Roland is showing a new A-88MKII flagship MIDI controller at NAMM 2020 with new onboard creative tools (3 zones, arpeggiator, chord memory…) and support for the new MIDI 2.0
In 2020, Roland released the A-88MKII MIDI keyboard. The highlight of the release was the upcoming compatibility of MIDI 2.0. Three years later, this new feature is reality.
Roland has today released firmware 2.0 for the A-88MKII firmware unlocking MIDI 2.0 mode. If you use a Mac computer, it requires macOS 14 or later, says Roland in its change log. This update adds some new features previously impossible with MIDI 1.0.
For example, you now get 256 instead of 16 MIDI channels, up to 256 articulation types (8-bit) with different playing styles, higher resolution, MIDI control data per note for VST3 plugins, and more.
The update 2.0 is a free download for existing A-88MKII customers.
More info here: Roland
Article From January 7, 2020
Last year we got a first preview of the new MIDI 2.0 at NAMM, now it seems to be happening quickly because there is already the first controller that will work with it. This comes from Roland and is the second generation of their flagship MIDI controller A-88 or more precisely the A-88MKII.
It offers an 88-key hammer-action keyboard and many new creative tools for today’s musicians and music producers as well as USB-C support.
Known Design Expanded With New Hardware Features
Its robust, wood construction creates a solid playing experience you can feel under your fingers. And you can easily adjust the sensitivity and responsiveness to match your unique playing style. You can also easily adjust the sensitivity and responsiveness to match your unique playing style. However, it is not another simple keyboard, but one that has many small useful features.
The A-88MKII has three user-definable zones, so you can layer and split the keyboard with different sounds or instruments. To control these, it offers the best-known Roland pitch/mod lever and an array of RGB-lit knobs and pads that give you expressive, hands-on control of your sound. And a sustain pedal input plus two fully assignable pedal inputs mean your feet can get in on the action too.
New Creative Composition Features
The A-88MKII extends your creative arsenal with three configurable zones, advanced arpeggiator, chord memory, and multipurpose pads that can trigger commands and events, and energize real-time performance. All these features can be customized via the new control app for macOS and Windows. Have an overview of all your layers and control mappings at a glance. Plus, you can assigns commands to the pads with custom colors for visual feedback. You can create custom setups to control specific soft synths or external hardware, and instantly recall everything with the handy Snap Shot function.
Ready For MIDI 2.0
The A-88MKII uses the latest technologies for years of universal compatibility and convenience. Class-compliant USB-C provides bus power and single-cable connectivity with macOS, Windows, and compatibility with iOS. Thanks, Roland to make class-compliant drivers and not proprietary drivers like on the System-1. If you use an iOS device with a lightning connector, you need Apple’s iPad CCK and the A-88MKII AC power.
Probably the biggest news for this keyboard is that it is ready to take advantage of the extended capabilities of MIDI 2.0. This probably means you can work fully with the internal sensors and so you can break the limitation of 0-127 quantized values. It’s not confirmed by Roland but I hope it goes in this direction.
- Unmatched playability with Roland’s own PHA-4 keyboard
- Built-to-last with wood and premium materials for years of dependable performance
- Eight RGB-lit assignable knobs, eight RGB-lit pads, and three pedal inputs
- Three customizable zones, onboard arpeggiator, and chord memory
- Thin design with shallow depth fits today’s studio environments
- Control application for deep customization and instant recall
- USB-C connectivity and bus power
- MIDI 2.0 ready
Roland A-88MKII will be available in March 2020 for a price of $999,99 USD (street).
More information here: Roland
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