Roland Brings Sound Canvas To iOS


Roland has introduced Sound Canvas for iOS – a software version of its old-school sound module. 


  • Two types of graphical user interface: “Sound Canvas skin” for music data creation and “Player skin” for practicing with instruments or karaoke application.
  • High quality MIDI file sounds by its 1,600 tones and 63 factory drum presets.
  • Convenient functions:”LOOP” mode to repeat your specifying region, “SONG LIST PLAY” to play sequentially plural songs, and more multifunction.
  • MIDI interface (separately sold) connection enables to receive MIDI data from the external devices to play sounds.
  • Available with a music application compatible for the Core MIDI.
  • Sound Canvas for iOS is based on the Roland GS standard. It is compatible with the sound for “GS”,”GM2″, and “GM”.
  • It includes Reverb, Chorus, Delay, and 2 Band EQ, plus 64 types of insertion effects
  • In addition, it plays SMF for “SC-88Pro” and “SC-8820”.


  • Requires iOS : 8.1 or later
  • Works on : iPhone5s, iPhone6, iPhone6 Plus, iPad Air or later, iPad mini2 or later

Roland Sound Canvas for iOS is available in the App Store for US $14.99.

33 thoughts on “Roland Brings Sound Canvas To iOS

    1. What? The D-50 was a classic. A ton of late 80’s and early 90’s pop music was made with the D-50. There may be people that think this sort of thing has no place in the present time, but there are some very good artists bringing back retro sounds and this kind of thing is right up their alley.

      1. To you and the downvoters: I wasn’t being sarcastic, I’d LOVE a virtual D-50, I think it’s one of the most unique and lush digital synths ever made. There are tons of modern music generes bringing back the rompler sound too: vaporvave, pcmusic and such, so these are more than welcome 🙂

        1. The D-50 was a great synth and in interesting concept. Combining various attack transients with synth sustains just worked really well to create something that had a unique feel.

          It would be great to see a modern D-50 app AND VI plug developed. Would love to see all the attack transients have multi-velocity layers (6-8 velocities) for even more expressiveness..

          And the synth thing could be something like that LaPlace thing but with more dynamic & realtime controls.

          1. Also,it was most probably the first virtual analogue ever, at least at oscillator stage. Partials use PCM samples but there are also calculated saw/square waves, so there 🙂

    2. Is it true that you can’t change the instrument selections for a midi file, on this sound canvas app!? In other words be able to change a guitar part and put in a keyboard part or bass or whatever you want for a multi part midi playback. If you can’t, then that seems totally retarded to have that limitation. After reading the ios reviews at the App Store, it seems as though that is the case. Please anyone, let Me know if that is correct or not. Thanks in advance for any quick replies. Because I was considering getting the app. But it’s 19.99 currently, so I really need to know if you can assign different instruments than originally intended for any particular multitrack midi song. I see you can mute parts easily but I don’t see if you can change the instruments that are already assigned, within this app. Thanks again. I actually think the onboard sounds and effects are very useable, with the right modern tweaking. :o)

      1. From what I gather it is sound module/ file player. If you need to change sounds, you need to open your file in an editor like Cubase, reassign patch numbers, and save it

  1. “bringing back retro sounds”? seems that’s all anyone is interested in these days… where are the ground breaking synths, who actually knows how to program any more, where is the forward thinking? sorry too much rum…

      1. Max, you’re close but it’d need to be more along the lines of learning c++ or swift or…? and i’m just not good at that stuff.

        modular? been on those for 35 years, old school!

        1. My only point is that it’s out there. I’d include code into that as well, even though it’s not for me either.
          Modular, even as long as it’s been around, is not played out, imo. Otherwise it would sound dated, which I don’t think it does. Richard Devine vs Tangerine Dream.
          Have you tried Bazille? Great hybrid of fm and modular with analog style filters. I’m getting some interesting and unpredictable stuff out of it.

  2. For some of us, the Sound Canvas was the backbone of our live MIDI rigs. GM midi files were the easiest backing track format to cart around for one-man gigs and to exchange across the fledgling internet. I used to use programs like Band-In-A-Box to create simple GM/SMF files that I would flesh out with a sequencer. I still have an extensive library of GM files so having a true Sound Canvas around again will be handy. $14.99 for it seems high for it though – better IOS synths cost less – but it’s a must-have synth for my collection.

