Friday, March 11, 2011

Wrapping Up Roland

Earlier this week I said I hoped to have a stop-motion piece for Friday. But today is Friday and I don’t. Oops. That stop-motion thing will be rescheduled and—Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise—that post will appear sometime in the future.

But I might do two posts today.

For right now I just wanted to catch up a little.

I’ve mentioned that Roland ad, twice, for their Juno Gi keyboard that featured a guitar player. When I first mentioned it in Thinking About Perspective I was just too lazy to reach over and switch on my scanner to make a copy of the ad. And the second time I mentioned it in Quasi Una Atomic Octopus Fantasia I couldn’t find the ad in any magazine any more.

A couple of months ago the ad was in every music magazine I read. Now I don’t see it anywhere.

I don’t know if that means the ad just ran its course, or that the ad wasn’t generating any favorable response. Sadly, right now I don’t know anybody in the advertising business so I can’t get any behind-the-scenes gossip.

At any rate, today I drove over to a Borders and found an old magazine with the ad. Here it is. I’m not going to link it, because if anyone wants to see a bigger version of it they can just click on it.

Look—it’s an ad for a keyboard, featuring a guitar player (guess the included synthesized guitar sounds aren’t all that great?) —

I don’t know who that musician is, and I don’t know his band—Shiny Toy Guns—but it’s worth pointing out that when Roland was pushing their new really good workstation, the Fantom series, Shiny Toy Guns was hawking the Fantom series. Now they’re hawking the Juno series. Hmmm.

Roland is an odd company. The whole Juno line is odd. All the Juno keyboards look almost exactly alike, and their names are almost identical. You have to read the fine print in the spec sheets to see the differences. The main differences seem to be that some run on batteries and some don’t, and some have sequencers and some have audio recorders.

I’m not sure if everyone knows the difference between a sequencer and a recorder, but, really, the bottom line is that any real workstation should have both. (My arranger keyboard has both and it’s just an arranger keyboard.) You use—in general—the sequencer to fine-tune a composition or an arrangement and then you use the recorder to create a version of the song that can be shared among audio programs or audio devices.

(A recorder stores digital information about sound. A sequencer stores MIDI codes about musical events. These digital days, both can be manipulated but in different ways.)

So I think this post wraps up my comments about Roland. The Juno Gi looks nice and runs on batteries (and it comes with DAW software for a computer and that provides sequencer capabilities that the keyboard lacks) but it’s pretty expensive. Really. If you just about double the price you can get a Korg Kronos when they come out.

The Kronos doesn’t run on batteries but it vastly more than doubles the capabilities of something like the Juno Gi.


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