The Roland Fantom is a Workstation built for the future. Roland are continually adding more and more specs to this incredible synth, and we have included all the best bits of each software update below, with the most recent at the top – helpful, right?!
Roland Fantom V2.5 Upgrade
Virtual Tone Wheel Organ and Ableton Live Integration
Few sounds have been so integral to the jazz, pop and rock music genres over the last half-century as the tonewheel organ. Now, thanks to the brand-new Virtual Tone Wheel engine in the Roland Fantom, this essential instrument can be part of your twenty-first century live and studio set-up.
The Virtual Tone Wheel Engine gives Fantom users a fully customisable tonewheel organ sound with control over its 9 harmonic bars. These can then be manipulated from either the Fantom touchscreen or its 9 hardware sliders. The famous percussion, chorus and vibrato effects are present too. This is great for fans of the more driven sounds in classic rock, an overdrive section helps to deliver the iconic crunch, easily letting you dial in the most appropriate sound for your song.
And of course, it’s complemented by a brand new rotary speaker effect with full control over the speed, acceleration, brake and spread – letting you bring your performance to life.
For composers, version 2.5 also introduces Ableton Live DAW integration for PC and Mac. Much like the existing Fantom DAW control for Apple’s Logic Pro and Mainstage, the new Ableton Live integration allows you to trigger and record clips and scenes in Live directly from the Fantom touchscreen. Blend Fantom and Ableton sounds, adjust mixer levels and adjust synth macro controls using the Fantom hardware sliders and rotary controls, and trigger Drum Rack samples using the Fantom pads.
Roland Fantom V2.1 Upgrade
Expanded with Four Classic Synths
Now you can use four of the most sought-after Roland synthesizers of all time right in your Fantom: Jupiter-8, Juno-106, JX-8P and SH-101 Zen-Core Model Expansions are all re-created in stunning detail using Analog Behaviour Modelling technology, and truly capture the feeling of interacting with a vintage analog synth, but with all the modern benefits of a digital instrument.
Load a Model Expansion synth and Fantom’s LED controls with change colour to match the colours of the original synth, while the editing menus will display its graphics in the original style. Use Fantom’s high-resolution controls to adjust parameters over 1024 steps for ultra-smooth analogue-style response.
Fantom allows you to take these classic synthesizers beyond their original capabilities too; enjoy up to 32-note polyphony, add in your favourite DSP effects, combine up to 16 Model Expansions at once within a single Scene, and even use them in the Fantom sequencer. To further enhance their sound design potential, you can even extend the synth parameters beyond their original or choose an alternative Fantom filter.
Roland Fantom V2.0 Upgrade
Keen followers of our blog will be aware that the already super powerful Roland Fantom Workstation Synthesizer has received several upgrades of powerful features over its short life, and now to celebrate its 1 year anniversary Roland have delivered the fourth update with Version 2.0 Firmware.
There are many other improvements that have been added into Version 2.0, and when added to the already impressive list of added features since its launch, the Roland Fantom keeps taking powerful leaps forward.
Sample and Multi-Sample
The big news from Version 2.0 for Fantom owners is the introduction of keyboard sampling and multi-sampling. The new Fantom firmware makes it super easy to sample a single note of your favourite piece of gear, then spread it out across the entire Fantom keyboard as a polyphonic instrument, then use the Fantom’s vast onboard synth engine to sculpt and shape the sound to your heart’s desire. Sample with Fantom DSP effects applied or add them later on too if you wish.
The Fantom also now allows you to create multi-sampled instruments. This means that you can use multiple different samples spread out across the key range to make your own fully detailed sampled instruments. This is perfect for sampling acoustic instruments in superb detail, or just a great way to present your samples in the highest fidelity.
Huge 2GB User Wave Memory
The Fantom has a fantastic 2GB of user wave memory available for storing samples, meaning there is plenty of space for all of your sampled sounds. Normally loading such an extensive collection of samples would severely slow down a keyboard’s start-up time, but thankfully this is no problem for the Fantom, even with a full sample memory it still boots up in around 40 seconds. This is certainly an advantage for live musicians where stage changeovers between artists need to be quick and efficient.
