Cakewalk Partners with Roland for New Keyboard MIDI Controller

(ShackMan | Posted 2010-01-21)

Cakewalk Partners with Roland for New Keyboard MIDI Controller

Music Industry giant Roland is teaming up with Cakewalk to produce the brand new A-PRO series of MIDI controllers for the MAC and PC. They come in 32, 49, and 61 key flavors in the form of the A-300, A-500, and A-800 Pro, respectively. I'll be especially interested in these with Roland's ergonomic construction, touch-sensitivity and aftertouch effects for realism. And being that it's made by Cakewalk, it should be true to the company name and easy to use.

As I've said before, I prefer the rotary layout complimented with a menu that these keyboards feature. I feel like I get the best of both worlds: the ability to save and store patches as well as edit down to exacting detail in the menus, and on-the-fly adjustments or improvisations using the rotary knobs. Many of the knobs and buttons are fully assignable, including the eight dynamic pads seen on the right hand side of the keyboards.

The feature list is as follows:

- The feel of a Roland-quality Instrument
- A superior key mechanism providing aftertouch and increased sensitivity for a wide range of expressive dynamics
- Rounded key assemblies for smooth and comfortable glissando
- Selectable velocity curves to fine tune the A-PRO to your playing style
- Roland's proprietary FPT (Fast Processing Technology) USB driver provides ultra-low latency and ensures subtleties of performances are captured (Moderator's note: Technology like this is essential in a USB keyboard, but it strikes me as odd that Roland didn't opt for a Firewire interface instead. Firewire is many times faster and well worth the pennies on the dollar it would have added to the price.)

- Eight Dynamic Pads
- Precise velocity sensitivity makes the A-PRO a formidable controller for finger drumming
- Hold function is perfect for triggering loops and sequences
- Ergonomic design puts everything at your fingertips
Ultra-bright, backlit LED display makes it easy to monitor settings, especially when on stage
- Controls and onboard settings are easily accessible and intelligently laid out
- Over 45 fully assignable controls, including knobs, sliders, and buttons

- Dedicated Transport section
- Sure-grip Pitch Bend/Modulation Stick offers expressive control of both parameters simultaneously
- Easy and streamlined connection with side panel ports Total control
- A-300PRO Editor for Mac and PC makes it a breeze to customize the controller for use with your favorite synth or DAW
- When working in ACT (Active Controller Technology) mode, DAWs like the included SONAR LE will remap parameters automatically
- Trigger clips, video effects and transitions from your A-PRO musical performance using any video hardware with V-LINK support
- Expand playability with Sustain & Expression Pedals (available separately)

The Production Plus Pack (Packaged with almost all large Cakewalk products)
Three inspiring virtual instruments for Mac & PC:
Rapture LE
Cakewalk Sound Center
Studio Instruments Drums
SONAR 8.5 LE, a special version of Cakewalk's professional recording software for Windows

Also making an appearance is the less expensive A-500S, which features the ability to run on 4 AA batteries, a "more compact design for portability" (Read: less features and knobs), and a setup that is geared toward the home studio or the student in college needing great sound at low cost.

The Pro series and A-500S MIDI keyboards will be available in May of this year. At press time, no list prices were available.

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