Mini Key Wars - Roland Boutique


They still don’t really “get it”. Perhaps they’ve seen what Korg are doing and though small and cheap is the way forward as these won’t be used by “real” keyboard players.


Yeah I know, but I can still lament.


I am still trying to figure where these fit on the market.

Limited polyphony, more expensive than the cheaper Volca range.

Really compact like the volca almost, with minute controls.

Somewhat like a response to Yamaha Reface, but those have at least 8 note poly.


Seems like they’re just testing the waters.


If they are following Korg, they must be following the MS2000 due to the four voice limit. :wink:
If they port these to system1/2/whatever plugouts with the rest of the AIRA range, I will forgive the poly limit.

The one thing I wish they would have changed are the presets. They are still as “bad” as the original units. Yes, there are some I like, but a lot of them don’t seem like the kinds of presets that would “inspire” their target demographic.

From the other demos I heard, they sound pretty accurate. The weird chorus I heard in the audio demo was just the extra delay which I didn’t know all three units had. The regular Juno chorus does sound spot on.


So, they even modelled the noise im the Juno chorus? :wink:


^Good point. Now that you mention it, I don’t think they did, haha.


Still, I can’t get over their polyphony fuckup. I would have paid 50% more or even twice what they announced for that JP-08 if only they had doubled the number of voices. Now I’ll probably end up not getting one at all… :frowning:


Agree, voice limit is a serious let-down for these.

On the System-1, it was ok since it is an all new synth.

On these, which pride themselves on reproducing vintage classics, it is not cool. And buying 2 to chain them and having duplicate controls is not cool either for the price.


Yeah, I’m a bit soured overall too. One of the reasons for not having the polys on the AIRA range was that they could only do 4 voices. Well, they are still only doing 4 voices. :confused:

However, with these the real issue is the tiny sliders. Just because they look fun to tweak doesn’t mean that they will be. When you are hunting for that sweetspot, it will really show.

However, it is great to hear that ACB can still deliver the “vintage” sound. Now if they can make a real ACB modular…


I don’t understand why you’re complaining so much about the polyphony here. It’s just as good as the Casio SK-1, so I’d be happy with it.


It’s 2015? :slight_smile: and we still can’t make a 32 note poly analogue synth?


Even if we could make a synth with 32 voices, it will only be monotimbral.


@rumpelfilter Among other things, all of the three original instruments they’re re-issuing here were really good at laying down some really nice string or pad chord progressions.

When you play a chord progression, the number of voices matter. For example, with 4 voices, you can’t lay down a progression of 3-note chords where the release of the previous chord continues to sound when you trigger the next chord; you’ll get one note where the release continues to sound and two notes that get cut off.

I’m not saying a 4-voice poly is somehow inherently wrong, or that a 4-voice synth can’t be a useful instrument, but if you present something as an authentic emulation of the original it seems to make sense to also get the number of voices right.

And yeah, I can get two of them and poly-chain. As I said, I don’t even mind paying double to get the correct number of voices, but I do mind having an additional box that’ll just take up space while the extra hardware for sound generation could have been inside a single unit.


They are very cute though…


@t2k: of course I was joking! if you ever used an SK-1 you’ll know what I was hinting at :slight_smile:


IMHO the SK-1 is really cool for what it does do. :slight_smile:


Yes totally! And it’s totally honest about what it does and what it does not.
I think the problem with these new Rolands is not the features of the synths per se, but how the instrument is communicated… the marketing context so to say.
First of all, if for example you write JU-06 on a synth, make it look like a JUNO-106 and then even tell people that it’s a recreation of that legendary instrument, well, you raise quite a bunch of expectations. You put yourself in the position of being judged quite harshly, and rightly so. I think people’s reactions would have been a lot different if this association hadn’t been there.
On the other hand of course they are working heavily with image transfer and aura-effect here, which makes sense from a marketing point of view (it’s still debatable if marketing itself makes sense, but that’s another topic)… but then you also need to keep the promises and deliver a bit more. So far it seems Yamaha did a little bit better with their Reface series, despite all the limitations and downsides.

Actually speaking of it… now it’s time to make an SK-100, Casio!
You know, small, mini-keys (maybe the type that doesn’t fall off), built in speaker, live sampling and sample mangling… could be a nice mini-keyboard that actually makes sense, and was a mini-keyboard even before it’s remake.


The weird thing about these that in terms of sound and controls, they actually do seem to be delivering.


I love the sound of the JP-08. To bad it’s also the one with the really tiny controls and is the most expensive.
I’ve sold my Juno-106 and hearing again this i don’t miss it.