Roland Synth-tar Bloomington IL

Regardless of where you stand, Roland’s AX-Synth is an instrument worth noting, and if you’re a dissenter, it may just convert you. A sleeked-out younger sibling of the AX-7 MIDI controller, the AX-Synth gives the shoulder-keys vibe impressive curves, plentiful controls, and — for the first time — a built-in sound engine. If you’re a long-time believer in the power of the synth-tar, or a skeptic wondering what the hubbub is about, read on.

Pro Sound Center
(309) 888-4500
1540 E College Ave
Normal, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

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Baldwin Piano & Organ
(618) 942-5115
200 N Park Ave
Herrin, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Print Music

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Nicks Music Store
(847) 697-2010
437 Raymond St
Elgin, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments

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Weavers Music
(847) 741-8418
865 Summit St
Elgin, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment
Lesson Information
Lessons: Yes
Instrument Repair Information
Repairs are available on Guitars, Bass Guitars, Violins, and Violas.
Hours
Monday and Thursday 10:00am to 8:30pm
Tuesday and Friday 10:00am to 6:00pm
Saturday 9:00am to 2:00pm
Closed Wednesday and Sunday

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Atwood Music Co
(217) 578-2500
Po Box 828
Atwood, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments

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Samuel Music
(309) 820-9880
1717 Rt Dunn Drive
Bloomington, IL
 
Smiths Music
(217) 877-3297
8349 Sanyer Rd
Decatur, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Flores Music
(309) 346-5416
523 Caroline
Pekin, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

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Voits Music Shop
(708) 598-1210
6373 Pontiac Dr
Indian Head Park, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, DJ Equipment

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Kims Intl Music
(773) 725-7700
4200 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Roland Synth-tar

0510 Roland AX-Synth Main HANDS-ON

  1. These buttons can jump octaves, scroll through tone variations, or transpose by hal-fsteps.
  2. Slide pitches around with the ribbon strip touch controller.
  3. The modulation bar is sensitive to how far down you push it, achieving a mod wheel-like range of intensity.
  4. Roland’s famous D-Beam lets you sweep pitch, filter, or assignable MIDI controllers with a wave of your hand.
  5. The keyboard doesn’t send aftertouch, but you can do so from the neck.
  6. Choose from 304 preset sounds, including four of Roland’s impressive SuperNatural tones, grouped into eight families here.
  7. Stereo 1/4" outs are here. To feed wireless audio transmitters that require low-level signals, flip the ATT switch to cut the output volume.
  8. Multiple strap points help you get a comfortable playing position, even for two-handed performance.

Some things will always inspire debate: health care, financial regulatory reform, and mobile shoulder-strap keyboards. Though that last one may not have as much social import as the others, it’s every bit as divisive among musicians. Are “synth-tars” legitimate instruments to be played with guts and pride? Or are they toys that make keyboardists look like lame guitarist wannabes? Regardless of where you stand, Roland’s AX-Synth is an instrument worth noting, and if you’re a dissenter, it may just convert you. A sleeked-out younger sibling of the AX-7 MIDI controller, the AX-Synth gives the shoulder-keys vibe impressive curves, plentiful controls, and — for the first time — a built-in sound engine. If you’re a long-time believer in the power of the synth-tar, or a skeptic wondering what the hubbub is about, read on.

LOOK AND CONTROLS

First things first: The AX-Synth looks good. Roland created a design that feels current and just edgy enough, without resembling a self-parody or something from a bad ’80s movie. At assorted gigs and jam sessions, I got nothing but positive feedback on its appearance.

For my taste, Roland also struck a nearly-ideal balance with the number and placement of controls. The AX is easy to navigate, with a mild learning curve, and while all sounds are easily accessible, neither the front panel nor the neck feels overly cluttered or tweaky. At the same time, the performance control available to your left hand alone is impressive.

Structurally, the AX-Synth is solid and durable. Though it’s impressively light, the keys, buttons, and molded plastic casings all feel reassuringly resilient, even under rapid-fire, two-handed percussive assaults. It took some trial and error to get the keyboard to sit right for my hand position and stature, but multiple points to hook on the shoulder strap were a big help in getting a comfortable feel, and also made playing the 49-key keyboard with two hands easy to achieve. Once I had the synth adjusted (surprisingly, at an angle similar to what low-slung punk guitarists do), I was ready to rock.

SOUNDS

The onboard sound engine features 128...

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