Roland today introduced the FA-07 keyboard workstation, the latest in its FA series.
The line now includes the 61-note FA-06 and 76-note FA-07, which both feature velocity-sensitive keyboards with synth action, and the FA-08, which features an 88-note keyboard with weighted action.
Each model in the series features a huge sound collection, studio-quality effects, expressive real-time controls, plus onboard sampling with zero load time for instant playback from 16 pads.
An integrated sequencer offers simple operation and non-stop loop recording, and you can easily export tracks for further development with your DAW.
Here’s an in-depth look at the FA series:
Pricing and availability are to be announced, but the street price for the Roland FA-07 is expected to be about US $1,500.
27 thoughts on “Roland Intros FA-07 Music Workstation Keyboard”
what a joke. still no update to bpm detect audio loops within the sequencer´s sampler track, just like in fantom s, x, xa, and g. the fa series is six years old! are you kidding, roland??
at roland clan it says” firmware update”, too. where is it? i haven´t seen any official information re an os update.
I think Workstation Keyboards are an extremely important part of Music Technology. So I watched all those videos with my super-high-expectations and my own aspirations for the industry intact.
For live playing, workstations provide much-needed flexibility, with the ability to map specific sounds to key-ranges & velocities, switch complex set-ups quickly, and tailor realtime control and effects. Built-in sequencers are useful sketchpads and problem solvers.
In the studio, a workstation can be the centerpiece controller of a hybrid array of hardware and software synths, and the central DAW.
IMHO, the Kurzweil K2xxx series set a VERY high bar in terms of powerhouse features for a workstation. For the hardware limitations of that time, it still holds its own, and is the one to beat.
I’m not going to hand down a harsh verdict on the Roland FA-07. There are substantial features that are not my cup of tea. I didn’t see any info about how much sample RAM or flash ROM there is, or how much built-in sample ROM is included. While I could grouse about Roland not moving the ball forward very much; I am just glad to see they staying in the game as far as workstations are concerned.
If the era of the powerhouse workstation keyboard is over, I don’t want it to go down without a fight!
> I think Workstation Keyboards are an
> extremely important part of Music Technology.
and music history. if i remember correctly, there was one kylie minouge album that was done entirely on the triton studio.
My disappointment is so strong, that I feel physically ill.
I wanted a new workstations so bad, that when I finally saw, that one of the new Roland synth announcements was a workstation, my heart skipped many beats!
Until I found out, that this is old shit.
Yea. I think a 2017 workstation should have:
1. Ample RAM/ROM/Flash ROM, and SD slot.
2. Ample connectivity: MIDI, CV, SPDIF, AESEBU, USB
3. Polyphonic Aftertouch
4. joystick AND wheels
5. a good compliment of assignable (not hardwired) knobs, sliders & buttons
6. minimum 8 pedal switch inputs, and 4 CC pedal inputs
7. state-of-the-art sequencing with full support of tempo & meter, and ability to assemble sequences into longer sequences.
This demo shows a keyboard that is playing things very safe, and assembling existing technology, but not breaking new ground.
Is that because they don’t think there’s enough of a market to support the R&D?
I would have settled for just being able to pitch the damn samples.
Of course, after this many years since the FA-06, I expected full Integra-7 SuperNatural engines and some tightening of the sequencer bolts here and there, and after touch for a bit more class for a $1,500 workstation.
This took them, what, 4 years!?!
And the “2.0” is fart in Sahara.
yes, the point i was making is the fact that roland´s legacy workstations were far better, function-wise (not sound-wise, of course), for example, they had 75 excellent groove templates onboard (until fantom g). the worst part of the current fa series: without the ability to detect the tempo/bpm of imported .wav loops the built-in sp404sx is completely useless as part of the sequencer. hell, even the mc808 had bpm detect! roland screwed up badly this time imo.
I have an FA-06 and In my opinion it is the best digital workstation in production in it’s price range by far.
maybe. but the built-in sampler lacks basic functions. there´s currently no way to sync imported audio loops to the tempo of the sequencer. with the older fantoms it was possible to do that.
Can’t you just dial in the tempo and retrigger the loop every couple of bars?
nope, it doesn´t work that way. when you import a .wav loop–let´s say, from loopmasters–that has a tempo of 128.00 (and was probably produced using ableton live or whatever), the equivalent tempo of the fa´s sequencer would be maybe 127.83… you get “non-synchronicity” (ernst bloch). it should work this way: first, after importing the loop into the fa you would always have to detect the loop tempo INSIDE the board which is not possible right now. (then your reference tempo is always the one of the fa.) with the older fantoms, and the mc-808, you had a dedicated “bpm detect” function for that purpose. motif and m3/kronos have the same function, btw.
