Roland FA-07 Review

Roland’s new FA series completely reimagines the music workstation, streamlining it for effortless real-time power, ultra-fast workflow, and maximum versatility.

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Re: Roland FA07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:04 pm

So your definitely getting on ok with the Montage? It does have it's little foibles but it wouldn't be 'Yamaha' without them ;) Very interested to see what they have done with the Genos as I have a feeling that could be a perfect cross-over between synth and arranger. Certainly looks the part from what I have seen so far. Damned expensive though!
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Re: Roland FA07 Review

Unread post by Derek » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:33 pm

Yes, happy with it so far. Not had much time with it lately due to work pressure :( but hope to get back to some ideas I have soon. I think the Montage and Kronos complement each other quite well. I like the Kronos, but it is also nice to have that "strident" Yamaha sound in a more modern form factor.

I have zero interest in "arrangers", but obviously there is a market out there that is interested! :)

I do wonder if Montage was made a performance synth by Yamaha to burn the middle ground (called a workstation) between performance synth and arranger
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Re: Roland FA07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:49 pm

I rather think that Genos is blurring the lines between Arranger and Montage. I have seen a fair bit of it recently and it certainly has that 'pro' synth feel to it. There is going to be a merging of formats at some point, perhaps Genos is it.
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Re: Roland FA07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:51 pm

By the way, Roland have said the FA07 should be with me by Tuesday or Wed at the latest. Very keen to find out how those keys feel because if they are really good they will definitely have a winner on their hands. My only major criticism of the FA06 was the keys.
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Re: Roland FA07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:58 am

Quick update. The FA-07 arrived, only they forgot the power adapter so it was sitting around for a couple of days looking interesting but unusable. Adapter arrived yesterday so have been able to fire it up and give it a very brief run through.

One thing I can definitely confirm is that the keybed on the FA-07 is miles better than the one fitted to the FA-06! It is semi-weighted and quite nice to play on but will need to give it a few days before commenting more on that.

Biggest issue right now is no compatible driver for MacOS High Sierra 10.13 which means I cannot connect the keyboard to my computer and check out the audio interface or use it over midi. Roland also forgot to include the SD card that normally comes with the FA-07 so I also cannot test loading sounds from the Axial website.

more later....
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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by niv147 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:17 pm

Hello all,

I just found out this thread searching for some opinions around FA07. I'm most interested in your opinion around keyboard feel. (esepecially comparing it to 06 version).
As non of the distributors in Poland have FA07 i'm also want to know if i can compare this keyboard feel to other Roland keyboards ? if yes to which of them?

Thanks.

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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:25 pm

niv147 wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:17 pm
Hello all,

I just found out this thread searching for some opinions around FA07. I'm most interested in your opinion around keyboard feel. (esepecially comparing it to 06 version).
As non of the distributors in Poland have FA07 i'm also want to know if i can compare this keyboard feel to other Roland keyboards ? if yes to which of them?

Thanks.

Cheers
Paul
Hi Paul and welcome to the forum :)

In terms of a direct comparison with the Roland FA-06 the FA-7 keys are much better. This is mainly because they are semi-weighted but also because the dimensions of the keys are more in line with what you would expect. The keys on the FA-06 were a bit of an odd dimension being slightly shorter and with less travel than other keyboards I have owned over the years...and there have been a LOT!

So far so good then :) Were you considering any other keyboards apart from the FA-06?
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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by niv147 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:47 pm

Hi, thanks for answer about differences.
I was thinking also about Korg Krome and Yamaha MoXF 06/08. Accually i played Korg in local music shop and it was nice (keyboard and sounds). They didnt have moxf but i played montage 6, but for some reason i didnt like keyboard feel.
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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:42 pm

Well I have had the opportunity to compare the Korg Krome, Yamaha MOXF and FA-06 side by side and I ended up with the MOXF. It has the best keys out of the three with the KROME a close second and also has great acoustic sounds although I do prefer the warmer pianos of the Korg. I also preferred the Korg interface but I am a fan of Korg keyboards in general so that is hardly surprising.

If the KROME had an audio interface, as the FA-06 and MOXF do then I would probably have gone for it over the other two.

Should be noted that Roland don't yet have a driver for MacOS High Sierra 10.13 which means you cannot use the FA-06/07/08 with a Mac running that OS. That means no audio interface and no midi over usb either. They are working on a driver although quite why it is taking this long I don't know. Also would have helped if the FA had class compliant USB as at least you could use the midi whilst waiting on the audio driver.

Bear in mind that all of these keyboards are now getting on a bit. The MOXF was released at the beginning of 2014, the FA-06 was released at the end of 2014 and the KROME is even older, appearing first quarter of 2013.

Now that is not particularly old in the grand scheme of things but for keyboard tech it is way behind the curve!

