What Classic Electronic Music Gear Should Roland Bring Back?

roland-logoAt the 2013 NAMM Show, one of the biggest trends was that companies are looking to the past for inspiration and bringing classic gear of the past to new audiences.

The two most notable examples of this were probably the Buchla Electronic Music Instruments’ Electric Music Box – a recreation of a Don Buchla classic – and the Korg MS-20 Mini – a new version of their classic analog synthesizer.

Roland has their own treasure chest of vintage electronic music gear designs that they could mine, ranging from their vintage synths. to their classic analog and digital drum machines, to their unique bassline synths.

Do you think that Roland should revisit the past for inspiration? If so – what piece of classic Roland gear should they bring back?

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134 thoughts on “What Classic Electronic Music Gear Should Roland Bring Back?

    1. A new 909 would cost them pennnies to produce, but they’d sell millions – not because it has the “all-new supernatural spectromorping hyper-real drum sound engine”, but because it sounds familiar and is *fun* to work with.

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  1. A nice analog Jupiter-8 sounding performance synth, with no rom sounds at all anywhere near it! But with proper MIDI (dare I say OpenSoundControl!), and a good velocity sensitive after-touch enabled keyboard. mmmmmm.

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  2. Sh-7 – It has the kick and smoothness of the SH-101, but has many more options… For $1000 even it would beat out Minibrute and company….

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    1. I had an SH-3, SH-5 and the SH-7 and the 7 was my sonic fave. I had 2 System 100M’s and although fun, the sound was weak.

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  3. How about non of the above. Seriously, we are going to go back in time. We can’t evolve? Should Apple release the first iPhone? Is that better as well?

    I would love an analogue emulation synth with perhaps hybrid sim/real analogue filters. And give me a modern interface!!! Something akin to the Soundcraft Si1 mixer interface. That is what I want. Can we please dump the retro already?

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  4. i’m so tired of this “bringing back” old glory…
    it will be wonderful of corse to get all the best stuff back
    but i think we should ask for something TOTALLY NEW

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  5. We’re never going to see a Jupiter 8, it would cost around $20,000 today.

    So being realistic, and keeping in mind they’re not going to jump in at the deep end if they do this, they’ll do something similar to Korg, I think the SH-101 is the obvious synth for them to remake. But of all their past catalogue the thing that would sell the most of is a new TR-808.

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    1. Dear Friends at Roland,
      Please keep doing what you are doing. Everything is fine.
      Pay no mind to those whiners on the internet, saying they
      want real analog synthesizers or some nonsense. Fanboy
      losers with no cash to spend, all of them! Stay the course
      no matter what.
      Your Friends at the Korg Corporation

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    1. I look forward to seeing a new Jupiter-8, MemoryMoog and CS-80. People won’t stop clamoring for them until they are made, reviled for their imagined lacks and finally displaced because it wasn’t really that big a deal to begin with. I’ve played all three and I understand why so many are wild for them, but they also had their negatives. Having done that, I know the software versions and variations you find in workstations are respecting the originals with very good emulations. I don’t think people want analog circuitry as much as they want the thrill of the idea itself. You know what would quiet down the hollering? One tech’s tune-up bill for a CS-80. Yes, an analog Jupiter-8 sounds swell, until you consider that to stay in tune, it uses a temperature-control system that makes it a serious heat source in the winter. That seems needless now that I have a computer, a workstation that runs on 10 watts and software that can get me as close to a JP-8 as I’ll ever need to be. After all, stacking five instances of Arturia’s JP8v gives you a Jupiter-40. Its a very different game now, if you’ll embrace it.

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      1. The harder people argue about music gear, the more they resemble an old bald guy buying a toupee and a sports car to impress babes. I’m amused at people’s defensiveness in the face of near-magic. A fully analog reissue of the Jupiter-8 would cost a ransom and people savaged the JP-80 before it had even been heard, even though its actual synth-guts really can stand toe-to-toe with the JP-8 for Big Sound. So if you are stuck between a burning desire for vintage gear and an auto-contempt for any non-exact recreations, that seems like a lot of needless Stuck in the midst of plenty.

        I’m still amazed at the growth of the tools. Unless you’ve pulled out hair trying to get MIDI cables lined up in several hardware modules, you can’t fully appreciate what it means to be able to simply click it together on a screen now. Its like being handed a useful super-power. I’m as happy as hell to never have to use frequency shift keying as a sync source again. I’d rather use a spittoon as potpourri.

