Roland Corporation: Wikis


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Roland Corporation
Type Public corporation
(TYO: 7944, Osaka)
Founded Japan Osaka, Japan (April 18, 1972)
Headquarters Japan Hamamatsu, Japan
Key people Ikutaro Kakehashi
Industry Electronics
Products Musical instruments, Audio/Video, Electronics, Computer-related products
Employees 2,233, as of March 31, 2005

Roland Corporation (ローランド株式会社 Rōrando Kabushiki Kaisha ?) TYO: 7944 is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. It was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka on April 18, 1972, with ¥33 million in capital. In 2005 Roland's headquarters relocated to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. Today it has factories in Japan, the United States, Italy, and Taiwan. As of March 31, 2005, it employed 2,233 employees[1] up from 729 employees in 2003. It has existed in different forms since 1960, making it relatively old among still-operating manufacturers of musical electronics, and has survived changes in technology to become one of the most noteworthy and widely-used brands in electronic music and production today.


Origin of the Roland name

Roland was founded after Kakehashi cut ties with Ace Electronic Industries (a company he founded in 1960) and Hammond International. As with many Japanese startups of the period, the name Roland was selected for export purposes as Kakehashi was interested in a name that was easy to pronounce for his worldwide target markets. Legend has long circulated that he named his company after the French epic poem La Chanson de Roland. In actuality, the name Roland was found in a telephone directory. Kakehashi opted for it as he was satisfied with the simple two-syllable word and its soft consonants.


Roland markets products under a number of brand names, each of which are used on products geared toward a different niche.
- Roland brand is used on a wide range of products including synthesizers, digital pianos, electronic drum systems, dance/DJ gear, guitar synthesizers, amplifiers, and recording products.
- BOSS is a brand used for products geared toward guitar players and is used for guitar pedals, effects units, rhythm and accompaniment machines, and portable recording equipment.
- Edirol is a line of professional video-editing and -presentation systems, as well as portable digital audio recorders. Edirol also has Desktop Media (DTM) products, more production-oriented, and include computer audio interfaces, mixers, and speakers.
- RSS is a line of commercial audio products including the V-Mixing System.
- Rodgers was founded in 1958 as an organ company and survives today as a subsidiary of Roland, still manufacturing high-quality electric, electronic, and pipe organs.
- Cakewalk music software company is a long term partner to Roland. In Jan. 2008, Roland announced purchase of controlling interest in Cakewalk.
- Roland DG produces computerized plotters, vinyl cutters, and printers for the production of commercial signwork and point-of-sale materials.

At one point, Roland acquired the then-defunct Rhodes name, and released a number of digital keyboards bearing the Rhodes brand, but it no longer owns the name.

International Distributors

Roland Corp. operates a warehouse in Cromer, Sydney Australia, in which it employs approximately 30 people and makes around $2mil net profit a year.

