Four all-analog Eurorack synth modules designed in collaboration with Malekko 02/05/18
Roland has introduced four new additions to the SYSTEM-500 modular synthesizer series: the SYS-510 Synth, SYS-555 LAG/S&H, SYS-531 MIX, and SYS-505 VCF. They tell us that, inspired by vintage Roland modular synths from the 1970s, the latest members of the SYSTEM-500 family fuse classic designs with versatile modern features. Roland says, like all SYSTEM-500 products, the new modules are made to exacting standards in a collaborative design and production process between Malekko in Portland, USA, and Roland in Hamamatsu, Japan. Here's more details in their own words...
About the SYSTEM-500 Series
The SYSTEM-500 series offers a growing selection of Eurorack-format modules that users can mix and match in any combination to create the ultimate Roland modular synthesizer. Each module is completely analog and designed for maximum compatibility with contemporary synthesizer and effects modules. Compact and powerful, the SYSTEM-500 series opens up vast possibilities for sound design and musical exploration.
Based on the 110 VCO, VCF, and VCA module in Roland’s vintage SYSTEM-100m, the SYS-510 Synth brings the original’s best aspects together in an expanded single-voice module. It features three oscillator waveforms, the classic Roland low-pass filter with dual high-pass switch, and a VCA with multiple outputs. Inputs for external signals and modulation are included as well, plus output jacks for both Eurorack and line-level audio. Equipped with internal normalling for cable-free operation, the SYS-510 is an essential building block for both the experienced user and the beginner putting together their first modular system.
Channeling inspiration from the SYSTEM-100m's 150 and 165 modules, the five-in-one SYS-555 LAG/S&H adds core utility functions and interesting new twists to any modular setup. It contains both traditional and non-traditional modulation sources applicable to any configuration. With ring modulation, sample-and-hold with seven waveforms and internal LPF, pink and white noise modes, LFO with internal ENV and VCA, and two CV-controlled portamento circuits, the SYS-555 offers a near-infinite range of tonal shaping and modulation options.
Inspired by the SYSTEM-100m’s 131 output module, the SYS-531 MIX brings an updated approach with convenient modern features. Designed to be the central hub for mixing mono and stereo signals, it features high-fidelity, low-noise sound and comes equipped with six input channels, each with their own level slider, CV-controlled pan knob, and performance-friendly mute button. There’s also a boutique-quality stereo preamp for mic or line-level signals that offers a range of tones, from warm clean to pleasing overdrive. The SYS-531’s headphones and multi-format output sections each have a dedicated volume knob for quick control, while LED indicators provide visual feedback on signal levels fed to the 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch outputs.
The vintage Roland SH-5 is one of the most sought-after mono synths in history, not only for its massive sound, but also for its unique filter design. Combining a multi-mode filter with a band-pass filter, it produces a meaty resonance growl that’s propelled it to “favorite filter ever” status for many. With the SYS-505 VCF, users can inject the sound of this revered filter section into any modular rig. Offering switchable outputs, built-in VCAs, and CV control of cutoff and resonance, this dual filter provides two different vintage characters in a flexible and compact 16HP module.