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Rating and Reviews: Roland AX-Synth Keyboard

Give your old stage keyboard rig the cold shoulder. The famous AX keytar is back, now with an internal sound generator and a host of expression controls.

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"Roland AX-Synth for Live Performances" submitted June 5, 2012

By Mark Wilson in Southern Ca., CA
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Musical Background: I have played Keys since the 70's. I play professionally both Live and Studio. I also like to jam with others at open mics.
Music Style: Rock, Classic Rock, Progressive Rock, Crossover Country
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Sound: The sounds do leave some to be desired. It would be nice to have an upload feature. I use primarly the piano and organ sounds, which I'm told sound well. However; I would like to see better Hammond sounds and control. Feature: Pro: Light and easy to play. Decent Sounds, all the controls you will need. Controls are layed out very well. Cons: The bright blue LED's are annoying and blinding in a low light environment. Roland really needs to backlight the instrument labels so you can see what you are selecting. It eats batteries for lunch. Have many extras, and consider rechargeable Lithiums. With Lithiums, the battery percentage goes from 75% to dead in no time. I recommend locking straps, however Roland for whatever reason did not make it where you can remove the strap buttons. www.lockitstraps.com has a solution Sometimes your strap will fold over the keys and push the key down which can be annoying. The new Roland Iphone Wireless App does not work with this keyboard. @#$% Ease of Use: It can't get any easier to play a keyboard than this. The keys feel like the ones on my Fantom series keyboard. The action is fairly quick and equal to that of my other boards. Nice and lightweight. Quality: Quality is Roland. Excellent. Value: Yes, price is decent for the product. Manufacturer Support: Roland has always had great service. I have not had any issues with this particular synth. The Wow Factor: Wow factor is 100. There are not too many keyboardists in the band market, but when you show up with a wearable, people come up to me all the time asking about it. Overall: Having the Roland AX-Synth now for almost a year, I have found this to be a godsend for playing open mics and last minute gigs. With my wireless system in the bag, I can literally have it in my trunk and be at a gig setup within minutes.
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"Effect Master's Dream!" submitted May 9, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Experimental Pop
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Sound: The built in sounds could do with some work, ESPECIALLY the guitar tones; pressing any notes that aren't in a power chord form creates a TON of dissonance, but it's only a problem on the electric guitar channels. Some of the instrumental tones (i.e. violin and saxophone) are actually pretty good for a synth. The built in synth tones are pretty great, but if you have the money to buy this, you're probably investing in a nice midi box, which I would recommend in the highest if you want a lot of sound control. Output can be really low volume depending on what you're amping through. I recommend anything Roland or Peavy for that. Feature: AWESOME effect control, and is basically the the only reason to get this, and what a great reason it is! the touch pad is superbly sensitive, the modulation bar generally adds exactly what you're looking for, and the D-beam is unbelievably versatile. the program changes are pretty intuitive, so switching sounds and Ease of Use: There is a learning curve. There are a lot of effect available and not all of them are easy to find or access. the manual is pretty general stuff, so you really have to teach yourself how to make the effects work for your music. The sound editor is kind of a pain in the butt, but if you're well versed in that kind of thing, it's pretty good. Quality: Top notch quality, though as with all electronics, treat it with care. I HIGHLY recommend the SKB case for the Ax-Synth; it's really well built and solid, and makes travel really fast and painless. Value: REALLY EXPENSIVE. Kinda obvious. but if you know what you're doing, this is worth every penny EVER. Manufacturer Support: No need; gotta love Roland products! The Wow Factor: Very sexy compared to being stuck behind a keyboard rig, And it's a riot at shows if only for the novelty. It is a pretty instrument though, so you won't be let down in that respect. Overall: If you're going to buy this thing, buy it for the effects, the effects, the effects. the sheer volume of control you have over the sound is stunning, though the built in tones are sometimes below par.
14 of 15 people (93.33%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"At least it's good for beginners." submitted March 31, 2011

