Author Topic: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)  (Read 3797 times)

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Offline pjd

What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« on: May 01, 2017, 06:53:33 AM »
Hi --

Roland are introducing the GO:KEYS and GO:PIANO keyboards to compete against Yamaha's entry-level 'boards. Street price is $299 USD.

I don't want to start a Roland vs. Yamaha thread since our site is for Yamaha enthusiasts. However, it's worth checking out the following YouTube video to see a different approach to interacting with the keyboard to build up an arrangement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW7P7iQWZI8

The approach is similar to the old Yamaha DJX series. Also, Joe, another source for phrases.  :D

It will be interesting to see Yamaha's answer. A revival of the old DJX?

All the best -- pj

P.S. YouTube has GO:KEYS demos for drum'n'bass, hip hop, etc. I'm sure you'll find them when you're there.


Offline SciNote

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 01:18:08 PM »
This is interesting, as I was just wondering if a company like Roland would come out with a lower-priced keyboard to compete with the Yamaha PSR-E series.  On this video, while the sound seems very good, as well as the choice of backgrounds, it does seem more geared to playing with automatic backgrounds, which is not what I usually do.  I mainly just use the styles for drums, and then play as much as I can manually, often using the split keyboard feature to vary the sounds, or using multiple keyboards at once on my main keyboard set-up.

So, questions I'd have about this keyboard would be... Can you split the keyboard for free-form playing on both parts of the split (not just automatic chords on the left part)?  If so, can you change the split point?  How many sounds does it have?  Can they be modified in any way, such as with reverb, chorusing, filter, envelope generator, and DSP?  Can these modifications be saved to registrations?  How many registrations?

Basically, I'd want to see if it was superior to my PSR-E433, or to the new E453, in terms such as how many registrations it has, what its maximum polyphony is, how many overall sounds it has, what kind of sound modification and DSP effects it has, and if it has easy/live editing features for the sounds (I don't see any control knobs or pitch bend wheel in the video, but the video doesn't seem to show the far left and right sides of the keyboard, either).  Basically, when I look for a keyboard, I look more toward synthesizer-type functions than pure arranger type functions.  By the way, not crazy about the 1960's-style red color!
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 01:20:55 PM by SciNote »
Bob
Yamaha PSR-E433
Yamaha PSR-520
 

Online voodoo

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 12:27:20 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW7P7iQWZI8

Hi PJ,

thank you for this very interesting link. It is always refreshing to see other approaches.

Uli
Yamaha PSR-S970
Nord Electro 5D
 

Offline pjd

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 06:01:52 AM »
Hi Bob --

Good list of questions! The GO:KEYS and GO:PIANO manuals are available at the Roland site. I have an E443 in addition to the S950, which gets most of the work. Without going down the R vs. Y path too far, Roland made its own set of compromises to offer an entry-level keyboard. Voice-wise, the GO:KEYS has about 200+ "panel" voices and a GM2 sound set. The panel voices are from the JUNO-DS (and a few of its successors) and are all preset -- no editing, multi-effects (DSP), but only REVERB level is adjustable.

Both the GO:KEYS and the E4xx are targeting new players. Roland's promotion is something like "No experience necessary!" The GO:KEYS is strictly contemporary styles (no trad styles like country, jazz, big band, etc.)

I was thinking about both the Roland approach and DJ-styles last night. The Roland approach is more like sample-based construction sets. All the loops in the construction set are compatible with each other in terms of groove and key. It's easy to put an arrangement together, but you quickly get boxed into a particular groove. I don't know if it's possible to add more phrases to the GO:KEYS; we can certainly add more DJ-styles on the Yamaha 'boards.

I do like the instant gratification of the key zones, tho'.

All the best -- pj

P.S. If someone wants funkier, jazzier DJ-styles, you can download some free styles at http://sandsoftwaresound.net/free-djx-ii-styles-for-psr/  The DJ styles should play on most any PSR/Tyros.
 
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Online voodoo

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2017, 04:50:43 AM »
The Roland approach is more like sample-based construction sets. All the loops in the construction set are compatible with each other in terms of groove and key. It's easy to put an arrangement together, but you quickly get boxed into a particular groove.

