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Musikmesse 2013: Roland announces BK-9 Backing Keyboard

New flagship BK model

MUSIKMESSE 2013: Roland has announced the launch of the BK-9 Backing Keyboard, set to be the new flagship model in the series.

Key features include dual LCD screens, a 76-note keyboard, a built-in 16-track sequencer, 1,700 sounds and 70 drum kits, five multi-effects engines and USB playback/recording abilities. The BK-9 also brings iOS compatibility via wireless network, or USB connection (via Apple's camera connection kit).

Aimed well and truly at the live performer, the BK-9 also has an XLR mic input and a composite video output, which Roland says can be used to display lyrics and images. Despite its size, the firm is also claiming that the BK-9 is surprisingly portable, weighing in at 9.4kg.

Check out the full press release below.

Roland BK-9 Backing Keyboard press release

The BK-9 Backing Keyboard is the new flagship instrument in the acclaimed BK series, bringing together sensational sounds, top-class rhythms, and an incredible selection of premium features. You have a world of music under fingertip control, with a massive sound selection—including Roland's renowned SuperNATURAL sounds—and a huge range of completely remastered rhythm accompaniments in nearly every musical genre, from classic to modern. An innovative dual LCD system and intuitive panel layout make it easy to direct your virtual band, while powerful effects and assignable real-time controls let you select and shape sounds with ease. With numerous additional highlights such as USB song playback/recording, an onboard 16-track sequencer, Rhythm Composer, and much more, the BK-9 is a powerhouse music machine for professional performing, song composition, and casual enjoyment at home.

  • Flagship 76-note instrument with top-level sounds, industry-leading auto-accompaniment features, and a lightweight, mobile design
  • Over 1,700 sounds and 70 drum kits, including 22 SuperNATURAL sounds and 500 all-new tones
  • Legendary Virtual Tone Wheel organs, with dedicated harmonic bars for authentic vintage organ performance
  • 540 rhythms (including 25 new rhythms), remastered for exceptional audio quality; over 1000 Music Assistants onboard
  • Five independent multi-effects engines (MFX), plus dedicated mastering effects
  • All-new user interface with intuitive panel layout, powerful dual LCD system, and Mixer function
  • Professional 16-track sequencer and built-in Rhythm Composer; Chord Loop and Audio Key functions
  • Song playback/recording, unlimited Performance List storage, and more from convenient USB memory
  • XLR mic input with dedicated reverb effect; composite video output for displaying lyrics and photos
  • Compatible with Apple iOS devices via Roland Wireless Connect; supports USB connection to iPad with Apple's iPad Camera Connection Kit
  • Free iOS apps include BK Partner, Lyrics Viewer, Air Recorder, and more

Highly Mobile Pro Instrument, Built for Live Performance

Equipped with a pro-quality 76-note keyboard and weighing less than 21 pounds (9.4 kg), the BK-9 is surprisingly light, making it easy to carry anywhere you want to play. Its user interface has been designed for maximum efficiency and ease of use while performing, with an innovative dual LCD system, logical panel layout, and many dedicated and user-assignable controls. 10 Favorite tones can be stored for each real-time part, an extremely convenient feature for live playing. 1000 onboard Music Assistants provide instant setups for every musical style, and you can save an unlimited number of custom setups as Performance Lists to USB memory.

Massive Sound Selection

A flagship instrument deserves a flagship sound set, and the BK-9 delivers with over 1,700 fantastic sounds and 70 drum kits. 22 sounds feature Roland's renowned SuperNATURAL technology, providing ultra-realistic acoustic instrument tones with an incredible range of natural expression. Also included are 500 all-new tones, specially selected for the BK-9 from the expansive Roland libraries. The Virtual Tone Wheel sound engine puts legendary organ tones at your fingers, with front-panel harmonic bars and a rotary effect for authentic organ performance. The BK-9 is also equipped for future expansion, with a User Tone area dedicated for upcoming BK-series sound collections.

Remastered Rhythms

Filled with full-ensemble accompaniments in almost every musical style imaginable, the BK-9 lets you lead the world's most versatile backing band as you play. 540 built-in rhythms include 25 new selections, and all the rhythms have been remastered with the BK-9's superior sounds and powerful new effects processing for impressive audio quality straight from the recording studio. Via USB memory, unlimited additional rhythms can be added, and MP3, WAV, and SMF files can be played as well.

Multi-Effects and Onboard Mixing

Five independent multi-effects engines (MFX) offer an enormous range of sound processing possibilities, with three MFX dedicated to rhythms and two MFX dedicated to real-time parts. Global reverb and chorus effects are available as well, along with two mastering processors that allow you to optimize the sound of the rhythm and real-time sections separately to suit performance venues and add final polish for recordings. A great new feature for live playing is the Mixer function, which gives you instant adjustment of rhythm and real-time part levels, MFX parameters, and more using the harmonic bars on the front panel.

Powerful Tools for Creativity

A built-in 16-track sequencer provides a professional platform for composing and editing SMF data, while the Rhythm Composer lets you create and customize your own rhythms with ease. The convenient Chord Loop feature instantly captures rhythm backings as WAV audio loops, and also makes it simple to build chord sequences from rhythms to use for composing in the sequencer. With the Audio Key function, audio files stored on USB memory can be assigned to the top seven keyboard keys for quick-access playback while performing. Additionally, BK-9 performances can be easily recorded directly to USB memory as CD-ready WAV audio.

Extras for Entertaining

If you sing or work with a vocalist, you'll appreciate the BK-9's convenient XLR microphone input, which features phantom power, a dedicated reverb effect, and easily accessible front-panel controls. A composite Video Out jack is also provided, allowing you to display embedded MP3/SMF lyrics and chord symbols on an external video monitor for performance assistance or sing-along entertaining. Photo slideshows can be displayed as well, letting your audience enjoy custom images while listening to your music.

Roland Wireless Connect and Free iOS Apps

The BK-9 is compatible with Roland Wireless Connect, which provides cable-free communication with Apple's iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via Roland's optional WNA1100-RL Wireless USB Adapter. An iPad can also be connected directly to the BK-9 with a USB cable using Apple's iPad Camera Connection Kit. Many free iOS apps are available to enhance your BK-9 experience, including Air Recorder for jamming and capturing performances (iPhone/iPad), BK Partner for selecting tones and rhythms (iPad), Lyrics Viewer for displaying SMF lyrics (iPad), and a number of others.

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