Timeline of noteworthy products

  • 1972 - Roland TR-77/TR-55/TR-33: Roland's first products. TR-77 is known as an updated version of Ace Tone Rhythm Ace FR-7L.[2]
  • 1973 - Roland SH-1000: Japan's second or third commercial keyboard synthesizer.
  • 1973 - Roland RE-201: The renowned space echo machine, one of the most popular tape delay-based echo machines ever produced.
  • 1973 - Roland SH-3A: Monophonic synthesizer.
  • 1975 - Roland System-100: Roland's first attempt at a modular synthesizer.
  • 1975 - Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus Guitar Amplifier: A two channel, 120 watt amplifier equipped with two 12-inch (30 cm) speakers, built-in chorus and vibrato effects and a 3-band EQ per channel, renowned for its super-clean sound and durability, it has remained in production for over 30 years.
  • 1976 - Roland System-700: Roland's first professional-quality modular synthesizer.
  • 1976 - Roland DC-50 Digital Chorus: An analog chorus ensemble similar to Boss CE-1.[2] Some collectors assume that it was also supplied as OEM product, Multivox CB-50.[3]
  • 1977 - Roland MC-8 Microcomposer: A groundbreaking digital sequencer. Roland's first product to utilize a microprocessor.[4]
  • 1977 - Roland GR-500: Roland's first commercial guitar synthesizer.[5]
  • 1978 - Roland CR-78: An user-programmable drum machines.
  • 1978 - Roland Jupiter-4: Roland's first self-contained polyphonic synthesizer.
  • 1980 - Roland CR-8000
  • 1980 - Roland VK-1: Rolands first attempt to clone the Hammond B3
  • 1981 - Roland System-100M: Semiprofessional modular synthesizer, successor of System-100.
  • 1981 - Roland Jupiter-8: Roland claims this synthesizer put Roland in the forefront of professional synthesizers. A successful 8-voice programmable analog synthesizer after hugely successful Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 and Oberheim's products.
  • 1981 - Roland TR-808: One of the most popular programmable analog drum machines; its distinctive analog sounds, such as its cowbell sound and its kick drum, have become pop-music clichés, heard on countless recordings.
  • 1982 - Roland Juno-6: Roland's first synthesizer with digitally controlled oscillators. (Later released was the Juno-60, a similar model but with the addition of patch memory for storing sounds).
  • 1982 - Roland G505 - G202: The 3rd generation of Roland electric guitar synthesizer controllers, popularized by Eric Clapton, Dean Brown, Steve Hackett, Andy Powell, Adrian Belew, Mike Rutherford, Yannis Spathas, Jeff Baxter and Andy Summers. Both are faithlessly copied after a Fender Stratocaster guitar, featuring a 21-fret maple neck with rosewood or maple fingerboard and a matching headstock on certain models. Available with three single-coil pickups, 5-way switching and tremolo bridge or dual humbuckers with a 3-way toggle selector and hardtail bridge, equipped with a GK-1 synth pickup and a 24-pin cable socket. By 1984, these Strat-style guitars came with the matching GR-700 and PG-200 pedalboards, which also work as a regular guitar effector as well as a MIDI synthesizer bank.
  • 1982 - Roland TB-303: Defined the acid sound of house music. Note that TB-303 is not the origin of this type product. For example of precedence from others, Multivox Firstman SQ-01 was released in 1981.
  • 1983 - Roland JX-3P: First Roland synthesizer to support MIDI.
  • 1983 - Roland Jupiter-6: Second Roland synthesizer to support MIDI.
  • 1983 - Roland SH-101: Monophonic synthesizer designed to be worn hung around the neck with a strap, with an optional modulation attachment that protruded like the neck of a guitar.
  • 1984 - Roland MKS-80: Rack Mounted 8-voice analog synthesizer, commonly used with the MPG-80 programmer unit
  • 1984 - Roland TR-909: An extremely popular drum machine during the early 1990s, the sounds of which (particularly the kick drum and open hi-hat) are still essential components of modern electronic dance music. The first Roland drum machine to use digital sample playback combined with analog sound synthesis.
  • 1984 - Roland TR-707 and Roland TR-727: A pair of popular drum machines, the TR-727 was essentially the same as the TR-707, except it had Latin-style sounds. The TR-707 was used extensively in the early days of house music and is still used in non-Western pop music around the world. The TR-727 is still used extensively in polyrhythmic non-Western pop music.
  • 1984 - Roland Juno-106: A widely used synthesizer with digitally controlled oscillators. Same synth engine as the Roland Juno-60 but with the addition of MIDI and the ability to transmit button and slider information through SysEx. Still, no MIDI control of volume in real time.
  • 1985 - Roland Alpha Juno: Two analog polyphonic synthesizers, the Alpha Juno 1 (JU-1) and the Alpha Juno 2 (JU-2), notable for their 'Alpha Dial' that simplified the user interface.
  • 1986 - Roland JX-10: One of Roland's last true analog synths.
  • 1986 - Roland RD-1000: Roland's first digital piano to feature Roland SA Synthesis technology. One notable musician for this is Elton John from 1988–1994.
  • 1986 - Roland HS-80: Same as the Roland Alpha Juno 2 (JU-2), but with built-in speakers. Branded as "Synth Plus 80."[6][7]
  • 1986 - Roland S-10: Basic 12-bit sampler and keyboard combo. Sounds were stored on QuickDisks and it was capable of sampling up to 6 seconds of sound. It also had rudimentary analog filtering and ADSR.
  • 1986 - Roland MKS-100: Rack Mounted version of the Roland-S10 sampler.
  • 1987 - Roland D-50: One of the popular digital synthesizers in late 1980s; Roland's first all-digital synthesizer implementing its Linear Arithmetic synthesis (a form of sample-based synthesis combined with subtractive synthesis). The D-50's descendants include the D-5, D-10, D-110 (rack unit), and D-20 synthesizers.
  • 1987 - Roland MT-32: Also using Linear Arithmetic synthesis, it was supported by many PC games in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a high-quality music option until support shifted to General MIDI sound cards.
