Perhaps unsurprisingly considering how many synth-type goodies they announced last Autumn, Roland and Boss are focusing on guitar and drums at NAMM, starting with a new series of V-Drums designed to look like traditional wooden-shell drums, and the TD-27, a new sound module featuring 700 sounds and 55 preset kits. Three new ‘Acoustic Design’ V‑Drum kits are available, ranging from $2500 to $4800.
The SY-1000 stompbox-format guitar synth is a development of the SY-300 reviewed by Paul White in SOS October 2015 (see https://sosm.ag/BossSY300). As with that older synth, you can trigger some of the sounds by connecting your guitar or bass conventionally via a jack, but for full access to all of the synth and modelling features, you need a GK‑compatible split pickup. There are three different synth engines: two based on subtractive synthesis and an emulation of the original GR-300 guitar synth from the 1970s. There are also modelled guitar and bass sounds and effects derived from the Boss GT-1000. The $999 SY-1000 should be out by the time you read this.
The innovative $399.99 Waza-Air Wireless amplification system (below right) claims to offer realistic-sounding guitar amplification over wireless headphones, with all the ‘in-room tone’ of a real amplifier playing out into an acoustic space, but with the neighbourly advantage that only the player hears the output! The headphone-based output also allows Roland’s psychoacoustic 3D processing to be used — the custom headphones can track head movements and process the sound accordingly. The system accepts Bluetooth streaming audio for practice backing tracks and can also be controlled via an Android or iOS app.
NAMM 2020 isn't all rock-orientated tech — Roland are also showing the $1199.99 RD88 hammer-action stage piano and a MkII update to the A88 weighted-action controller keyboard, both equipped with 88-note PH4 keyboards. The $999.99 A88 MkII (below) is Roland’s first product to support the MIDI 2.0 spec and adds USB-C connectivity and eight assignable pads. Both keyboards will be available later in spring.
We hope to bring you UK pricing for all of these launches shortly.