MESSE: Rolands New Orange Groovebox

Believe us, it's very orange.      10/03/01

Buying Choices

This latest Groovebox from Roland throws out the convention of the mini-keyboard and knobs from previous Groovebox incarnations and puts the sounds and power of the MC-Series under fingertip control, using their newly developed D-Field. It's touch-sensitive pad controller (sort of like a large trackpad) and can be used to modify patterns and sounds by rubbing and touching the surface (ooh, I say!). The D-2 comes with 150 new patterns including the latest 2-Step and R&B styles. In use, the D-Field can be used to modify a number of user selectable parameters. For example, by selecting the Sound Mode and the appropriate function (Preview, RPS, Vinyl Effect, Assign 1), users can preview patches, trigger RPS patterns, call up DJ sounds such as scratching and backspins, or call up sequencer patterns and mute parts. By selecting the XY Mode and the appropriate function (Filter, MFX, X-Fader, Assign 2), users can simultaneously control filter cutoff and resonance; control multi-effects parameters; crossfade between two parts of the current pattern; or modify functions like pitch bend, LFO and envelope. Finally, by selecting the Spin Mode, users can trace the D-Field's circular line to make a pattern start, stop or play forward/backward; increase/decrease the BPM; control the speed of snare rolls; or mute notes, randomize the pitch, or control multi-effects. The D-Field makes using the D2 simple for musicians and non-musicians alike. In terms of sounds, the D2 features the same sound set as the MC-505 Groovebox, including 600 Preset patches, 30 Preset rhythm kits and 64-voice polyphony. Onboard effects include separate Reverb, Delay and M-FX (multi-effects) processors. The M-FX section is identical to the MC-307 Groovebox and includes cutting-edge Groove effects like Slicer, Isolator and Lo-Fi processing. The D2's onboard sequencer includes 150 Preset patterns covering popular Groove music styles such as house, techno, drum 'n' bass and hip-hop-plus all the latest 2-Step and R&B grooves. Using the D-Field for data input, users can create up to 100 User patterns and 25 songs, and then store them to the D2's 40,000 note sequencer memory. This simple Step Recording method enables users to enter the pitch and duration of notes by rubbing the D-Field using the 32 LEDs above to visually verify note timing. Additionally, a D-Field Recording method allows the realtime changes from the D-Field to be recorded into a pattern. Users can also create patterns via the Megamix function, which combines elements of different patterns into a new pattern. And for the ultimate in performance, the D2 features Roland's Realtime Phrase Sequence (RPS) function for triggering complete musical phrases using the D-Field. Connections to the D2 include a stereo RCA output, stereo Headphone output (stereo mini-jack type), plus MIDI In and Out. Pricing and availability to be confirmed. Check back for MP3s.

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