At the Roland press conference on thursday morning - thankfully not too early and with an excellent buffet I might ad, amongst the European launches of the new products we saw at NAMM - V-Synth, Fantom-S and VariOS there was a quiet revelation. The VariOS, was demoed at NAMM (see our report) with the emphasis on the Variphrase and sample manipulation. It seems that Roland are keen to push the VariOS platform as an open DSP based system. This may not seem to be big news in itself but to illustrate the point they ran a couple of "little things we prepared". The first being a full replica of the the monster analogue 80s flagship the Jupiter 8 and followed by the old favourite the TB-303.
This appears to signify a big change from Roland with the introduction of software based instruments. Perhaps we can expect more emulations of the old classics from their original creators. It's an interesting concept - somewhat akin to a record company releasing old favourites from their back catalog - goodness knows Roland have enough of them to make a whole new range of keyboards and vintage drum machines.
JP8 on VariOS
Clearly the VariOS is a platform to watch, though it remains to be seen what happens next and if this does signal a major new range from Roland.