  • 1988 - Roland U-110: Roland's first "rompler", the U-110 was a rack module based on Roland's large sample library and contained good representations of acoustic instruments. Designed to compete with E-mu's Proteus line, the U-110's successor U-220 found its way into many professional studio racks of the day.
  • 1988 - Roland E-20: Roland's first entry into the auto-accompaniment keyboard market, going head to head with Yamaha and Casio. The E-20's descendants include the E-70, E-86, G-800, G-1000, G-70 and the current E-80.
  • 1989 - Roland Octapad: A set of visually distinctive electronic drum triggers.
  • 1989 - Roland W-30: A sampling workstation keyboard (DAW).
  • 1989 - Roland D-70: 76-key synth. Successor to the D-50.
  • 1990 - Roland HP-3700: Roland digital piano.
  • 1991 - Roland SC-55 Sound Canvas: The world's first General MIDI synthesizer.
  • 1991 - Roland JD-800 and Roland JD-990: Digital synthesizers with analog style knobs and switches.
  • 1992 - Roland DJ-70: A DJ sampling music workstation and synthesizer keyboard that featured the first scratch wheel pad.
  • 1993 - Roland JV-1000: Sort of a combination of the MC-50 II and the JV-80.
  • 1994 - Roland MS-1: 16 bit AD/DA conversion, First portable digital stereo phrase sampler, with R-DAC (Roland Digital Audio Coding).
  • 1994 - Roland S-760: 16 bits Digital sampler with resonant filters.
  • 1994 - Roland JV-1080: aka Super JV-1080, a 64-voice synthesizer module. Used on more recordings than any other module in history, the JV-1080 boasts a full range of acclaimed Roland sounds, as well as four expansion slots.
  • 1994 - Roland JV-90: 76-note expandable synthesizer.
  • 1995 - Roland XP-50: Roland's first music workstation that featured Roland's MRC-Pro sequencer.
  • 1995 - Roland VG-8: Roland's first Guitar/Amp modeler
  • 1996 - Roland DJ-70mkII: Successor to the DJ-70, with more powerful features, including a DJ sampling music workstation, which featured a scratch wheel pad. It is essentially an S-760 sampler with a keyboard.
  • 1996 - Roland MC-303 Roland's first non-keyboard drum machine, sample-based synthesizer, and sequencer combination bearing the now-generic term Groovebox. Featuring a full 8-track sequencer.
  • 1996 - Roland XP-80: 64-voice music workstation.
  • 1997 - Roland VK-7: Groundbreaking Hammond organ clone, which introduced the "Virtual ToneWheel" physical modeling technology.
  • 1997 - Roland JP-8000: Roland's first virtual analog style synthesizer. The technology used in this model was conventional digital synthesizer technology like a JD-800, which lacked enough analog modeling.
  • 1997 - Roland V-Drums: Digital drums incorporating silent mesh drum heads that realistically reproduce both the natural feel and sound of acoustic drums.
  • 1997 - Roland JV-2080: 64-voice, 3-effects-processor, 8-expansion-slot synthesizer module.
  • 1998 - Roland JP-8080: Rack-mountable version of the JP-8000, lacking a keyboard, but featuring 10-voice polyphony, where the JP-8000 had 8. The JP-8080 also has a vocoder and SmartMedia support.
  • 1998 - SP-808: Table-top sampler, multi-track recorder, and effects processor.
  • 1998 - Roland MC-505: Successor to the MC-303 with a more powerful synthesizer and sequencer.
  • 1998 - Roland JX-305: Similar to the MC-505, but with 61 keys.
  • 1999 - Roland MC-09: A Roland TB-303 emulator featuring an effects processor and a phrase sampler.
  • 2000 - Roland VG-88: Roland's 2nd Guitar/ Amp modeler
  • 2001 - Roland AX-7: Successor to the AX-1. A keytar noted for its aesthetics and design.
  • 2002 - Roland MC-909: Successor to the MC Groovebox series and also the flagship to all MC Groovebox series machines, featuring a full 16-track sequencer, SRX board upgrading, Built-in larger LCD Display Screen and built-in sampling. Supports 1 SRX Expansion card.
  • 2003 - Roland V-Synth: Elastic Audio Synthesizer
  • 2003 - Roland MV-8000: Production Station with 24-bit sampling capabilities. Designed to rival Akai's legendary MPC series, specifically, the MPC-4000.
  • 2004 - Roland Fantom-X: Music workstation and professional synthesizer expandable to 1 gigabyte of sounds.
  • 2004 - Roland Juno-D: Popular entry-level synthesizer.
  • 2004 - Roland V-Accordion FR-7: World's first completely digital accordion.
  • 2005 - Roland Micro Cube: Roland's first portable amplifier. Allowed for AC adapter or battery use. Seven input effects, delay, and reverb options.
  • 2005 - Roland Fantom-Xa: Entry-level Fantom-X. The A stands for access.
  • 2006 - Roland MC-808: The latest MC-series, featuring a full 16-track sequencer and 512 MB more memory, and double the polyphony of the MC-909. First MC Groovebox series with motorized faders and built-in sampling, no Velocity sensitive pads, no SRX board as an add-on as seen on MC-909.
  • 2006 - Roland SH-201: Roland's first affordable analog modeling synthesizer.
  • 2006 - Roland Juno-G: Entry-level workstation based on the Fantom-X.
  • 2007 - Roland MV-8800: Successor to the MV-8000. Production station with 24-bit sampling capabilities. Has new built-in color LCD display.
  • 2007 - Roland V-Synth GT: An updated V-Synth.
  • 2007 - Roland VG-99: Roland's third Dual channel Virtual Guitar bodies, Pickups, Amplifier and effects modeler.
  • 2008 - Roland RD-300/700GX: A new series of digital pianos for performers on stage.
  • 2008 - Roland Fantom-G: Music workstation with onboard graphical MIDI sequencer.
  • 2008 - Roland GW-8: Workstation with "intelligent backing-track functionality".
  • 2009 - Roland V-Piano: Digital piano generating sound by modeling technology (most other digital pianos use sampling).
  • 2009 - Roland FR-7x/FR-7xb: Accordion with the versatility of a modern digital musical instrument.
  • 2009 - Roland SP-404SX: Performance sampler.
  • 2009 - Roland BA-330: Portable PA system.
  • 2009 - Roland Juno-Di: Lightweight, battery-powered synthesizer.

