Roland’s Forgotten Touchpad Computer Music System From The ’80s

In his latest video, synthesist Espen Kraft takes a look at Roland’s forgotten touchpad computer music system from the ’80s.

The Roland Computer Music modules are a range of devices, designed for use with any computer that can be fitted with a MIDI port. These include:

  • The MPU401 MIDI interface;
  • The MT-32 multi timbral module from 1987;
  • The LA-based CM-32L, the RS-PCM CM-32P, and putting the two together in the same box gives the CM-64;
  • The CF10 Digital Fader;
  • The CN20 Music Entry Pad;
  • The CA30 Intelligent Arranger; and
  • The CP-40 Pitch to MIDI Converter.

While these modules would have been cutting-edge in their day, they’re now largely forgotten.

Check out the video and share your thoughts on the Roland Computer Music modules in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Roland’s Forgotten Touchpad Computer Music System From The ’80s

  1. Absolutely fantastic video – really brings back memories of those early pioneering times before PCs became the musical mainstays they are now.

    1. The weird little CF10 and CN20 were released in late 1990, at a time when Atari ST and Mac based sequencers were already mainstays of music studios around the globe.

  2. I had my hair-pulling days, wrestling with clunky interfaces and lack of clues about basic operations. I wanted to kill a couple of hexadecimal displays with a big hammer. At least Roland kept showing real progress and earning my cash.

    I don’t see it as curious or quaint; I see it as another reason to worship my DAW, because its left 98% of that crap in the dust of history, along with a log of the times I screamed like a giant chicken, strangled by fussy wiring. We’ve all been there at some point, I’m sure. 😛

  3. Try reading this aloud while listening to the musical examples:

    “Your call is important to us. Please remain on the line and the next available representative will be right with you.”

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