New Roland Backing Keyboard

BK-9 is the flagship of the BK series   04-Apr-13

We ran a teaser video yesterday and now we think this is what was in it... Roland tells us that the BK-9 Backing Keyboard is the new flagship instrument in the  BK series, bringing together sensational sounds, top-class rhythms, and an incredible selection of premium features. Here's the full details in their own words:

You have a world of music under fingertip control, with a massive sound selection--including Roland's renowned SuperNATURAL sounds--and a huge range of completely remastered rhythm accompaniments in nearly every musical genre, from classic to modern. An innovative dual LCD system and intuitive panel layout make it easy to direct your virtual band, while powerful effects and assignable real-time controls let you select and shape sounds with ease. With numerous additional highlights such as USB song playback/recording, an onboard 16-track sequencer, Rhythm Composer, and much more, the BK-9 is a powerhouse music machine for professional performing, song composition, and casual enjoyment at home.

  • Flagship 76-note instrument with top-level sounds, industry-leading auto-accompaniment features, and a lightweight, mobile design
  • Over 1,700 sounds and 70 drum kits, including 22 SuperNATURAL sounds and 500 all-new tones
  • Legendary Virtual Tone Wheel organs, with dedicated harmonic bars for authentic vintage organ performance
  • 540 rhythms (including 25 new rhythms), remastered for exceptional audio quality; over 1000 Music Assistants onboard
  • Five independent multi-effects engines (MFX), plus dedicated mastering effects
  • All-new user interface with intuitive panel layout, powerful dual LCD system, and Mixer function
  • Professional 16-track sequencer and built-in Rhythm Composer; Chord Loop and Audio Key functions
  • Song playback/recording, unlimited Performance List storage, and more from convenient USB memory
  • XLR mic input with dedicated reverb effect; composite video output for displaying lyrics and photos
  • Compatible with Apple iOS devices via Roland Wireless Connect; supports USB connection to iPad with Apple's iPad Camera Connection Kit
  • Free iOS apps include BK Partner, Lyrics Viewer, Air Recorder, and more

Highly Mobile Pro Instrument, Built for Live Performance

Equipped with a pro-quality 76-note keyboard and weighing less than 21 pounds (9.4 kg), the BK-9 is surprisingly light, making it easy to carry anywhere you want to play. Its user interface has been designed for maximum efficiency and ease of use while performing, with an innovative dual LCD system, logical panel layout, and many dedicated and user-assignable controls. 10 Favorite tones can be stored for each real-time part, an extremely convenient feature for live playing. 1000 onboard Music Assistants provide instant setups for every musical style, and you can save an unlimited number of custom setups as Performance Lists to USB memory.

Massive Sound Selection

A flagship instrument deserves a flagship sound set, and the BK-9 delivers with over 1,700 fantastic sounds and 70 drum kits. 22 sounds feature Roland's renowned SuperNATURAL technology, providing ultra-realistic acoustic instrument tones with an incredible range of natural expression. Also included are 500 all-new tones, specially selected for the BK-9 from the expansive Roland libraries. The Virtual Tone Wheel sound engine puts legendary organ tones at your fingers, with front-panel harmonic bars and a rotary effect for authentic organ performance. The BK-9 is also equipped for future expansion, with a User Tone area dedicated for upcoming BK-series sound collections.

Remastered Rhythms

Filled with full-ensemble accompaniments in almost every musical style imaginable, the BK-9 lets you lead the world's most versatile backing band as you play. 540 built-in rhythms include 25 new selections, and all the rhythms have been remastered with the BK-9's superior sounds and powerful new effects processing for impressive audio quality straight from the recording studio. Via USB memory, unlimited additional rhythms can be added, and MP3, WAV, and SMF files can be played as well.

Multi-Effects and Onboard Mixing

Five independent multi-effects engines (MFX) offer an enormous range of sound processing possibilities, with three MFX dedicated to rhythms and two MFX dedicated to real-time parts. Global reverb and chorus effects are available as well, along with two mastering processors that allow you to optimize the sound of the rhythm and real-time sections separately to suit performance venues and add final polish for recordings. A great new feature for live playing is the Mixer function, which gives you instant adjustment of rhythm and real-time part levels, MFX parameters, and more using the harmonic bars on the front panel.

Powerful Tools for Creativity

A built-in 16-track sequencer provides a professional platform for composing and editing SMF data, while the Rhythm Composer lets you create and customize your own rhythms with ease. The convenient Chord Loop feature instantly captures rhythm backings as WAV audio loops, and also makes it simple to build chord sequences from rhythms to use for composing in the sequencer. With the Audio Key function, audio files stored on USB memory can be assigned to the top seven keyboard keys for quick-access playback while performing. Additionally, BK-9 performances can be easily recorded directly to USB memory as CD-ready WAV audio.