See also


  1. ^ Roland Corporate Data
  2. ^ a b Sound On Sound Magazine - The History of Roland (PartI)
  3. ^ MATRIXSYNTH: Multivox CB-50
  4. ^ Synclavier Early History - In 1975, New Englang Digital released "ABLE computer" which utilized Data General's microprocessor. It was developed to control "Dartmouth Digital Synthesizer" without expensive mainframe computer, and later these pair became Synclavier.
  5. ^ In truth, Roland was in a late-started group within the guitar synthesizer manufacturers.
    One of world first guitar synthesizer may be Innovex's "Condor GMS" released around 1970. (Note: Innovex was a joint venture company of Hammond and Ovation) [1][2]
    After then, before 1977, Ludwig Phase II (1971) [3][4], EMS Synthi Hi-Fli (formerly Sound Freak (1973)) [5][6], 360 systems slavedriver and spectre guitar synthesizer [7][8] had been released. And also in 1977, Ampeg & Hagström Swede Patch 2000 [9], ARP Avatar [10][11][12] had been released.
    However, Roland persistently continued development after other makers left from market [13], and in late 1980s, its GK interface became de facto standard of industry.
  6. ^ Harmony Central's Keyboard And MIDI Reviews for the Roland HS-80
  7. ^ HS-80 Synth

External links



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