Detailed Sequencer Editing and Automation
The Fantom has an intuitive pattern-based sequencer, perfect for capturing ideas when musical inspiration strikes. Now V2.0 lets you edit deeper with a microscope viewer allowing you to fine-tune your midi data, and the piano roll function now has the addition of automation parameters. For instance, you can draw in a synth cutoff change with your finger writing in the pattern, change the volume of the sound or pan over time within the pattern.
Once you’ve made your collection of patterns, the Fantom allows you to organise these into groups that play together for a section of a song. Now in version 2.0, you can choose to trigger these groups from the performance pad, allowing you to trigger different groups in real-time as part of your performance.
Late 2019 saw Roland resurrect one of their most famous product lines; the Roland Fantom. With a fresh new design, a completely re-imagined user experience and packing an awful lot of DSP power under its shell, the new Fantom firmly set its sights on bringing the workstation concept up to date based on the needs of modern professional live and studio musicians.
Roland Fantom V1.60 Upgrade
Roland has said from the outset that the new Fantom is a musical platform that they are developing for; with the plan to release regular updates with new features and sounds. A few months down the line from its release and this has certainly proved to be the case; we’re now seeing our third update, V1.60 has given several extra banks of high-quality SuperNatural sounds, plus access to Roland Classic SRX Expansion packs via Roland Cloud.
Here we thought we’d take a quick tour through some of the new features from the last few updates to see what’s been added.
But first, to those of you who are new to the Fantom, take a look at our exclusive walkthrough from release day last year.
The Fantom brings a new approach to the idea of a workstation; doing away with confusing modes (single sound mode, layer mode, split mode, sequencer mode etc) and bringing everything into one mode of operation; the Scene. A scene can contain anything from 1 single sound all the way up to 16 layered or split sounds, and holds an entire sequence within it, keeping everything together in one easy organised location.
Thanks to the extensive processing power, scenes can also be changed without patch drop out for seamless transitions, and for live performers, the scene chain function allows you to place up to 512 scenes in performance order for incredibly simple navigation during a performance.
So, what can Fantom users now take advantage of with the firmware updates?
Hi-Res SuperNatural Sounds
The Fantom comes shipped with Roland’s powerful new Zen-Core sound engine, as well a stunning V-Piano engine for beautiful acoustic piano tones created with physical modelling. Recently the V.50 and V1.60 Fantom updates have also introduced new High-resolution SuperNatural sound banks too, which combine samples tones with instrument behavioural modelling to create incredibly realistic instrument sounds.
SuperNatural sounds have appeared in Roland products before, but thanks to Fantom’s extensive DSP processing power they are now available in full 24bit/48KHz resolution, and when heard through Fantom’s crystal clear digital to analogue converter chips they are truly fantastic.
Have a listen for yourself with this sound example video:
To take advantage of the SuperNatural Acoustic and Electric pianos, strings, brass and woodwind sounds, make sure you update your Fantom to V1.60 then head over to Roland Cloud to download the sound packs.
Fantom and Roland Cloud
As well as the SuperNatural expansions, there are a number of excellent expansion packs for the Fantom which are available from Roland Cloud. Based on the classic SRX cards, there are 16 banks of EXZ sound expansions covering everything from pianos to orchestral sounds, electronic sounds and drums. The Fantom has space for 16 virtual expansions, keep your eye on Roland Cloud for future releases of more sounds.
Tone and Scene Export/Import
Fantom users are now able to export and share tones and scenes with other users around the world, there is even a dedicated Facebook page called ‘Patchland’ where users are sharing their content.
Connect a microphone to your Fantom and take advantage of this excellent 32-band Vocoder, a must for any gigging musician!
Pattern Play Via Performance Pads
One of the biggest changes on the Fantom from previous models was the introduction of a pattern-based sequencer. Users can create loops across all the instruments in scenes, the group, trigger and sequence them in order to create a song. After updating you can now trigger these patterns using Fantom’s performance pads, for quick access while playing and freeing up the screen for other content.
These are just some of the great new features added to the Fantom, and we’re sure many more will come in the future!