The Roland A-01 is a powerful compact ‘pocket module’ synthesizer with powerful sound engine, and analogue connectivity. A controller is a vital part of any music production setup, but choosing the right one can be a dilemma. You want a unit with the flexibility to drive all your MIDI and CV/GATE-equipped analog gear. You need to connect to the huge range of music-making apps for tablets and smartphones. And as a modern musician moving from gig to gig, you need to be able to work on projects whenever inspiration strikes. The Roland A-01 ticks all of your boxes—whether you want to warm up backstage, control every element of an elaborate home studio setup, or create original music from scratch, this flexible controller and sound generator is your one-stop solution.
Once you’ve built your music-production setup, it’s frustrating if your MIDI controller can’t interface with all the elements. Whether you’re playing modern MIDI or vintage analog synths, working on a home computer, or touring with an iOS device, the A-01 module is a truly open-ended controller offering multiple connectivity options for every MIDI format. For legacy MIDI synths, simply use the standard MIDI IN/OUT socket. To work with your favorite DAW software on a Mac or PC, there’s the USB MIDI jack, while MIDI over Bluetooth allows for production work on a tablet or smartphone as well as a computer. Better still, there’s no need to ditch your faithful analog gear, as the A-01’s CV/GATE OUT supports classic equipment, including vintage modular synths.
You’d expect a good MIDI controller to take charge of your setup. What you might not realize is that the A-01 is also a pocket synthesizer that lets you create original music at home or away. With an 8-bit CPU sound engine developed by the engineer responsible for Roland classics including the JX-3P, this module echoes the concept of the Roland Boutique family. Docking into the optional Roland K-25m keyboard unit, you’ll have 25 velocity-sensitive keys at your fingertips for creating music in real time and driving external gear. Combined with a 16-step sequencer for sparking ambitious musical ideas, the A-01 goes far beyond control and kick starts your creativity.
Whether you’re working on a complex studio arrangement or triggering synths at a gig, it’s vital to have a MIDI controller that gives you the information you need at a glance. Thanks to the A-01’s intuitive operation and visual representation of data—plus the optional K-25m keyboard unit—you’ll always be in control. Cleanly designed for real-time performance, the module has dedicated dials and dual ribbon controllers assignable to pitch bend, modulation, sound preview, and channel and polyphonic aftertouch, as well as CC and system exclusive data. Even in a pitch-black venue, you’ll be kept in the loop by a 192×40 graphic LCD screen, which gives you all the facts, right down to the shape of the output waveform.
As a modern musician, your career pulls you between stage, studio, and band practice, and you don’t want to be slowed down by a cumbersome MIDI controller. Despite its heavyweight tech, the A-01 is light on its feet. The ultra-compact, metal-paneled design is pocket-sized, weighs 950 grams/36 ounces, and is powered by either batteries (4 x AA) or USB bus power. It’s practical for playback, too, with your choice between the built-in 0.5 W mini-speaker or plugging in headphones.