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Cakewalk/Roland A-800 Pro


Al Coda

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Hello !

 

Is anyone using this controller ?

http://www.cakewalk.com/products/hardware/default.aspx?Prod=A-800PRO

 

The specs say "keyboard aftertouch" (not channel aftertouch) and I´ve found a line over at the Roland Clan forum:

 

"From the A-PRO's Front Panel you can adjust Aftertouch in 4 Steps (Both Keyboard and PADs).

 

From the A-Pro Editor you can assign aftertouch messages for individual notes (Polyphonic Key Pressure) as well as channel Aftertouch (Channel Pressure), both from 0-127."

 

To me, that means, it has polyphonic aftertouch.

 

If that would be true and because I´ve read it has a much better key action than most other tactile controllers out there,- it would be amazing at this price.

Split/Layer assignment directly from the keyboard and MIDI merge make it perfect IMO.

 

Can anyone confirm these features as "working" here ?

 

A.C.

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The MIDI implementation chart here:

 

http://media.rolandus.com/manuals/A-300PRO_500PRO_800PRO_OM.pdf

 

would seem to confirm that key aftertouch is sent. Strange that the Keyboard review in December didn't make a note of this since I don't think it is a common feature these days.

 

Of course this doesn't do any good unless you have a receiving device that responds to key aftertouch.

 

I ran my fingers across one at Sweetwater the other day and the synth action was to my taste.

Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Casio CT-S500, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2

www.stickmanor.com

There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman

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The MIDI implementation chart here:

 

http://media.rolandus.com/manuals/A-300PRO_500PRO_800PRO_OM.pdf

 

would seem to confirm that key aftertouch is sent. Strange that the Keyboard review in December didn't make a note of this since I don't think it is a common feature these days.

 

Thx for the link !

Followed german Roland pages and there are no downloads at all up to now,- also no manual.

 

Yes, the only available controller w/ poly AT is the VAX77 boutique controller which is 10x the price.

 

Of course this doesn't do any good unless you have a receiving device that responds to key aftertouch.

 

My Yammi TG500 does and Memorymoon ME80.

http://www.memorymoon.com/me80.htm

 

Arturia CS80V does too ...

 

I ran my fingers across one at Sweetwater the other day and the synth action was to my taste.

 

thx for your help and info,- some users report it´s the best synth action of any of the small tactile controllers, so I´ll give it a try.

 

MIDI merge in makes it possible to add any weighted 88 key controller and putting a Behringer BCR2000 in between which makes it ideal to control Reason (automatically recognizes this keyboard), the DAW transport and record/play functions and VSTi softsynths (especially OPX-ProII w/ BCR2000) all over ONE USB port and to control Sonic Core Scope devices & hardware modules over MIDI 5-pin DIN simultaneously.

The slider/knob layout seems to be perfect for GSi VB3 too, but w/ the drawback of having no waterfall keys.

 

A.C.

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Isn't it so that poly AT just possible to send from the pads, not the keyboard?

 

Just looked at the manual/MIDI implementation chart and ...

 

keys AT transmitted

channel AT transmitted

 

looking for "using A-Pro Editor" and "checking assigned MIDI messages" on page 30 shows:

 

PAf 64:1 - meaning - "Polyphonic Key Pressure"

 

Well, that´s news !

Cakewalk/Roland, I think we have a deal soon.

 

A.C.

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You might want to take a look at the cakewalk forums. I did a search for "aftertouch" in the controller forum (link below) and saw a number of complaints about the aftertouch sensitivity.

 

http://forum.cakewalk.com/search.aspx?searchid=349780&high=aftertouch

Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Casio CT-S500, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2

www.stickmanor.com

There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman

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You might want to take a look at the cakewalk forums. I did a search for "aftertouch" in the controller forum (link below) and saw a number of complaints about the aftertouch sensitivity.

 

http://forum.cakewalk.com/search.aspx?searchid=349780&high=aftertouch

 

Well, thx,- that´s very disappointing to read.

 

Also, the manual doesn´t make clear if the poly AT is working in realtime w/ the keys or not.

Depends on what Roland understands as a "controller".

 

There´s the window for "channel messages" in the A-Pro editor and the window for "polyphonic pressure" which shows a value of the MIDI note, the MIDI channel and the values for min. and max. amount of controller modulation, which makes me believe it doesn´t work as expected because there´s the value "all keys" missing or something similar.

There are other windows giving the option to specify a key range for controllers.

 

And if the channel AT isn´t working sensitive enough, caused by cheap contact strip under the keys, how will the poly AT (if possible at all).

 

S**t,- all marketing.

This again is something for programmers, not players,- sad.

 

A.C.

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  • 6 months later...

FYI I just picked up one of these. The Keyboard mag review is pretty much spot on. I much prefer the decidedly "Roland" springy synth key feel to the Axioms I tried, even for EPs.

 

On that note it's workable for EPs and piano at a rehearsal or as an emergency backup, but it really is very much a Roland synth action: some initial resistance and a good "thunk" to it. No mushiness. They keys are short but unless you play at the back of the keys, you won't have a problem. The key texture is not a matte finish. Hand sweat could get you in trouble. :)

 

I don't mind the pitch/mod paddle at all. It's certainly much better than poorly implemented micro-wheels you see on some controllers. I actually wish there was a D-Beam on this thing, but I'm funny that way.

 

The board is light and compact, and despite being plastic all around, it doesn't feel cheap. The physical controls are on the small side but extremely smooth and precise, as good as and maybe a hair better than the Korg M3. To me they feel more solid than the Novation SLMkii (esp. the drum pads, which flat out suck on the Novation).

 

I haven't really gotten into the software, just some initial set up of Live with VB3, Pianoteq EPs, and a Kontakt piano,with the A800 powered by USB from the laptop. Zero issues.

 

I had to press pretty hard to get aftertouch to engage, but I haven't dug into the manual to check on sensitivity settings for this. I don't use aftertouch much, but when I get a free moment I will try it with Omnisphere and report results.

 

 

Hope this helps.

-John

 

 

I make software noises.
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I liked it too in comparison to the others. Now if they would only make a 76 key version

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97

MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

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I own the Edirol version the PCR800.

 

I've read the keys are longer on the Roland than the Edirol. Some say no. Some say the keybed is better, others say no. Better than older Edirols maybe but same as the PCR 800.

 

If your expectations are a synth feel, reasonable controls in a plastic case (under 10 lbs!) I think it's a good value. Everything else I looked at was really bad

 

My only hangup with the Edirol keys is that they are unsuitable for some organ techniques. They aren't made to be swiped and yes they do have little clickety clack (not much when compared to the real cheapies). Much better than many synth boards that aren't waterfall or semi-weighted.

 

The Edirols aren't full length diving board keys. Key width is good enough.

 

Controls are reasonably solid and the midi stuff is done well. Worth the $325 I paid for something lightweight and reasonably solid.

 

Aftertouch well...usual sensitivity issues.

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