That's what impression I got from the demo, a sample based construction set. It remembered me to two things:

* The Mellotron first offered a sample construction set with fragments of various rhythms
    http://www.nordkeyboards.com/sound-libraries/nord-sample-library-20/sound-collections/mellotron-master-tapes

* I bought a toy guitar in a super market around the corner offering a similar sample set
   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgU8egOERdo

I made some samples of the guitar and put them in the YEM. I will post this set later. ;)

Uli
Yamaha PSR-S970
Nord Electro 5D
 

Offline pjd

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2017, 06:23:51 AM »
Hi --

I just bought a GO:KEYS. Please find initial comments here:

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/roland-gokeys-first-impressions/

All the best -- pj
 
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Online voodoo

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2017, 07:12:31 AM »
Hi --

I just bought a GO:KEYS. Please find initial comments here:

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/roland-gokeys-first-impressions/

All the best -- pj

Cool. Thank you for the report. I like watching the competition as well.
Yamaha PSR-S970
Nord Electro 5D
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2017, 08:23:05 AM »
That was a good review! It's too bad the manual doesn't include a MIDI implementation chart, because it would be nice to know whether you can tweak any voice, filter, and effects parameters via CC messages. In fact, they don't even list the Bank Select and Program Change values for the voices. I didn't see a separate MIDI reference for it listed at their web site.
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443
 

Offline pjd

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2017, 10:16:02 AM »
Hi Uli and Michael --

Thanks!

I spent a little time monitoring the USB MIDI with MIDI OX. Why play a new keyboard when you can look at HEX instead? :-)

The GO:KEYS bank and patch select numbers follow the JUNO-DS patch map. Before anyone gets excited, no, I wasn't able to select any hidden drum kits or voices. GM2 voice selection is, well, GM2 compatible.

I haven't explored CCs or the touch panel implementation (yet). I'm not holding my breath for full GM2 compatibility including the CCs to tweak filter. Roland are pretty good about limiting their claims. If it was full GM2 compatible, they would have slapped the logo on the box. Why hide a desirable feature like that?

MIDI-wise, they assign a separate channel to each panel voice category (PIANO, ORGAN, etc.) and assign a separate channel to each of the "style" parts (Drum, Bass, Part A, Part B, and the four subparts in Part X). Channel 10 is the USER drum kit and Channel 16 is the drum part.

The GO:KEYS does not transmit "style" MIDI data in Loop Mix mode. I discovered the channel layout by looking at a .MID file produced by the GO:KEYS. Speaking of which, I expected the .MID file to have all sorts of SysEx. Nada! It is the most bare naked SMF that I've looked at in a long time. Metadata for song name, tempo, time signature, patch for each channel, volume for each channel, and that's all the set-up!

I'm planning to post what I learn just so I can find the info again when I need it. I'm trying to figure out Roland's chord recognition today.

I'll say that Yamaha definitely does a better job at documentation!

All the best -- pj
 
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Offline pjd

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2017, 11:12:01 AM »
OK, just spent a little more time with MIDI OX and a JUNO-DS manual.

The JUNO-DS is not GM compatible. Like the GO:KEYS, the JUNO-DS manual says "GM2 compatible sound set included" and does not have the GM2 logo.

The JUNO-DS -- and the GO:KEYS -- have MIDI CC messages that are similar to the GM2, including the same controller number in some cases. The GO:KEYS responds to the JUNO-DS messages.

Also, there are two touch strips (lower and upper). Both strips always send pitch bend and modulation messages. The upper strip sends non-zero MOD and non-zero PB values; the lower strips sends non-zero PB and zero MOD values. So, the upper strip messes with both parameters at once and the lower strip just messes with PB while resetting MOD to zero.

This bites because you can switch the rotary speaker speed via MOD. Since the upper strip sends both PB and MOD, you bend the organ sound as well as switching speed! See, Roland messes up just as bad as Yamaha sometimes.  ;)

Note to self: Turn down the monitors before tweaking cut-off. I'm still scraping parts of my brain off the wall.  :'(

Hope this helps -- pj

Offline pjd

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2017, 06:58:26 AM »
GO:KEYS is now GONE:KEYS.

The defective key became much worse while I was practicing. The key is A below middle C and that's vital!

Before returning the GO:KEYS, I put together a quick demo track with Ableton Live. Here's the blog post:

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/roland-gokeys-is-gonekeys/

Roland could have a winner with this product, but need to resolve quality issues.

All the best -- pj

Music technology blog: http://sandsoftwaresound.net
 

Offline ugawoga

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2017, 08:46:00 AM »
Roland go keys

A kids toy 8)
 

Offline Joe H

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2017, 01:11:57 PM »
This is another recycle technology instrument.

The GO KEYS is like a MIDI version spin-off of the Roland Loop Station which is audio.  I first heard of the Loop Station several years ago while attending a benefit performance by a guitar player and Sax / Flute player.   

