAW software, nanoKONTROL2 is compatible to a host of software programs. It offers 8-channel worth controls and rich transport buttons.

They support KORG KONTROL Editor software to be customized by the user.

They can be plugged with microKEY mini-size 37-key keyboard via USB cable as a second tool for music production.

Further information is available from:

Korg Percussion Synthesizer

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New model to the WAVEDRUM provides exotic Arabic percussion voices including Darbuka, Riq, Bendir, Daf, Sagat and Tar of their delicate tonal nuance in maximum fidelity.

In addition to 100 pre-programmed sound selections, it provides 50 Arabic percussion voices and their variation voices including user original voices which extend to 300 in total.

It comes in white exterior reminding of ceramic Darbuka accented with a dark wine red rim.

The purchasers can get an exclusive SC-WD soft case during special sales campaign from Feb. 26 through June 30.

Further information is available from:

ESP Electric Guitars

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SNAKEBYTE (James Hetfield ″METALLICA″ Model) ¥470,000
Initially introduced along with KH-2 SE Kirk Hammett Model during the NAMM Show in January, it's characterized for body shape that James was involved in designing himself based on MX-II, his years of favorite gear. Featuring mahogany body and set mahogany neck, 22 frets fingerboard with a characteristic snake inlay on the 12th fret, EMG 60 and EMG 81 pickups, Sperzel Trim-Lock tuners, TonePros bridges, it comes with a truss rod cover autographed by James and an original logo on the headstock.

Snow white or black finishes are available. A matched hard case is included.

  KH-2 SE (Kirk Hammett Model) ¥470,000
Designed after KH-2, it's finished in green burst. One hundred units will be built for world distribution.

It comes with a green ESP logo on the headstock and skull & bone inlays on the fingerboard finely coordinated with the body color, scalloped 17th and upper frets, alder body, 3-piece hard maple body-thru neck, 24 frets rosewood fingerboard, EMG60 and EMG 81 pickups, and Floyd Rose bridge. A matched hard case is standard.

Further information is available from:


LTD Electric Guitars

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SNAKEBYTE (James Hetfield ″METALLICA″ Model) ¥140,000
As with ESP models, it features an innovative mahogany body, set mahogany neck, 22 frets ebony fingerboard emphasized with a snake inlay on the 12th fret, EMG 60 and 81 pickups, Sperzel Trim-Lock tuners and TonePros bridge.

Headstock comes with an original logo and James' autograph is provided on the truss rod cover. It's finished either in snow white or black.

KH SE (Kirk Hammett ″METALLICA″ Model) ¥85,000
Four hundred units will be built for the world distribution, the KH-SE finished in green burst features basswood body, detachable hard maple neck, 24 frets rosewood fingerboard with green scull and bone inlays and a metal plate that comes with a model name etched on the 24th fret, an ESP LH-301 pickup, and Floyd Rose Special bridge. An original strap is included.

SLAYER-2011 (REIGN IN BLOOD 25th Anniversary Model) ¥120,000
It's a 25th anniversary model built in appreciation of 'Reign in Blood' released by SLAYER in 1986. 300 units are manufactured for world distribution.

It features alder body, hard maple bolt-on neck, 24 frets ebony fingerboard with a SLAYER logo inlay on the 12th fret, LTD logo on the headstock in the same lettering as the fingerboard, EMG85 and EMG 81 pickups, and Tune-O-Matic type string-thru-body bridge. An authentication card is included.

Further information is available from:

H. S. Anderson Electric Guitar

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HS-8 BS now comes with a new selection finished in vivid see-through green detailed with a white pearl-type pick guard and body binding. Five units are built.

It features two-piece ash body with framed maple top, 21 frets one-piece maple neck, 652mm scale, two Bill Lawrence L500 pickups and GOTOH hardware, and is sold at ¥182,000 suggested retail price.

Further information is available from:



Boss Phrase Recorders/Loopers

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RC-3/RC-30 Loop Stations
Roland has upgraded the Loop Stations in response to calls from users. The new additions are compact type RC-3 and twin-pedaled RC-30.

They feature greatly expanded internal memory to allow up to 3 hours of sound recording, storage capability of 99 stereo loop phrases, and rhythm guide function. Having stereo inputs, they allow the user to plug guitar and additional sound source for loop performance. An AUX input is also provided for direct connection with audio player.

USB connectivity provides backup function for recorded phrases and import/export of WAV files.

In addition to the functions of the RC-3, the RC-30 has 2 stereo tracks with independent faders for recording and loop playback. The onboard effects include BEND DOWN, STEP PHASER, SWEEP FILTER, TEMPO DELAY and Lo-Fi.

Advanced loop play by plugging with mic and drum is provided through XLR input. 