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  6. sh101 or the tr808 are the most obvious choices to make most impact…of course they use discreet circuits so it[s not as simple as the ms20, maybe roland should make a new synth like arturia did?

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  7. I’d like to see a re issued juno 60 or sh101. Great sound, not too expensive to manufacture, with a wide usage base.
    A polyphonic 101 would be great though!

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  8. juno 106,but I would like to see more korg synths like the monopoly or polysix again in a 68% size of the real thing.
    I would also like a minibrute version of Acces Virus or waldorf but with a wavetables osc included + an effect section and no presets for reducing the price.
    It doesn’t have to be analog as long that it’s sounds better than stupid software.
    I want knobs and sliders and character.
    Please synthbuiders be original like korg finally did.

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  9. Not going to happen. Roland was cool on accident 30 years ago. Today they would rather make a new digital piano or use a Jupiter 8 color scheme than retool for analog.

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    1. Roland builds what people want to buy.

      If you look at their product line, there’s analog all over it. But not an ‘analog synth’.

      I think this will change as they start seeing how much interest Korg is getting with their new synth.

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      1. It’s a miracle that someone at Korg allowed the Monotrons / Monotribe / MS20mkII to be produced. But good for them. Someone had a clear vision of where the market is going and fought hard to make that happen. But trust me, Roland would think it is beneath them to have Korg lead the way for them. They have been trying to cash in on their happy accidents of the 70’s/80’s for the last 15 or so years or so. They passed up the chance to buy Steinberg and also to partner with Abelton on their controllers, most likely because of arrogance.

        Roland is just like any other 40+ year old corporation. These are middle managers that don’t want to loose their jobs taking a risk and have a mortgage to pay. Do you really think they Roland would have even done a better job? They would try to pack in all of these additional features for no good reason. They don’t care about finding the exact right transistors to get it to sound just right. They just don’t care enough. But hey, you are welcome to prove me wrong, Roland.

        Juno 106 and 60 are not that hard to find, just buy a used one if you want one so bad.

        The boutique market has been filling in the void for the past 16 years or so just fine, and they have been doing it better and better each year. You have the x0xb0x and Bass Bot TT 303 for 303, you have the Jomox XBase09 for TR-909, you have the JoMoX XBase 888 and Novation Drum Stations for TR-808/606, the MiniBrute captures the spirit of the SH-101 pretty well. Then there is the whole Eruorack modular explosion.

        The people at boutique operations are younger, have less overhead, are less jaded, and are more dedicated to the soul of the instruments. Their ideals would never fly in the Roland of today, it would be a soul sucking job for them.

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  10. I doubt it will happen either. Roland has been lost for decades. Doubt they could get chips for the classic junos., 808 would be expensive, 909 maybe, 303 is the easiest (but they should have done that 15 years ago). But I have all those….The classic vocoder would be sweet though…

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  11. Realistically , they fetched out no crap gear, I even owned one of those Juno 106’s with the speakers built in, (I didn’t own it for long)ok that was utter shit.
    Roland where and are the company who’s reasonably priced gear enabled,(in no particular order) Acid house, Electro, House, Detroit Techno , come about ,
    (oh and that utter duff crap called hip hop)
    The other manufactures provided additional gear to the ‘core gear’
    Roland what has become of you , (amost a line from a Bahaus track)
    Model 500 changed my life, Future Acid tracks made me realise people where alive with enthusiasm for pushing envelopes, literally.
    Roland , get a grip. Mc 202 would do me with Midi, but rack it up.

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      1. I am travelling and writing on a blackberry,
        What bit was unclear? I think the ideas are straight forward.
        I think there is a lot in there and written concisely.
        Do you wan’t an apology or something?

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        1. Well, I was just razzin ya is all. I actually agree with you completely, I think. I’m an editor, and while this isn’t an English Composition site, I sometimes can’t help myself.

          But since you asked, let’s start at the top:

          “Realistically, they fetched out no crap gear” This could mean that they improved gear that wasn’t crap, they improved only crap gear, or they failed to release any crap gear, etc…. I’m not quite sure. At first I thought you meant, “They fetched out more crap gear” but you seem to think that you said exactly what you meant, so now I’m unsure.

          “Roland where and are the company who’s…” I’m pretty sure you were going for “Roland, where is the company whose…” – I’ll assume this sentence was hijacked by some kind of auto-correct.