But then again, GO KEYS is maybe just a simple arranger that is implemented slightly different than a traditional arranger.  E-MU also had arp / pattern-based keyboards where parts were triggered by hitting certain keys.  The arps were more like step sequences because they played specific notes that wasn't chord recognition technology so the patterns didn't follow left hand chords.  Everything was pre-programmed as far as chord progressions (kind of like the DJ styles on the S970)

I call all of that stuff push-button music, unlike our arrangers where 10 people could play the same style and come up with 10 unique arrangements.

Joe H

Music is the Universal Language!

My Article: Using Multi Pads for EDM. Download Regs, Styles & MPs:  http://psrtutorial.com/music/articles/dancemusic.html
 

Offline pjd

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2017, 01:24:53 PM »
Hi folks --

Recycled? Sure, at $300 USD street it's not going to a Montage.  :D

Roland did a good job incorporating the sound engine from the JUNO-DS into the GO:KEYS. Loop Mix aside, it's like playing JUNO-DS junior. The electric pianos and many other voices are newer and fresher than Yamaha's recycled technology in this price bracket. My PSR-E443 sounds like the PSR-273 that I bought in 2003. The GO:KEYS has decent multi-FX although everything is preset.

I was a heavy Roland user up to the XV-5050, so I know their sound pretty well. I don't care so much about the Loop Mix stuff, but the GO:KEYS electric pianos sound better than the factory electric pianos in the S950.

Well, fortunately, if it was going to fail, I'm glad that it failed early enough to make a return rather than a warranty repair or worse.

Hey, hey, all the best -- pj
 
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Online Jeff Hollande

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2017, 11:46:44 PM »
I wonder if Roland will ever come back with a highend arranger keyboard. 8)

Jeff
XGW - SONAR PLATINUM - CUBASE 8 WIN - MIXCRAFT8
 

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2017, 07:13:04 AM »
I wonder if Roland will ever come back with a highend arranger keyboard. 8)

Jeff

My opinion is that they have signaled their future direction with the release of the EA-7 which is geared toward the world market rather than just US or North America. They may release a model above this in the $2000 to $2500 range, but that would still not really be considered a high end arranger. Roland has a good lineup of synths and stage pianos and that is probably their bread and butter.
Current Gear: Roland E-A7, KRK Rokit 5s.
Previously Owned: Yamaha PSR-740, Yamaha PSR-1100, Yamaha PSR-S750, Roland BK-3.
 

Online Jeff Hollande

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2017, 07:54:47 AM »
That might be the answer. ;)

But Roland, once the arranger keyboard leader, must have the technology to come back one day ... who knows.

Jeff
XGW - SONAR PLATINUM - CUBASE 8 WIN - MIXCRAFT8
 
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Online Bachus

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2017, 09:51:50 AM »
I wonder if Roland will ever come back with a highend arranger keyboard. 8)

Jeff

Roland is out of the high end (price) class

However, their midrange products like EA7 or the FA series workstation are actually quite competitive...  for around 1000 the ea7 as well as the FA06 blow away their competition in that price range and arent to far off from the high end...
Life is like a box of chocolats, you never know what you are gonna get, so enjoy them all.  I am wayting for the next box of chocolate the Yamaha Genos.

Admin of : www.keyszone.boards.net
 

Online Jeff Hollande

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2017, 12:04:17 PM »
Hi B,

Is it a price problem or did Roland make an agreement with Yamaha and Korg to leave the high end arranger keyboard business?

Jeff
XGW - SONAR PLATINUM - CUBASE 8 WIN - MIXCRAFT8
 

Offline mikf

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2017, 02:47:57 PM »
Jeff - It would be illegal to make such agreements. Much more likely they just made a business decision that  a viable share of the high end market would be difficult, even if they developed a great product, and they would concentrate their effort on the much larger lower end where they might actually have a very competitive product.
Mike 
 

Online Bachus

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2017, 11:43:28 AM »
Hi B,

Is it a price problem or did Roland make an agreement with Yamaha and Korg to leave the high end arranger keyboard business?

Jeff

No, the high end is not proffitable enough for Roland to invest in...

Worldwide the ea7 is the best selling arranger right now... making Roland a lot of Dollars...  its espescially very big in Asia..
Life is like a box of chocolats, you never know what you are gonna get, so enjoy them all.  I am wayting for the next box of chocolate the Yamaha Genos.

Admin of : www.keyszone.boards.net
 

Online Jeff Hollande

Re: What the competition is up to (Roland GO:KEYS)
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2017, 04:05:47 AM »
The Roland EA7 seems not to be popular in Europe though.
It is not a secret Yamaha is there the absolute leader, I guess.

Jeff
XGW - SONAR PLATINUM - CUBASE 8 WIN - MIXCRAFT8