Roland – Better Life with Music – NAMM 2012
January 2012, Anaheim, CA - President and CEO Kaz Tanaka of Roland Corp from Japan, kicked off their 40th anniversary product rollout at the Winter NAMM show. The company which has been dedicated to innovation since 1972, introduced the tag line a “Better Life with Music” at the event. The first announcement was that the company was well into recovery as a result of the earthquake in Q1 of 2011.
They introduced several new products and new retail plan. In retail, they were going to be adding “shop in shop” layouts in some of the larger locations to better emphasizes the extent of the product offering as well as the interoperability and compatibility of the brand as a full musical solution.
Their press conference started with the introduction of their flagship V-Piano grand and Jupiter 80 Pianos. These utilize the non-compressed modeled (vs sampled) synthesis engines in the V series of instruments. The units, on the same physical scale as a baby grand, represent a big advantage to home piano owners and club/theater owners as they do not require constant re-tuning and play the same in all weather conditions year round.
The next big announcement was accompanied by a demonstration and performance by the legendary Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. Roland has taken over the branding and distribution of the thier Midi controlled VG Stratocaster that was jointly developed with Fender. The device features both a 13 pin Midi interface and a traditional 1/4" jack, and uses the exclusive Roland divided pickup. This product the result of their work in guitar synth that started in 1977.
To go along with the piano and guitar announcements, they also showed the updated V-Drum & cymbals, the V-Accordion - which features both a USB and MIDI interface and a large number of mixers and recorders. One of the most unique products they brought out came to Roland through an acquisition and is being branded as R-Mix. This audio processing software creates full 24 bit “music minus one” tracks. That mean you can remove voice tracks from songs to create kaeoke tracks or remove instruments (on a harmonic basis) from songs to creating backing tracks for instruments play-alongs. The software was shown on PC platforms at the show and is available now.