Roland FA-06

The FA-06 is the smaller of two new workstations – as is often the case with keyboard ranges its bigger brother, the FA-08, has a better and bigger 88-note ‘ivory-feel’ keyboard – and is designed to sit in your DAW setup or be taken on the road. At just 5.7kg you can certainly do just that, and the broad range of sounds will certainly appeal to the live player. Here, though, we’re going to focus on studio integration because this is the big difference between the FA range and the previous workstation Fantom-G range Roland had – see the Fantom History box for more on this.

The Fantom-G was an all-singing, all-dancing workstation designed to work standalone, away from a computer, so complete songs with both MIDI and audio tracks could be produced. With the FA, Roland has realised that people really do want to integrate keyboards with their computers, so, like the MOXF last month, you get just that. There is still a sequencer, but Roland has made it simpler to use so people can get their ideas down quickly, using it as a scratchpad and then transferring them, after coming back from a gig, for example, into their DAWs. As such, you can transfer 16 tracks of audio simultaneously from keyboard to DAW, which is a great feature.

The other big difference between the G and the FA ranges is that the sounds are based on those from last year’s  INTEGRA-7 module – a much updated set over the G’s, which were looking a bit dated. With a brand-new effects section and what seems like a very low price tag, the FA-06 looks like it could be a winner. So let’s get stuck in and find out…