I meant that you import the loop, run the sequencer at 128, and retrigger the loop every two bars or however long it is.
In a way it’s really treating the loop like a one-shot and then looping the MIDI note that triggers the sample, instead.
Setting a little release time will crossfade and cover the seem. That’s how I did it back when I used to use loops.
The one thing that annoys me about my FA-06 is that I can’t assign sounds to the pads and have it start up that way. In fact the pads are pretty much useless to me.
But the sounds are freaking incredible! The only product that makes superior audio is the Nords in my opinion.
When I start mine up, the backing tracks (audio) I had assigned to the pads are still there.
I actually quite like the pads. I use them for backing tracks, muting parts of a studio set, etc. I just wish there were dedicated buttons to switch the pad control contexts (instead of shift-pad_utility) and that they had the ability to be velocity sensitive. Still, handy enough for my application that I would miss them if I changed keyboards and lost them.
I no longer have an FA-06 (got the Integra-7) but you could absolutely have it load your samples at boot-up. I even had a Conan The Barbarian screensaver on mine: https://www.instagram.com/p/6pfFCCLM-f
No D-Beam?! pass.
It has C-beams, that glitter in the dark…
D-beam is there for your demoing pleasure
I’ve been pondering an FA workstation, and this fits the bill nicely. 76 keys for plenty of range, and that sweet SN synth engine. Wish the effects were up there with Yamaha’s and Kurzweil’s, but you can’t have everything. This is an awful lot of it though. Add a JD-XA and an SE-02 and you have a darn good electronic set up.
I have a FA-06, and it is a great mid-level keyboard. It has a little bit of everything. The sounds aren’t as good as my Kronos, but it has plenty of polyphony and flexibility.. and critically it is very light. So it is great for taking to play at church. 13 lbs. If the FA-07 had been available when I bought the 06, I would have bought the 07 instead. I’ve squeezed as many as 4 zones on my little board (and even more layers) and it does get tight!
I agree there are features missing on this, but this isn’t a “new” workstation (and it was never a high-end workstation). It is filling in a void they left in the FA series… there’s just a new size available. Better late than never.
As some others on here, I hope that Roland (and others) release a new workstation with improved features/sound/etc. But I appreciate this for what it is.
It’s nice to see Roland show some commitment to the 76-key form factor again.
The 76-key option has become something of an endangered species. Everything today is either 61 (or smaller) or full weighted 88 (which is nice for piano but often overkill space consumption and not the right feel for the full range of instruments required by a workstation– organ, clav, synths etc). If the keyboard has the right feel this could fill a need for a lot of users.
Having said that, this seems like nothing new, other than a mid-sized version of the FA-06/08 product that has been around for several years.
The workstation world is long overdue for a next evolutionary step. Drop in something like SSDs, VST hosting, or drop the price significantly, and maybe then you’ll have our attention, Roland!
I would not say Nord sounds superior than Roland SN, perhaps different. Does not really matter, they both sound great. The Nords have very limited processing power. There are enough articles on the web that explain the powerful modeling features of the I7. If Nord someday packs all their sounds in an affordable rack mount (Last one was the Nord Electro rack) it will be on the top of the shopping list. The FA07 is recycling of SN once again.
I hope it’s the same keyboard as the Jupiter 50, it’s very nice and would make the FA07 a killer board in the price range.
“expressive real-time controls” yet still no aftertouch……………..nope, this one isn’t for me Roland.
What a joke. Looks like mostly just an 06 with a few more keys. For that they want $500 more? Why does Roland suck so bad these days? And speaking of keys, what’s the deal on key bed – the site says “synth action” like the 06, but I’ve seen it called “semi-weighted” elsewhere. Hello people, not the same thing. Is this the same as 06’s or not? It’s also a joke that any keyboard in this price range or more doesn’t have any aftertouch. How disappointing. For just a little more I can get the Korg Krome. Bye-bye Roland, you used to be great.
Ive a Yamaha Mox8 that i bought for the piano keybed. But i’m starting to dislike workstations more and more by the day. This new Roland and other superduper workstations are sounding so freakn superficial. Synthesizers at their best is when they are a part of a band. Even several synths + a drummachine together. Perhaps im old fashioned. But that’s how i like it.
A Amazing keyboard for live performance Outstanding sounds !