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.
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.