Extras for Entertaining

If you sing or work with a vocalist, you'll appreciate the BK-9's convenient XLR microphone input, which features phantom power, a dedicated reverb effect, and easily accessible front-panel controls. A composite Video Out jack is also provided, allowing you to display embedded MP3/SMF lyrics and chord symbols on an external video monitor for performance assistance or sing-along entertaining. Photo slideshows can be displayed as well, letting your audience enjoy custom images while listening to your music.

Roland Wireless Connect and Free iOS Apps

The BK-9 is compatible with Roland Wireless Connect, which provides cable-free communication with Apple's iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via Roland's optional WNA1100-RL Wireless USB Adapter. An iPad can also be connected directly to the BK-9 with a USB cable using Apple's iPad Camera Connection Kit. Many free iOS apps are available to enhance your BK-9 experience, including Air Recorder for jamming and capturing performances (iPhone/iPad), BK Partner for selecting tones and rhythms (iPad), Lyrics Viewer for displaying SMF lyrics (iPad), and a number of others.


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7 Comments... Comments are closed while we transition to Disqus

A100User    Said...

Yep, pretty much as expected. Cringed all the way through that demo.

04-Apr-13 09:52 AM

GA6RM    Said...

Uh, Sonic State guys? I know that this is how you make payroll. But this isn't "news." Maybe you could create a new forum and call it "Marketing." Or something like that. A lot like how you have a separate section for iOS stuff, which is appropriate, since real musicians don't bother with iOS.

04-Apr-13 01:20 PM

WaveFormTX    Said...

Nothing to see here, guess Roland is a lost cause, going to Korg my all my synth fetishes.

04-Apr-13 05:09 PM

Concerned Roland Lover    Said...

Hey I give Roland a fair due It does seem like a great fully featured Backing Keyboard and the props for making an actual strumming acoustic tone (the one sound that they never made "supernatural") All in all though it's nothing really new or innovative. That's all propaganda. I don't know Rolands customer market right now but I'm hoping that a backing machine has been in high demand for them because if not they could have just put this on the back end of a Namm/Messe conference that they actually have multiple new products coming out with. A Backing Keyboard as a conference highlight. Um no the general public sees this as dull and or lazy. Come on Roland you are overdue on a new Fantom, or something :/

04-Apr-13 11:26 PM

Synth_Fan    Said...

The problem Roland faces is - they don't make money from synthesizers. Even the exquisite V-Synth GT has suffered an identity crisis - not purchased by synthesists looking for vintage recreations and not purchased by the work station market because it doesn't contain standards.

In truth, Roland has been among THE most innovative companies in synthesis over the past decade - COSM, Vocal Designer, Articulation Synthesis, Supernatural, the VA engine in the GAIA and JP80; to say nothing of their efforts in physical control such as the Trip-pad and D-Beam - but synthesists have not embraced those technologies - in the same way that they did not embrace VL technology form Yamaha.

So what are Roland to do but use those innovations in areas that do sell. Cover Bands and Worship IS Roland's market and as much as I would never, ever buy this instrument; Roland bashing has got to stop (and admit to having participated in a bit, wrongly, myself in the past)

In truth Roland have been incredibly innovative. They have produced more new music and synthsis technology than any other company in the past ten years - bar none - but because they will not make a new analogue synth - synthesists come down heavy on them time after time. Here's a recommendation - try a JP80, V-Synth GT or V-Piano for just an hour and you'll realise the extraordinary depth of synthesis capability originating form Roland.

Into the bargain, they have just released a statement on the seminal position of the 303; and they have just sent out a survey to existing registered Roland users, so it even looks like they are pondering r-erelease of one or more of their classics, or new analogue equipment.

But Roland are a deep, deep synthesis company - the V-Synth GT and JP80 are testimony to that and it is wrong to regard them as somehow shallow in that department.

As said, though I'm a synthesist and would not buy this instrument - to those reading it and contemplating it - rest assured its sonic legacu and origins are very, very deep and you'll be getting an instrument with voices of extraordinary depth and quality originating form Roland's current and cutting edge sound technologies.

05-Apr-13 06:34 AM

NI Fan    Said...

Synth_Fan says that the problem Roland faces has nothing to do with "innovation." The poster also said that Roland has been among the most innovative synth companies for years.

This may be true. The problem that I see with Roland has less to do with their hardware advances, and more to do with their lack of vision regarding software.

Native Instruments is the king of software, because they have been incredibly innovative with their software synths, effects, and even the hardware that they create. Steinberg has been tops since the 1980s too.

Roland bought Cakewalk. They could, if they had real vision, create next-gen workstation combos that involve specialized hardware control of Sonar's cutting-edge innovations. Why they haven't even tried is beyond me.

You don't buy a software company to have them keep on creating software -- if you are a HARDWARE company. You buy the software company so that you can take advantage of their incredible expertise when it comes to creating software -- and you harness it for YOUR HARDWARE.

Unless you're Japanese, in which case, who KNOWS what they are thinking...?!

05-Apr-13 10:01 AM

Lawrence Frazier    Said...

GA6RM is a troll, dismissing IOS even though that's where the most interesting music software developments are taking place. We probably need to feed him a goat.

10-Apr-13 07:33 AM

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