A new RD series milestone has been reached by Roland with the introduction of the RD-700NX. It’s an instrument that the company claims raises the bar for onstage performance. The RD-700NX is certainly impressive and includes three stunning grand pianos, with 30 variations, all driven by the SuperNatural piano sound engine. The RD-700NX is also equipped with electric piano sounds based on the same sound engine technology which offers accurate models of the various classic electric pianos from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Going far beyond standard sampling of electric pianos, the Roland technology gives players the ability to customise sounds and create entirely new electric piano voices.

For a true grand piano playing feel, the RD-700NX is fitted with the PHA III Ivory Feel Keyboard with escapement action. This keyboard offers exceptional comfort, playability and response, and perfectly conveys dynamic, velocitybased tonal changes. Additionally, the keys feature Roland’s well regarded Ivory Feel, a comfortable and realistic moisture-absorbent material that prevents slipping during performance. For musicians playing in large groups, the newly introduced Sound Focus feature ensures the RD-700NX cuts through the densest mix without adding compression that colours the tone.

For more go to www.roland.co.uk

LP headphones If packaging alone won prizes, you would have expected these over-theear headphones to have won a gong or two. Designed and developed in Hollywood, the angular box comes with a faux snakeskin handle and similarly styled press-studded clasp and contains, in padded security, a hardshell shaped zippered case that holds not just the extraordinarily lightweight glitzy metal headphones, but also a universal luxury fabric audio Kevlar-reinforced cable with a quarter-inch adapter and a remote fabric audio cable featuring a three-button remote with inline mike/ volume and control features for the latest iPhone, iPod, iPad and MacBook. Phew! Both neatly strapped in with strips of black elastic.

The brainchild of V-Moda’s chief executive officer Val Kolton, the Crossfade LP is the outcome of four years’ collaboration with various musicians, producers and DJs to find headphones that would deliver the ultimate in sound quality. The core of the system is the 50mm dualdiaphragm high definition drivers which pump out a massive sound without the need for batteries. It all seems to have worked a treat, with crystal clear treble, plenty of body in the mid-range and a deep, rich, vibrant bass that is further enhanced by the memory foam pads that all but eliminate any ambient noise. Make no mistake, these are quality cans. For more go to www.v-moda.com

Soon after Yamaha introduced the original Motif Music Production Synthesizer nine years ago, it was quickly recognised as the best sounding, top selling and most requested music workstation on the market at the time. Since then, the Motif has continued to evolve over the course of three product generations, and with each step has improved its expressiveness and functionality. And now, the next generation XF builds on the decade-long heritage of the Motif, with a Flash memory expansion that provides groundbreaking capabilities setting a new standard for keyboard workstations to last, Yamaha confidently predicts, for years to come. The new XF is packed with sonic power and versatility, having a massive 741MB of internal Wave ROM, including incredibly realistic pianos, acoustic instruments and vintage synths. It also features up to 2GB of optional Flash Wave memory, so whenever you turn the synth on, your samples will be stored already in the internal memory waiting for you. There is a sophisticated synth architecture with customised articulation and 18 different filter types to let you shape your sound as you wish, all controlled by eight front panel knobs and sliders making the process easy – even in real time. The popular FSX (Motif XF6/7) and BH (Motif XF8) keyboard actions let you express your passion for playing with 61-key, 76 key and 88-note weighted action.Also included is an integrated Yamaha digital mixer, and all this together with a direct-to-USB recording and playback allows you to record your final mixes to any connected USB memory device as CD-quality WAV files, or to play them on your computer back on the XF. For more go to www.yamahasynth.com

The CP1 is the flagship model in a new range of updated and upgraded instruments from the groundbreaking CP series that revolutionised the creative performance options of gigging pianists over 30 years ago. Maintaining the original CP product concept, the CP1 now boasts newly developed technology and functionality, with a completely redesigned core sound technology. Its unique Spectral Component Modeling tone generation system recreates the sounds of pure acoustic and classic vintage instruments with a degree of accuracy that Yamaha tell us is unmatched by any other digital instrument.

This modeling system perfectly compliments the all new NW-STAGE wooden key action, which draws on Yamaha’s 100 years of expertise in producing keyboard actions known for their consistency and balance. With synthetic ivory topped keys, the action offers perfect playability and authenticity by minimizing vibration and distortion, making the CP1, in Yamaha’s own words ‘the most expressive stage piano ever created’.

Needless to say, the CP1 carries a sophisticated set of master keyboard functions. For example, up to four virtual zones can be set up along the keyboard and assigned to separate tone generators, including external MIDI devices. The instrument comes with classic wooden side panels and a vintage textured top panel reminiscent of iconic keyboards from the past. It also sports a vacuum florescent display and brushed aluminium knobs and switches. I’m getting a flashback! For more go www.yamahasynth.com

Finger pianos and tone boxes may sound a little left-field, but for the adventurous musician, the possibilities of extending the sound palette are almost limitless. Although they are not particularly viable acoustically, so rather than using off-board mikes with all the associated problems, Jazzwise amplified the two instruments using a Schertler moving coil transducer contact mike and put them through a Headway Shire King 60 acoustic amplifier which made for some intriguing results. Positioning on the body of the instrument, as might have been expected, is crucial to getting the optimum sound but once found, not only was the tone of the instrument faithfully reproduced, so too was the timbre. Needless to say, bass, mid and high end levels can be adjusted to suit the particular sound the player is looking for and putting an effects pedal into the mix can take you to musical heights you never thought existed. Although the tone box is a non-tuneable instrument, the finger piano can be tuned to a pentatonic scale or alternatively siting naturals to one side and sharps to the other. There is also the option of thirds, fifths and so on – the choice is yours. These are basic instruments, but they’re remarkably versatile and deserve greater attention.

For more go to www.worldrhythm.co.uk

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