Roland redesigns its Fantom performance and production keyboards for the pro market

A perennial favourite among pro live performers and music producers who want to produce their music using a single device, Roland’s Fantom range has been rebooted and redesigned. There are three models in the new line-up: Fantom 6, 7 and 8.

These join the MC-707 and MC-101 grooveboxes, Juno-inspired JU-06A Boutique synth and Jupiter-X synth in Roland's new product line-up, which is being unveiled today.

In the case of the Fantoms, the story starts with the interface, which is said to be ‘modeless’. Roland suggests that it provides a consistent working experience at all times, so you never need to worry about whether a certain feature is available to you.

This being a workstation, it’s no surprise that the sound engine is versatile - expect electronic, acoustic and hybrid tones. What’s more, synthesis technologies can be combined, and there’s both an analogue filter and a comprehensive selection of effects.

Roland is also keen to talk-up the power of the new Fantom’s DSP engine, which enables all 16 parts to run with all available effects simultaneously.

In terms of the keys themselves, the 61-note Fantom 8 and 76-note Fantom 7 both have a new semi-weighted action, while the Fantom 8 benefits from a PHA-50 ‘board. Control is via a colour touchscreen and multiple knobs, sliders and buttons.

If you want to record on the unit, you’ll find RGB pads, a TR-REC style pattern sequencer, and real-time recording with piano roll editing. You can also record and launch clips from a grid.

That said, the Fantoms become even more versatile when connected to a computer. Apple's Logic Pro and MainStage can be operated from the touchscreen and panel controls, and software instruments can be controlled and combined with Fantom’s internal sounds. Dual CV/Gate outputs mean that you can bring modular and analogue synths to the party, too.

The Fantom 8, Fantom 7 and Fantom 6 will be available in September for $4,000, $3,600, and $3,300 respectively. Pro prices, then, but hopefully with pro performance to match.

Find out more on the Roland website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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