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: electronica
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Sound: The preset sounds are fun to mess around with, and after learning how to work the components, like D-Beam and pitch-bend, it's really easy to personalize the music you play. By itself, the AX synth doesn't sound that impressive. it is designed to be a lead instrument, and as such, has no sequencers or beats, but with just a small bank of keyboards, there's no limit to what this thing can do. I'm just getting started on learning how to use it as a MIDI controller, but I've found it really easy to match its own sounds with those of other keyboards, creating a wide variety of polyphony. with no on-board amp, the sound quality of the AX depends entirely on the amp you use, and I use a Honeytone 9V mini amp, or an Altec Lansing InMotion iPod dock to practice with. the honeytone is adequate, but it has little bass response, so a lot of the tones don't transfer, but the Altec Dock has an amazing range of sound reproduction for its small size, and can amplify the sound to compete with or dominate my other keyboards. my favourite thing about this synth is that it's really easy to mimic the leads in some of my favourite songs. My least favourite thing is that there's no real documentation on how to work the synth editor software. This being my first Synthesizer, I don't know what the controls do, and everything in the manual seems to assume that you know what's going on. Feature: the only accessories provided with the AXS synth is the synth editor software and a DC converter to power the keyboard. The cord on the dc line is extremely small, so be prepared to stand in one place while using it. it was probably intended only to be used when hooking it up to the computer to modify the sounds, though. I reccomend the following accessories: 8x Energizer rechargeable batteries, Energizer 15 minute quick recharger, AX synth gig bag. Ease of Use: after a few hours of fiddling around, I quickly got the hang of how to work the setting and what they can do. the manual makes it seem really hard to change the settings, but it's just the way it was written. it's easier in real life. I had figured out most of the MIDI controller properties in a matter of minutes without even using the manual. As I said before, my main difficulty is modifying the synth sounds, but that will change after a bit of experience. Quality: Very sturdy construction. my synth has been knocked over, dropped and hiked over long distances with no apparent defect added to the product (all within the gig bag). shallow cosmetic scuffs come naturally to the keys, and fingerprints and other light marks buff off easily with a microfiber rag. The very tip of the neck has sustained a few paint transfers, but they have faded away with time. The manual spent a lot of time telling you to keep it steady, not drop it, etc., but from what I've seen, it's very durable. Value: I purchased this mostly because of the on-board synthesizer. the previous models would force you to buy an external sound unit, which adds heavily to the deceptively low price tag, but this comes with a powerful synthesizer with decent presets. The Wow Factor: its black. heck yeah, it's sexy. the smooth curves of the AX synth is what really convinced me to get it over the newer Lucina model. the necks are comfortable to hold, there are multiple pegs for the strap, so it can be held for easier access to different octaves, and overall, it's just plain beautiful. Overall: This sucker should last at least five years. if it breaks, I'd definitely replace it with the same model, unless Roland goes back to its style with the next model (being a keytar, it's about looks almost as much as it is about practicality).
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"STAGE READY !!!!" submitted June 28, 2012

By Robert W. C in Cincinnati, OH
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Musical Background: 20 years all keyboard instruments
Music Style: All music styles
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Sound: Very nice, Sounds like my phantom.... clean pianos, rhodes, and awesome leads... Feature: I can finally play like a rock star... I tour all over the world with some of the worlds greatest artist, I can now use the stage to enhance my performance. Ease of Use: Just plug in and play... midi sets up in a few steps... Quality: This is my second one... the first started separating apart so i sent it back to ZZOUNDS and without any hassle they replaced it at no charge and sent it to me quick.... Value: I believe that it's a little over priced for what it is; however nothing can compare to the performance experience you get from a shoulder synth... I'm never getting rid of it. Manufacturer Support: Had not dealt with ROLAND USA at all... zzounds handled everything and answered all my questions... The Wow Factor: Ladies love it when I'm playing all over the stage. My Stock has gone up!!!! Overall: one of the great synth...
9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"The Roland AX-Synth" submitted February 24, 2014

By james johnson in utica, NY
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Musical Background: I play for a R&B group in Syracuse,N.Y. called The Black Lites
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Overall: I get the wow!! factor every time i take it out the case and crank it up.
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