Roland Intros FANTOM EX Upgrade

Roland today introduce the FANTOM EX Upgrade, a major software update to the FANTOM series of synth keyboards.

The FANTOM EX Upgrade offers new features and workflow enhancements, including:

  • Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) architecture
  • Two deeply expressive grands: German Concert V-Piano Expansion 01 and SuperNATURAL Acoustic Piano 3 Expansion
  • A refreshed V-Piano interface with an attractive new graphical design
  • Two of Roland’s most recent Model Expansion titles, driven by the ZEN-Core engine: JD-800 Model Expansion and n/zyme Model Expansion
  • A smoother workflow and deeper feature set
  • New Shimmer Reverb and Modulation Reverb
  • An expanded DAW control with profiles for Steinberg Cubase and PreSonus Studio One
  • New preset templates for faster workflow

FANTOM EX Features:

  • Feature-rich system expansion for the flagship FANTOM 6, 7, and 8 synthesizers
  • JUPITER-8 ACB Expansion and SH-101 ACB Expansion* with authentic sound and response, powered by Roland’s Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB)
  • German Concert V-Piano Expansion 01, previously only available for the RD-2000 stage piano
  • Newly developed SuperNATURAL Acoustic Piano 3 Expansion
  • JD-800 Model Expansion recreates the landmark Roland digital synth from 1991
  • n/zyme Model Expansion, a powerful modern synthesizer engine designed for the FANTOM environment
  • New studio-grade Shimmer Reverb and Modulation Reverb effect types
  • New V-Piano graphical interface
  • Added DAW control profiles for Cubase and Studio One
  • Mastering EQ and Mastering Comp template functions and new graphical interfaces

Josh Blair on producing Duran Duran with the Roland FANTOM EX:

FANTOM EX Audio Demos:

See the Roland site for details.

20 thoughts on “Roland Intros FANTOM EX Upgrade

  1. The new ACB programs with added detail are very cool. And FINALLY the JD-800! We’ll have to see if there are any massive changes to the sequencer since it can now work with Cubase and Studio One. Good job though, Roland. Too bad it’s $200. Still though, I’m impressed.

    1. $200 is a pretty good deal if you’ve already spent $3k on a workstation. Imagine how pissed off those folks would have been if Roland had discontinued the current Fantoms and released the EX as an updated keyboard.

  2. Adding ACB, that is good news. It seemed a little bit if they were moving away from ACB. I thought it sounded better then ABM or ZEN. So I think this is a good move.

  3. If you’re going to go all-in with a workstation, I think the Fantom is besting Korg & Yamaha by a couple of light years. The pianos are gorgeous. The JD-800 and n/zyme add a lot of synth beef. I know work$tations have fierce price tags, but you can’t view it through the same lens as a DAW or a tabletop full of mini synths. You get bigger libraries, better keybeds, more knobs and more advanced GUI niceties. A Fantom feeding a DAW should keep you busy for a decade or two.

    1. Well, I’m an old timer and can say, been there done that. I went from Analog non-midi to midi synths, to workstations to keyboard controllers, DAW and soft synths. I miss the immediacy of hardware. That could lead me to the Fantom 8, Yamaha M8x or Nord Stage 88.

      Using: Roland RD-2000, Hydrasynth Deluxe, Mac Studio, Studio Display, Logic Pro, Arturia:V Collection 9/Cherry Audio:GX-80, Dreamsynth, Quadra/ G-Force: OB-E, Oddity3/VPS Avenger/Korg:MS20,Triton/Native:Komplete 14/Roland Cloud Pro/Spectrasonics:Keyscape,Omnisphere/uhe:Diva,Hive,Zebra2/HZ
      Sold: Korg:Kronos 88,T3,MS20,Yamaha:Motif XS8,Motif ES8,Motif 8,KX88,TX7, Oberheim:Modular 8 Voice,OBXa,OB8,Prophet 5,Roland D50,Dyno-My-Rhodes,Crumar T2

  4. K2700 still sounds better tooo my ear’s, with better action tooo & for cheaper dinero¡ That being said; i hafts say the ‘shimmer’ & ‘modulation’ algos i’ve seen demonstrated are pretty darn impressive, especially the(ir) realtime expressive abilities kid’s¡! thanx folks

  5. I could close my eyes and hear “The Roland Sound”. Especially their Brass patches.

    On the other hand, updated and realistic pianos are not as impressive a feat as they once were.

    In the spirit of the Integra-7, I’d seriously consider a Roland DAW-in-a-box which uses their ACB methodology to emulate their old analog mixers, FX modules and pedals. One could go all-in on the Roland sound and do so in a simple and straight-forward fashion.

    Their dev team would laugh all the way to work as porting their existing digital product would be a breeze and they could trickle updates and models for years and years.

  6. Leaning towards Montage M8x….will need to fly to Chuck Levins, Sweetwater or Sam Ash NYC to play the GEX and Stage 4 88 actions. I already have an RD-2000 so, the PHA-50 action is a known entity.

  7. Yes, each company has a basic sound, but the trick is knowing how to massage it. That’s why I’ve owned a few pieces from most of the name companies. The $#@! iffy keybeds can be an issue, but not the engines. Those have become too refined to criticize much. If you have 3 or so synths from different makers, you have a ton of the sonic buffet covered.

    If you can drop $3K or so on a Fantom, you’re also going to mix-&-match with a couple of modules or mini-synths from elsewhere. The variety of flavors is too tempting.

  8. Trying to find out what the differences between V3 and the EX OS are:

    As I understand it any ACB model has to be loaded in channel 1 so you have gone from having the ability to load 16 Jupiter 8’s with more than 8 note polyphony to a single Jupiter 8 with 8 note polyphony.

    You also cannot have a scene that uses a Jupiter 8 an SH101 and a VPiano like you could with the previous OS, you can only have one of these models per scene is this correct?

    If you have already purchased the N/Zyme model for $149 you have to pay again

    Can the EX OS still run the old versions of the Jupiter 8 and SH101 models and the JX8P and Juno 106 models?

    Can the V3 OS run the new JD800 model?

    1. I’ll give them credit: current Nzyme owners do get a $100 discount towards EX version. I wrote to Roland and they responded with this info. A few days later, being Friday, the coupon redemtion procedure came in email.

      The other concerns you posted are excellent points and technical clarity would be nice.

      I can’t believe they haven’t made it where the level of 1, 4, 8, or 16 part zoom upon entering a choose scene is preset in system settings (maybe it is and they haven’t mentioned that super minor improvement…I don’t know cause I haven’t sprung for it yet)

      1. Just watched the Ed Diaz Fantom EX install video and at about timestamp 8:50 where he is installing expansions the screen still shows all the existing Zen Core models JP8, SH101, Juno106, JX8P etc so that would look like you could run a JP8 and SH101 either as an ACB or a Zencore model in a scene which is good to have the choice

      2. Just had a reply form Roland, looks like you can use all of the existing ZenCore models on the EX OS so it will be interesting to see someone review the ZenCore JP8 and SH101 against the ACB versions

        “The following model expansions are compatible with the EX Upgraded Fantom.
        JD-800 Model Expansion
        Included in FANTOM EX Upgrade.

        JUNO-106 Model Expansion
        JUPITER-8 Model Expansion
        JX-8P Model Expansion
        SH-101 Model Expansion
        n/zyme Model Expansion”

  9. I contacted Roland and told them that, if they give me a free Fantom 8 EX, I’d be willing to reduce my standard endorsement fee for their advertising. I haven’t heard back yet but expect to soon. Once I get the new keyboard, I’ll come back here and provide my thoughts/review.

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