Roland Driftbox-R Limited Analog Synthesizer Now Available


Roland has released a new analog synthesizer, without fanfare, the Roland Driftbox-R Limited Analog Monosynth

The Roland DriftBox-R Limited is an updated version of the original Reon DriftBox,  with AIRA green styling:


Originally commissioned by Roland to demonstrate the the SBX-1 Sync Box, the DriftBox-R Limited features two oscillators, filter, and envelope generator.

Control is via five CV/gate connections, letting you integrate the synth with other analog gear.


  • Updated version of the original Reon DriftBox
  • A wide range of functions in a small desktop box
  • Two VCOs, a great-sounding filter, and an envelope generator
  • CV/gate I/O for semi-modular flexibility
  • Use it alone, triggering its envelope with the onboard momentary button
  • Combine it with other hardware for endless possibilities

Here is an unofficial demo, via Patrick OBrien:

Note: While we have not seen an official introduction from Roland yet, the new analog synth is showing up as available at Sweetwater for US $499.

70 thoughts on “Roland Driftbox-R Limited Analog Synthesizer Now Available

    1. Yeah, $500 for the DriftBox is getting up into Moog “C’mon, the price is a joke, right?” territory.

  1. Looks cool. Without MIDI in it feels like it should be a eurorack module, but not everything has to be the same form factor.

  2. Yeah, I think that when I consider that for that price I could buy a Korg MS-20 mini, or a Waldorf Striechfett, or an Arturia MiniBrute……nah. Pass. Sorry Roland….price point is too high.

    1. Both Roland and in this case Reon have to make some money on it. Same as with that Roland system 500, Roland is acting more as a distributor than as the real manufacturer.

    2. ms20 mini definitely a way better buy it seems.. or minitaur. anyway good luck and good on them for taking the idea to market at least as a test of some kind.

  3. Yeah, everyone wants the two frequency knobs just in front, and right next too the cutoff knob. How would accidentaly untune your synth while tweaking without that ?

  4. Thank you a lot of comments and demo songs. driftbox R_Limited is not equipped with MIDI, is a synth that made thinking about the fusion of the modular synth. The feature of this synthesizer is a sync function that causes a powerful attack and complex modulation. Cost is a little high, but we believe that there is it only performance worth of that tone can produce of. And everyone I am expected to produce more and more interesting sound. Currently, in Japan it will be announced a new product called driftbox J. The combination of this and driftbox R_Limited is,
    It will create a powerful performance. Even space effector it might become unnecessary. The tool is live for that can be enjoyed while sufficiently processing the original synthesizer single sound.

    1. I don’t think that’d be strictly comparable, as you get tons of value added to the eurorack components by virtue of their patch points. This thing doesn’t have outs for the envelopes or oscillators, no LFO… frankly apart from the extra oscillator it’s a strict subset of the Microbrute which sells for $100 less.

    1. Where are you buying new synths with real analog electronics, CV control, metal cases & quality knobs and components for $150-200?

      This is closer to a Doepfer Dark Energy ($600) than a Korg Volca.

  5. i dont see the word “ROLAND” anywhere on this unit. on any side or the top. its not a roland product obviously its by Reon and the heading of this thread is quite misleading and should be changed

    1. its rolands (atleast now it is) theyve been using them at booths and in vids. it was comissioned, i believe they bought the dsign and all.

      but yeah, 500 my batooti. 650 gets u a system 1 modular from pittburgh to your door.

    2. Apparently reading comprehension has failed you:

      “The Roland DriftBox-R Limited is an updated version of the original Reon DriftBox, with AIRA green styling:

      Originally commissioned by Roland to demonstrate the the SBX-1 Sync Box, the DriftBox-R Limited features two oscillators, filter, and envelope generator.”

      1. if your sarcasm Torgood is aimed at me, i state again:

        “i dont see the word “ROLAND” anywhere on this unit. on any side or the top.”

        if its a Roland product, where is the word ROLAND on the unit? on the side? underneath on some little sticker? or etched on one of the PCB’s inside then? Are you seriously selling the line that its a Roland product because “the colors of the box are green and black..”?

        some other companies product that is distributed by Roland. Thats fine, and it may be an awsome little box. But seriously calling this a “Roland synth”…which suggests that it is branded and manufactured by Roland is misleading.

        If this is a prototype, and Roland are going to put their proud ROLAND badge on the final manufactured versions, then thats different…

  6. haha, for that price you can get a Moog Minitaur!!!
    No wonder this has been released “without fanfare”. With fanfare it’d have been USD 800!!

  7. If this device is build in China and has a plastic case then the price is to high. But if it is build like a tank and will last 30 years I don’t see why $499 is such a huge investment.

    1. It looks like it was built in someone’s apartment out of parts from Radio Shack.The product photos on Sweetwater show a crooked knob.

  8. Its MFOSs Mini Synth Lab in green… You get 2 of them for this money, maybe 3. Expensive, too expensive.

    1. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Op amps are just as “analog” as discrete transistors, the only difference being the IC having a handful of transistors built inside of it. What’s so great about discrete circuitry? Can you explain in a non-subjective way?

      Just when you thought synthtopia comments couldn’t get any worse… or are you trolling?

    2. Which analogs are you thinking of that don’t have IC’s?

      Pretty much all of the synths since the 70’s have had IC’s and that has nothing to do with whether or not they are analog.

      Nor do SMT PCB’s or DCO’s, though a lot of uninformed people think they do.

  9. When all this new gear keeps on coming out that I want to get my hands on, I am glad to see something like this. Not for me, but good luck.

