Roland Announces A-01 MIDI Controller and Sound Generator

Roland has unveiled the A-01, a flexible MIDI controller and sound generator for music production on the move. Offering control over MIDI and CV/Gate-equipped analog gear, an onboard tone generator and step sequencer, the A-01 delivers in every music-making scenario, especially when paired with the optional Roland K-25m keyboard. The A0-1’s compact size, built-in speaker and battery/USB power make it the most portable unit in its class.

The A-01 is a truly open-ended controller module, with multiple connectivity options including three types of MIDI applications. The standard MIDI IN/OUT is joined by a USB MIDI jack for use with Mac/PC-based DAW software, while wireless MIDI (via Bluetooth LE) allows production work on a Mac, PC, tablet or smartphone. The A-01’s CV/GATE OUT also supports vintage analog gear including modular synths.

Beyond its role as a MIDI controller, the A-01 also features an internal 8-bit CPU sound generator designed by the engineer responsible for some of Roland’s most legendary vintage synths. A 16-step sequencer is also included for sparking ambitious musical ideas, either via the internal synth engine or triggering external instruments. Echoing the concept of the Roland Boutique range, the A-01 module can also be docked into the Roland K-25m keyboard unit, whose 25 velocity-sensitive keys give real-time control over internal and outboard gear, in a package that feels familiar and satisfying to musicians.

The A-01’s intuitive operation makes it ideal for modern music production workflows. Assignable dials provide comprehensive control options over external gear and the internal sound generator, while a 192 x 40mm graphic LCD screen clearly displays key information including the shape of the output waveform. The versatile dual ribbon controllers are assignable to pitch bend, modulation, sound preview and more.

Designed for modern musicians on the move, the A-01 places all these features into an ultra-compact metal unit measuring roughly 2″ H x 12″ W x 5″ D, weighing 950 grams and powered by either rechargeable/alkaline batteries (4x AA) or USB power. For added flexibility, audio playback is possible either through the A-01’s built-in single 0.5W mini-speaker or via headphones.

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