Roland FA-08 Workstation Keyboard First Look

Here’s a look at Roland’s first new workstation since the Fantom-G, the FA series – Keyboard Magazine’s Dave Bryce takes a look at the Roland FA-08.

Roland is introducing the Roland FA workstations, the FA-06 & FA-08, at the 2014 NAMM Show.

Here’s part 2 of the Keyboard’s Roland FA-08 first look:

Features:

  • Light, mobile body with 61-note velocity-sensitive keyboard
  • Over 2000 sounds from the flagship INTEGRA-7 sound module, including SuperNATURAL synth and acoustic tones and drums; add even more tones via internal wave sound expansion slots
  • SuperNATURAL synth engine is fully compatible with the expansive collection of free INTEGRA-7 synth tones available from Roland’s Axial sound library site
  • 16-track sequencer with non-stop loop recording makes it easy to build songs quickly; export your sequencer tracks to an SDHC card as a complete stereo mix, or as multitrack audio or MIDI data for use in your DAW
  • Onboard sampler based on the SP-404SX features 16 pads x 4 banks and direct recording/playback via SDHC cards
  • 16 independent MFX engines, six COMP+EQ processors for drums, unique TFX (total effects), and global EQ, chorus, and reverb
  • Six user-assignable Sound Modify knobs
  • Streamlined interface with large color LCD
  • Use with your DAW via USB
  • D-Beam, Rhythm Pattern, Arpeggiator, and Chord Memory functions to expand your creative palette
  • Guitar/Mic and Line input jacks for performing, sampling, and DAW audio recording; dedicated input reverb provides ambience for performing/recording
  • USB ports for sound expansion data, updates, and audio/MIDI interfacing with a computer; MIDI communication with the iPad is possible when using Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit

via keyboardmag1

23 thoughts on “Roland FA-08 Workstation Keyboard First Look

  1. These are these best pair of videos out there (so far) that give you a great idea of the sounds available on these devices. I was really impressed with the quality of the filter when he had some saw/brass-type synth patches up and was tweaking the filter cutoff and resonance w/the controller knobs.

    Definitely interested in the 06; may retire my D-50 for one of these.

  2. I seriously lost interest in Roland years ago. Unless they fire the guy who’s at the top, okay-ing all of these terrible, boring products then they’re pretty much dead to me.

  3. Why is always crappy wannabe acoustic sounds demoed on a electronic instruments ?

    How about showing of what the synthesizer sounds for a change ?

  4. I think a lot of us on this blog don’t really understand/appreciate a workstation, I’m sure it’d be amazing if I wanted to score a tv show, but yeah… That’s all I can think I’d use it for practically.

  5. There are still working musicians who perform live who can put something like this to good use. I was disappointed to learn that the sampling functions are geared towards loops and playable only from the pads. You cannot load your own multi-samples and map them to the keyboard. If they would have included that ability, it would have really opened up the possibilities of this instrument for more experimental sound design.

    1. As to sound design, I understand your point, but I disagree. The workstations I use and have played possess deep signal paths, if you explore them. They have to cover traditional instruments to draw in the majority of real-world players and then decide how much pure synthesis to add under the hood. Its another *type* of instrument, not a mistake or a cheap grab for the bucks.

      I have a lot of piano time under my belt, so I have a bit of kindly bias in all of this. I think some people resist really practicing on a traditional instrument because it takes a great deal of time and effort to become even tolerably listenable. Too many want it all NOW and electronics are happy to trade you instant gratification for cash. You *can* fake a lot going that route, but it often shows, too. You can argue the “validity” of various approaches, but at showtime, passion talks and spec sheets walk.

      If you have a serious sound design jones, no one synth will do anyway. You not only need a couple of fully-knobbed synths, but X amount of downstream studio skills, because the synth is just the first stage of the process. I’m pretty sure that most of us have a keyboard or main controller, a computer in the loop and secondary bits like modules and processors. Once you accept that, these fine points of argument fade. Using the piano options for piano and the synth path for synths doesn’t hamper me; instead, it seems sensible and liberating.

  6. whilst it’s not breaking new sonic ground it does offer a huge quality soundset with a decent keyboard and sequencer plus the addition of the 2 virtual slots for SRX sounds as well as sampling and DAW mapping..it’s price point is very low too…it competes with the korg Krome and krog kross plus the lower end yamaha mofx6 (or what ever combination of m , x, 6 and f…!!!)

  7. really 1600?Nice price tag! The only problem for me is that it doesnt have full sized keys!
    apart from that its very nice …well done

  8. I don’t mind the concept of the workstation. Although it’s unclear to me at least, exactly who uses the every funstion of thses powerful machine to their fullest…. but like practically every workstation (maybe every single workstation?) despite having a powerful synth engine… basic functioning knobs for the synth do not exist. Would it blow the cost out of the ballpark if a small amount of fascia real estate had a simple filter and ADSR section?

  9. I think this workstation would provide a reasonable compliment to my other Roland synth (an SH-201). The feature-set of both are complimentary enough…and the controller layout different enough to make the purchase justifiable for my budget.

  10. There is certainly value to the incremental evolution of workstation keyboards– better effects, better ROM, better polyphony, and better overall performance. I think the yawn factor comes from the fact that we don’t really see anything ground breaking, just a logical progression of improvements in the above categories.

    In the digital synth world, I really want the next big innovative synths to be part of workstation keyboards. Whether it is some hybrid of synth techniques, or some radical new approach, there are good reasons to fold in those other capabilities. For example, having a good sequencer on board doesn’t require a great deal of programming or CPU muscle. Having a rig that is multi-timbral might require more CPU muscle and other coding finesse, but we would want to be able to layer sounds using multiple processes anyway.

    A well-designed keyboard doesn’t need to be super-versatile, but when it is, it can work well for many different kinds of artists and styles. For me, it can be a good investment because the keyboard can accommodate some changes in my needs.

  11. get an MPK88 + Omnisphere + $500,00 laptop and you have more than 2000 pro sounds that sounds better….
    This keyboard is ok for a live band, turn it on and you are ready to play. None studio will buy it.
    Roland should stop to move the previous sound engine to the next synth model.

    1. Awhile I get this isn’t your cup of tea I disagree with your assertion – what sound card are you going to use as a $500 laptop will not sound anywhere as good. Second your $500 laptop won’t come close to the polyphony and fx processing power of this. Finally while omnisphere is awesome this has a far more diverse soundest and a much more powerful synth engine and can make almost any sound type. If you don’t want one fine but one should respect the capabilities at this price point – once again roland has nailed the workstation better than anyone else. I am not in the market for this as I own all analog hardware but if I wanted a workstation this would be the one to get. I just feel bad for the owners of the previous generations of roland workstations, Jupiter 50 and integra 7 as the resale value of those instruments just crashed!

  12. A good workstation could be really useful also for production and sound design. But I’m talking about my K2600 🙂 The question is: do we really need a “new” workstation EVERY year?

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