NAMM 2016 VIDEO: Roland's A-01 is both MIDI controller and tone generator

NAMM 2016: We've said before that it's hard to predict what Roland is going to do next these days, and we'll admit that we weren't expecting a product quite in the vein of the A-01, a MIDI controller/sound generator.

The idea is that you use this to control MIDI and CV/Gate equipped analogue gear, and it comes with its own 16-step sequencer. However, it also contains an 8-bit CPU sound generator and a built-in speaker.

Connectivity-wise you get standard MIDI I/O, USB MIDI (so you can use the A-01 with a computer) and also a wireless MIDI option via Bluetooth LE. There's also that CV/Gate out.

As you may have noticed, the A-01's form factor looks the same as that of the Roland Boutique modules (though we're not sure if it's officially part of the range), so it should come as no surprise to learn that it's compatible with the K-25m keyboard. Built-in controllers include assignable knobs and dual ribbon controllers, while the A-01 comes in a compact metal chassis and can be powered by batteries or over USB.

The A-01 will be available in February priced at £309. 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.