Roland synthesizers are the official workhorse of the stage and studio.
We have repeatedly mentioned how much we, here at Bothners, love Roland and the quality of the products they bring to market year after year.
This week we’re zooming in on a product that has been around for a few years at this point, and has become an absolute staple of the Roland lineup in South Africa; the XPS-10. Thanks to a few unique elements, Roland has created what we believe to be one of the best budget synthesizer/keyboards out there.
Developed in-part for the South African market, Roland has taken the four most important elements of a budget offering (or any offering for that matter), and absolutely knocked them out of the park.
Features, sound, durability and Portability, and price-point
Let’s break each of these down to find out what makes the Roland XPS-10 so good.
This is probably the biggest sector in which the XPS-10 shines. The feature set is completely unmatched at this price-point. Here are some highlights:
Keyboard and Sound Generator
The unit houses 61 velocity sensitive keys controlling the sound generator which delivers a maximum polyphony of 128 voices!
The XPS-10 is expandable, which means you are able to import your own samples by way of USB, which can be mapped to the keyboard, with all the appropriate pitches automatically assigned.
Imported sounds can also be stored and mapped to the six audio pads for quick access during performances.
Sound Modify Section
The Sound Modify section, found on the keyboard offers a selection of 9 faders to modify your synth and keyboard sounds in real-time while performing
Having the sounds to back-up a great feature set is, of course, the most important factor. Fortunately Roland are well aware of this, and have taken advantage of their decades of experience in building world-class sound engines to give the XPS-10 a selection of sounds that would not be out of place in any setting, on stage or in studio.
Roland knows not to mess with a good thing. They have opted to derive the majority 1500 pro-quality sounds from their wildly popular JUNO-Di, an instrument widely hailed for the impeccable quality of its sounds.
Again continuing the tradition of not messing with a good thing, we have the inclusion of legacy sounds from some of Roland’s most iconic products such as the D-50, XP-60/-30/-10, SRX Expansion Boards, and more.
Local “Ethnic” Sounds
This is where the XPS-10 really comes into its own having been developed in-part for the South African market. They have included a number of sought-after, authentic, local sounds making it the perfect addition to any traditional African or church ensemble.
The Durability and Portability
As crazy as it might seem, the XPS-10 weighs in at a mere 4kg. How they managed to pull this off, we may never know – but we do know that packing this many features in a unit this size is an absolute game changer. It’s ideal for nightclub performers, touring players, and worship musicians, and also great for street gigs, busking, and other mobile performing situations.
Durability is, of course, a staple of Roland’s design mentality. And the proof is in the pudding with countless vintage pieces of Roland gear that continue to work to this day after decades of use.
The XPS-10 is absolutely no different, with a quality, reinforced plastic build.