    1. MS20 Mini can’t interface with a eurorack system without help, since it doesn’t do v-triggers and 1V/Oct CV. Also it’s nowhere near as compact as this. Volca Keys is cool but doesn’t have the CV i/o or build quality of his.

      1. true, but for the price you could get 4 volca keys which combined would cover a hell of a lot more sonic territory than this. i actually like this little guy, but in today’s market, its just overpriced.

    2. No – this isn’t competing with a plastic box with cheap knobs and it only makes sense to make that comparison if you are in the market for a plastic box with cheap knobs.

      This would be nice as an all-in-one Euro voice.

      1. I guess, but if you were in the market for an all-in-one Euro voice wouldn’t you want something actually in Euro format? With patch points that interact with other modules? What I see here is a stand-alone synth, so yeah, I think the comparison makes sense.

  10. It takes a huge manufacturing run and cheap parts to produce something at the volca price range.

    For a small production run of a high quality analog synth, 500 is very reasonable.

  11. No doubt it will sell a few but it wont touch the sales of the likes of more useful synths like the brutes of this world, modular heads wont go near this at this price, ludicrous.

    1. ‘Modular heads’ love the Dark Star, and there aren’t many analog voice modules in this price range. Most are more expensive, but with more features: Minitaur, Dark Star, Atlantis, etc.

      1. Well there are the Pittsburgh Synth Boxes which are $339.00 and are actual real Eurorack modules and fully patchable.

        It’s still cheaper than the roland box even if you have to add a small case, Like a Cell 48 which is 149.00, including the power supply!

        That option gives you another 20 HP of module space to work with. You could add a MIDI interface for 139.00

        1. Although with two oscillators it would be $678. You have to admit PM’s SB sound just by itself is incredibly weak and thin compared to the Roland, which is not exactly a powerhouse here, right?

          1. Pitts does not sound thin. The LPG in it is very smooth and full. And since you can take all the oscillators outputs at once, it has a lot of sonic variety.

            These drift boxes are all about FM drifting though, so they do have a different sound to them.

            Whatever happened to the whole series of little boxes they had planned?

            Supposed to be about a dozen different ones.

            1. The Pitt SB doesn’t have “all of the oscillators”. It has one oscillator. The one oscillator does have multiple waveform outputs.

              There is an enormous difference between having different waveform outputs and having independent oscillators.

              A single oscillator synth, which the Pitt SB is, is not a stand in or reasonable substitute for a multiple oscillator synth. Representing its single oscillator’s different waveform outputs as multiple oscillators is not a reasonable position that would be taken by any knowledgable or experienced synthesist.

              The paltry and dismal thinness of the SB’s single oscillator limitation is readily apparent to all discriminating and knowledgable listeners in demos of it recorded without post processing.

      1. I don’t know what Really is concerned about – but it is confusing who is actually manufacturing this synth, the headline suggests Roland, but it doesn’t seem that’s the case. Not sure it matters though – the headline could just as well be; “Green colored synth ires Synthtopia readers with massive price tag”. Maybe then we can get back to griping about how terrible the Yamaha reface thing is going to be? Either way, thank you and keep up the excellent work synthhead.

  12. These came out a few months ago in the UK. I saw one in the display cabinet as I was buying an Electribe. A few days later I returned and bought it. Then, I was so impressed by the unusual configuration, possibilities and the sheer delight of this weird little gizmo that I returned the Electribe and bought a second one. You have to try this one out for real and *then* decide whether or not it’s for you and worth the price. One thing I’ve learned is that comparing musical instruments on spec doesn’t work. An expensive violin doesn’t have more strings than a cheap one.

  13. Another hilarious comments section on Synthtopia. You lot of whingers need to get out more and work off those man tits. More estrogen here than a women’s group.

  14. Finally: a company with the balls and the vision to release a small, keyboardless, fully analog monosynth. Limited in more ways than you could imagine. Why didn’t anybody else think of this sooner? Beats me. This is bound to become a huge thing.

  15. Not sure though, I think this post (include the sourse of sweetwater) is completely wrong. Reon is small (handmade) synth maker at Osaka in Japan. Roland is also at Osaka, but more big company. Though they both have respect each other, they are totally different company.

  16. Sorry for saying, but I have one. And it sure is one mean fat sound that compares to nothing in my setup. Which includes most of the comparisons made by people above. so try it. and judge afterwards.

  17. This has been on the shelves for about 5 months or more in Japan next to the AIRA stuff. It is black and green, but I seriously think someone is mixed up about this being from Roland. The lack of fanfare could be because it’s just not so. Please recheck your sources.

  18. Hi, I was reading a bit all the comments and wanted to share my opinion about Reon.
    I have a Driftbox S and I love this unit. The price itself is a bit on the high side, but it’s built like a tank and the sound of these small synths is just superb and huge!
    What I like most is the super compact format and the fact that I can play it by itself alone, without an external keyboard (I’m mostly into noise and drone music, so I love to put my finger on knobs).
    It doesn’t offers all the patch possibility of a modular eurorack synth, but if you want something similar in eurorack (2 vco+1 filter+ white noise) you have to spend a lot more money and the result won’t be as compact as the Reon.
    Reon are highly valuable units and it’s worthing trying them out.

    1. agreed on this for sure. I have a lot of synthesizers including too much euro. The Drift Box is incomparable – massive complex sounds and certainly represents value against euro just maybe not one of the more mass produced options.

  19. Reon is a small Japanese company that produce these instruments in small quantities. They are hand built and sound great IMO! I’ve just got a second one. Yes, they’re not for everyone and they are expensive, but you don’t have to buy it? I think they’re cool and Ive used mine a lot in tandem with Korgs SQ-1, a Volca Kick and a Mini Kaoss pad & a Roland efx unit!

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