Roland makes play for gaming market at CES 2023

Electronic musical instrument manufacturer Roland has unveiled a number of new products at CES 2023 in Las Vegas designed to target the gaming market.

The new launches – the BRIDGE CAST dual bus gaming mixer, TD-02 drum series, and Roland 50thanniversary Concept Piano – mark the MI giant’s first foray into the world of gaming.

The Roland BRIDGE CAST is a professional USB-C audio streaming interface and mixer for online gamers. A CES 2023 Innovation Awards Honoree, BRIDGE CAST’s customisable desktop hub features dual mixes, vocal transformer effects, music playback, sound effects, and support for a broadcast-grade XLR mic. Onboard DSP handles the audio load, letting the user dedicate their computer’s power to gaming and streaming. BRIDGE CAST also allows gamers to create independent sound mixes for personal monitoring and online streaming. The personal mix can prioritise game audio and voice chat, while the stream mix can be optimised for maximum viewer engagement using sound effects, backing music, and more. The companion BRIDGE CAST app unlocks more features, including mic and audio processing, voice transformer settings, Game EQ presets, and more. It’s also possible to re-assign hardware controls and save/recall configurations for different games and streaming audiences.

The Roland TD-02K and TD-02KV V-Drums kits are designed to provide a premium musical experience for first-time drummers, practicing students, and adults looking to start playing drums again. The kits are based around the TD-02 module, which includes 16 ready-to-play kits and onboard Coach functions to help build and maintain skills. Drummers can use headphones for quiet home playing sessions and connect a smartphone to play along with favourite songs. An optional Bluetooth adaptor adds wireless capabilities for streaming music from mobile devices and communicating with MIDI production apps. The TD-02K and TD-02KV offer a full array of drum and cymbal pads with sensitive playing surfaces to develop proper techniques. The upgraded TD-02KV kit includes a Roland mesh-head snare pad with a natural acoustic stick feel and rebound. The hi-hat and kick trigger pedals in both kits feature noise-reducing designs to minimize sound transfer in living spaces.

Roland also announced its involvement in the Clem Burke Drumming Project. Inspired by the drumming of legendary Blondie artist Clem Burke, scientists have explored the physical demands of ‘live’ drumming and uncovered health benefits. Results found that drummers can exert the same level of energy during a concert as a professional soccer player in a 90-minute match. Groundbreaking cognitive benefits were discovered as well.

Meanwhile, Roland’s 50th Anniversary Concept Piano aims to pave the way for instruments of the future. It is equipped with Roland’s latest sound system and tones alongside the brand’s most revered piano sounds and expression. It also features a keyboard touch that the firm described as ‘more natural and responsive than ever before’. Its one-piece molded wooden body, designed in collaboration with Japanese furniture maker Karimoku, was inspired by the fusion of the past and future, while its exterior, comprised of Japanese oak wood, provides deep piano tones from its speakers.

Furthermore, it offers a 360-degree speaker system, which is able to send sound in any direction through its 14 adjustable speakers placed strategically throughout. In addition to the onboard speakers, the sound field around the piano will be enhanced with drone speakers, which float above the piano for an enhanced sound quality and eye-catching experience. By operating on a low latency dedicated communication channel, the drones allow players to control their positioning as they play.