          “The other manufactures provided additional gear to the ‘core gear’” – a complete sentence to be sure, but it doesn’t actually say anything meaningful. And I think you meant “their core gear”

          “Roland what has become of you ,” — no question mark

          (amost a line from a Bahaus track) — 2 spelling errors, almost & Bauhaus

          Plus a bunch of commas that don’t belong, and just poor explanation of most everything. While I *understood* most of what you said, to call this comment “concise” is a bit of an overstatement. Concise involves being clear and substantive. While there is substance here, I wouldn’t call it very clear. Concise means that you’ve prepared good information to be easily perceived and understood, which I don’t think you can really say about your original comment.

          And no, I don’t want an apology. But I will give you one: if I hurt your feelings in anyway, I’m sorry. I agree that roland needs to get it’s head out of it’s ass.

          Also, I’m one of your thumbs ups.

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  12. IMHO Manufactures such as Korg who respond to demand of “retro-interest” related past products by resorting to “cloning” the product, are avoiding the future because of lack of vision for their company’s future. In the case of Roland I personally do not want to see an exact copy of a Jupiter 8, rather I would like to see a copy of a Jupiter 8 with a transplanted copy of a Tr-808 right inside it complete with the knobs and buttons as if someone were to shrink the Jupiter 8s controls some and plop the TR-808 in to the right hand corner. Also refresh the graphics and display and midi and sounds and some more new tricks to make it more CONTEMPORARY not just retro. Old synth gear is beautiful but by only cloning this denies the super-power leader company’s such as ( Roland and Korg ) who have the brilliant R&D people and money to innovate new types of music gear . Innovative music gear translates into innovative music and as or more importantly it allows more people who might not have found a way to make the music they want will now be equipped withe the gear that will allow them to do so and enjoy it!

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  13. I reckon a range of analogue modules may well put a big dent in the market.
    Their MS20 would be the system 100 keyboard I suppose, with the ‘expander’ built in.

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  14. TB-303 (but with an upgraded, FR Mobius-style sequencer, and built in delay and overdrive), SH-7, TR-808…

    I would kill for an analog version of the jp-8000…. they wouldn’t even have to make it all analog, just analog oscs with supersaw, jupiter 8 filter, and an analog ring/cross mod. Cheap, powerful, they would sell them like crazy

    Or a TB-303/TR-808 combo groovebox. Update the sequencer. keep it analog except the effects and D-Beam (Roland will put a dumb D-beam on it) … I’d take one.

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    1. I love the idea of an 303/808 hybrid! If they could do a real analog box that did bass and drums, price it around $1,000 and they’d sell truckloads!

      Call it the 308 or the 803, who cares as long as it sounds good?

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  15. The sensible and most realistic option would be an SH-101, as cheap mono synths are all the rage at the moment. Or a JX3P with the programmer controls built in.

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  16. Probably an affordable SH-101 or a Jupiter 8…I would also love to see an sh-2 but for God’s shake, not another x0x box…!

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  17. JP-16X. The JP-8000 successor with 8 DSP’s for better than reality sounding synthesis with 16 Individual outs in 192Khz. UAD/Roland Tape Delay/Chorus/Reverb-algorithms included.
    Analog was yesterday. Now are DSP’s with quadrizillionbibillions of possibilities. 🙂

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  18. I find it totally mystifying that Roland haven’t jumped in to get a second slice of the 303 , 808 cash that they have basically donated to the TR clone makers…

    it is almost as if they have no contact with the external world, they managed to release some products that are mining avenues like VR technology and COSM Modelling that the market has always seemed indifferent and lukewarm about at best.

    have you ever seen the bit in the film Empire Records when the owner of the record shop says he wished it sold bath and toilet fixtures. I always get the feeling that someone at the top of roland is similar kind of hoping one day all these pesky musicians just stop buying all their boring products so they can move production over to de-humidifiers or blenders.

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    1. Roland knows that the 303 and 808 clones sell in the double digits. Meanwhile, they sell tons of keyboards to the worship market and to giggers.

      I was talking to a contact at Roland and he was saying that the mega-church market was huge, which I had no idea about.

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  19. None Please. There’s already plenty of new analog synths already. Does the world really need more 808/909/303 in it’s music?

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  20. MIDI enabled 303, 606, 808, 909, SH-101, and Jupiter 8. Reissued Juno 106. That ought a do it. If I can only pick one, Jupiter 8. There are enough alternatives for the other units.

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  21. We’ve already reverse-engineered all of their stuff. I don’t think a Roland logo would make any of these already available analog instruments sound any better. And you know Roland wouldn’t cut us any slack price-wise…

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