All of these boards should really be due for a serious makeover or replacement altogether. So it is worth bearing in mind given Winter Namm is not that far off and who knows what may appear then?
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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by niv147 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:47 pm

Hi,
As i'm not a professional musician and searching for something i can play at home with connection to my PC (Windows based) i think i would just select something from the one I've mention. I will search other music shops around my location to get MOXF6, so i could do a test of it. You mention that it has similar feeling of keyboards as Krome, so it could just work for me. I've also watched a lot of MOXF6 videos and the sounds also are very nice. Thanks for your thoughts about those keyboards.
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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:30 pm

I think you will notice that the MOXF has a better keyboard than the KROME. It is all subjective of course but I had over a month with both and the MOXF definitely has the upper edge in the quality of the keybed.

Apart from the small screen on the MOXF and incredibly slow loading time to the flash card...if you purchase one as it is an optional extra, there is a lot to like about it. Sounds are generally excellent, build quality is good and if you can get your head around the slightly odd way in which Yamaha tend to do things then you will be very happy with it.

IF I were looking to buy right now though I would be either going for a Roland DS or one of the Native Instruments S Series MK2 controllers.
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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:09 pm

Still no Mac OS High Sierra driver for the FA-06/FA-7/FA-8. I thought Roland would have got this out the door by now. Class compliant USB would have been very handy right now.

As there is no driver and I can't connect the FA-07 to the Mac I thought I would explore the downloads from the Axial website. I did do this a few years back when I owned the FA-06 but a refresher is never a bad thing.

Being a big acoustic piano fan I am always keen to find out what is available and how good it is in comparison to the other virtual acoustic pianos I have. So I downloaded the EXP-04 Concert Piano Collection and the EXP-09 Complete Piano Collection.

Installing these into the two virtual expansion slots on the FA-07 is pretty straightforward. You simply transfer the files to a USB stick and plug that into the keyboard. Power off and then hold the preview button at the same time as powering on and after a few seconds you a presented with a screen showing the available EXP files and asking you to choose a slot to load them into. You do this by using the touch pads. It can take around 10 minutes to load depending on the EXP you have chosen.

Have to say my mind hasn't changed since I tried this on the FA-06. I STILL prefer the piano sounds from the EXP cards to the stock pianos in the keyboard. I must qualify that by saying I also preferred the Bosendorfer piano expansion for the Yamaha MOXF to the pianos that come already loaded into that keyboard so it's getting to be a bit of a theme with me ;)

Another neat trick, which I don't think Roland had intended but since the FA series use the same synth engine as the Integra 7 you can actually load a LOT of integra sounds into the FA-07. This is a little different to how you would do it for the EXP cards. To get the Integra sounds into the keyboard you download the files from the Axial website...I tried the 'D-50 Collection powered by Synth Legends' and then transfer them to a 'SD' card not a usb stick.

However you do not need to reboot to load Integra sounds from the SD card. All you do is insert the card into the back of the keyboard. Go to Menu/utility and choose 'Import Studio Set/Tone' Then choose 'Folder' from the bottom left of the display and in the pop up window navigate to /IMPORT and then choose the .SVD file you want to import which in this case would be I7SLD50.SVD there will usually be a another file of the same name but looking like this ...I7SLD50.SVD but ignore that one.

Once you select the file to import the screen will change to the IMPORT (SELECTED SOURCES) screen and you will see a list of empty tone slots. Now choose 'Mark All' from the options at the bottom of the screen and then 'Import'. Confirm you want to import and that's it, job done.

To find the sounds you just imported go back to the main sound selection screen. Use the cursor buttons to navigate down to where it says 'Type' and choose 'SN-S' then move right to 'Bank' and choose 'USER' then move right again until you get to the 'lock' selection and change that to 'unlock' You should now see the sounds you imported in the main window, which in my case it showed the first of the imported D-50 sounds as 0001:SL-D50 1

It sounds a lot more convoluted than it is but it's actually really quick to do. The D-50 sounds were great by the way just a shame there are only 10 of them.

Right, best go dig out the old midi leads and see if I can find my ageing Mackie Spike midi interface :(
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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by niv147 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:31 am

Hi again,

Just to let you know i've bought FA-07 yesterday.
Sounds are amazing (piano, guitars, strings, organs, others ;) ), keeboard also (before i bought it i compared it with 06) - so I'm super excited and happy. Again thx for your thoughs about keyboards and all the advice.

btw don't know if it was on 06/08 but in 07 there are some super cool forms to put on glassy part of the keyboard and the forms are mat - which is grate to keep you keyboard clean :)

Cheers
Paul
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Re: Roland FA-07 Review

Unread post by Saul » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:53 am

Hi Paul

Great to hear that you bought the FA-07! Even better you were able to compare it to the FA-06 in store. There is no substitute for getting your hands on a keyboard. As with guitars it's a very personal thing and what one person loves another may dislike so reviews alone will never tell the full story.

Have you downloaded any sounds from the Axial website yet? They have a great selection there. Plenty to keep you busy for a long time to come. Also sign up for the Roland Cloud 30 day trial and give that a go. Again some great instruments there including the full version of the D-50.

Do keep me posted on how your getting on with the FA-07 as I am always interested to know how things develop over time.
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