Demonstration by Kaichiro Kitamura using RC-30o. at the New Products Meeting 2011 for the dealers, sales staff and press members staged on Feb. 8 in Tokyo. (photo right)

Further information is available from:




Roland USB/MIDI Audio Interface

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Table-top type USB audio interface provides 24bit/96kHz professional tonal quality, greatly advanced functions, and 3 inputs for direct connection with condenser microphone and guitar.

Three recording modes are available. In MIC/GUITAR mode, it allows the user to record mic and guitar sounds separately. ALL INPUTS mode is capable of receiving and sending sounds of all input channels mixed, and LOOP BACK mode provides recording capability to any software by mixing sound source played back on computer with sounds of the TRI-CAPTURE. It's suitable as a mixer for live streaming.

A SONAR X1 LE latest DAW software is included to start music production right out of the box.

This most basic USB audio interface from Roland is bus-powered USB with two mini stereo mic/guitar inputs and two headphone outputs equipped with a slider volume for individual inputs and outputs.

Featuring greater than CD 24bit/48kHz quality sound, it has direct monitoring function to set up mobile recording environment connecting with PC.
It comes with latest SONAR X1 LE DAW software which provides sound production using plug-in synth voices and effects.

  UM-ONE USB MIDI Interface
Latest addition to the UM series MIDI interface offers connection with keyboard, digital piano and MIDI device. Employing Roland's exclusive FPT (Fast Processing Technology) system, it has realized low latency and reliable data transfer. Built-in LED provides efficient monitoring of MIDI signals.  

A cable clip is included for easy carry.

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Powered Speakers

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DSR112 ¥135,000 (photo from l. to r.)
DSR115 ¥145,000
DSR215 ¥165,000
DSR118W ¥120,000 
Designed for versatile applications and venues, they feature high-quality 48bit DSP, LF 850 watts and HF 450 watts (1,300 watts in total) Class D power amp (800 watts for the DSR118W), efficient switching-mode power supply that provides stable operation under harsh conditions, incomparably high resolution and sound pressure levels for the compact and light-weight structure.

New D-CONTOUR multi-band dynamics processor allows the user to select tonal color matched to any music genre. They have an improved protection circuit employing the technology used for TXn Series top power amplifier line.

A wide selection of three 2-way full-range bass reflection powered speakers and one powered subwoofer are available. They are equipped with a titanium diaphragm neodymium magnet compression driver, and the DSR112 and DSR115 feature a 3″ voice-coil neodymium magnet cone woofer.

They have a 90 degree by 60 degree CD wave guide horn to achieve improved constant directivity and tonal quality.

In addition to sturdy construction and greater portability exclusively designed for musicians and DJs, they feature a pole-mount socket and can be flown using its M10 suspension points.    
Further information is available from:

Tsutomu Katoh (1927-2011)

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Tsutomu Katoh, founder and chairman, Korg Inc. passed away of lung cancer on March 15. He was 84 years old.

Launched Keio Gijyutsu Kenkyusho (Keio Technical Laboratory), former body of Korg Inc. in 1962, he entered the music products industry with the revolutionary Donkamatic, Japan's first rhythm machine next year. The company introduced first synthesizer designed with its exclusive technology in 1970. In the ensuing years, Korg has grown to a leading brand in the music scene with myriad of innovative digital musical instruments and world-acclaimed tuners. Katoh's outstanding leadership and vision have led the company to a key player in the music products industry.

He commented about making music and music market in an interview in April issue of Japan Music Trades, "I feel music products industry is offering versatile instruments to broadly segmented markets. Users just select instruments matched to their requirements disregard of manufacturers' intensions. Whether on stage or in studio, musicians express their feelings with exceptional skill playing their favorite musical instruments. These days, however, home has become the place for music production for many of them. They don't play in front of fans, and it often happens that people evaluate their works with quality of arrangement. They appreciate music with only level of completion, not processes making music. It's the trend of this day. Personally, I feel we have come too far. So has music, may be. Our society is moving surprisingly fast."

Funeral services were arranged on March 23 and 24. 

Toshio Moridaira (1933 - 2011)

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Toshio Moridaira, founder, board chairman, Moridaira Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. passed away on Feb. 12 at the age of 77.

A native of Gunma Pref., he joined Yamano Music, one of the largest distributors in Japan after graduated from Tomioka Senior High School. He was principal in starting up music products division at Yamano, and then founded his own company Moridaira in 1965. Distribution of its Morris guitars began next year. He spearheded promotion of guitar organizing Morris Folk Concert to direct folk guitar boom in Japan during the '70s.

In the ensuing years, Moridaira expanded his distribution business adding name brands in Japan and world markets. His leadership much contributed in raising foundation for future growth of the Japanese music products industry.

Memorial services took place on 14 and 15 at Keishoden, Gokokuji Temple, Tokyo.