    1. Is it true that you can’t change the instrument selections for a midi file, on this sound canvas app!? In other words be able to change a guitar part and put in a keyboard part or bass or whatever you want for a multi part midi playback. If you can’t, then that seems totally retarded to have that limitation. After reading the ios reviews at the App Store, it seems as though that is the case. Please anyone, let Me know if that is correct or not. Thanks.

  3. No Audiobus nor IAA support is ridiculous.Although IAA is there,it just doesn’t work.Hope they fix it asap.I bought it nonetheless and i don’t regret it.Sounds great!

  4. Oh the irony – there’s a virtual Sound Canvas out but the old SC D50 hasn’t been supported since Vista and despite it being USB and otherwise fully functional it’s now a useless brick without driver support. Thanks, Roland 🙁

  5. I recall the Sound Canvas being a bit twee and bit of a consumer compromised home solution. But just listened to it on Youtube, I think I’ve been overrated it. It all sounds like a theme from a low budget 90’s US TV show – and now you can get that sound on an iPad. I seriously couldn’t see the point of using this if it was free – the reason I got into computer music in the first place was I didn’t want to use something like this, or sound like this.

  6. as someone who was alive and making music in the 90s i got so many demos made on this thing.
    it was a dark dark time for music.

  7. On one hand, you have a multi-timbral GM rig for iOS, which at least in theory, you could use the way old SC’s were used, for sketching ideas, for quick mock-ups, etc.

    On the other hand, the SC is kind of famously cheesy and kitchy. Perhaps Roland was kind of banking on there being a little nostalgia for that 90’s cheese-factor.

    It’s probably OK, but Roland/Cakewalk doesn’t have a stellar reputation for porting things to iOS (even though Z3ta+ is a great synth, the UI is pretty rough), and their support is non-exisitant.

    Also, even on sale at $15, it is too much. I would gladly kick down $5 for this, but above that, I’ll pass.

    I’m sure there are reasonable SoundFont players that can get us what we need for sketching things, etc.

    IK’s sampletank (with it’s various IAP’s) is better, but that’s quite an investment.

    1. Nicely summed up. But even in sketching stuff out, being the only real use of this, beyond obtaining a cheesy 90’s sound, who are you sketching stuff out for? Not a band or a client , as they won’t get past the cheese. I think the big problem I have with this, other than the poor sounds, is timing and cost, if this had of came out for $5 years ago on an iPad then it would have blown people away, but $15 today seems all too much, too little and too late – but isn’t that currently Roland’s MO?

  8. All this time, and it’s Roland’s first foray into VIs of their stuff? Don’t know why they didn’t do what Korg did. Who want’s a wimpy iOS cutdown? Do a real, full up 2080 and I will buy it again. Or 5080. Even a D-110. I’d buy them to have those sounds at my fingertips again. But this? Years too late.

    1. Roland (Edirol) shipped their first Virtual Sound Canvas for the PC in 1996. It was also included with many versions of Cakewalk Sonar.

  9. If you want to hear what this thing can really do. Listen to Rei Harakami! He pretty much exclusively used two SC-88 Pros.

    Listen to this track and tell me this module sucks:

    Rei Harakami’s work is a real testament to pushing hardware beyond it’s limits.

    1. Yeah, Rei did a very nice job. Its not always about flash. Sometimes serving the song or getting just the right pad going is the centerpiece of it. Junkie XL said that the Moog bass was an outstanding sound, but wasn’t right for every bass need. You can’t just look at a synth as colorful hardware; you have to consider how many ways you can apply it. Here’s proof that with a good idea, hunkering down in front of just a couple of basic instruments is perfectly righteous.

  10. C’mon, its got a General MIDI 2 sound set and doesn’t pretend to be more, but a fair number of those sounds are pretty creditable. I dunno how anyone can bitch about paying $15-30 for a synth that would cost $150-300 for Mac/PC and at least $700 as hardware. Does anyone here really rely on just one synth or library? Not me. The SC isn’t aimed at being this week’s new Jesus; its a very good carton of French vanilla. I have some go-to places for subtle layers that seem unremarkable when uneffected and out of musical context. Sometimes the smallest added bit of a sharper sound can add definition to a big pad, making it Huge. That’s where my Roland gear always shined. So its off the mark to focus on its 80s heritage, IMO. It seems more precise to say “Does this cover enough ground to be worth seeing as a quiet foundation instrument?”

  11. FYI. Check. Editor. For the hardware versions
    Roland still makes the hardware version as well
    Although not a lead type stun they make a great item for filler and background

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