The EA7 was quite a departure for Roland's arranger division, the first sampler, the first multipads, the first 'surround the screen with buttons' approach like an S900 Yamaha. In fact, I tend to look at the EA7 as Roland Japan's first arranger (the previous having been primarily Italian designed) and, lacking experience, just decided to copy an S900 or so.
Sadly, it was too little, too late. While Korg and Yamaha had moved on to GB sized samplers, Roland's had a paltry 128MB! What is this, the friggin' 90's? And to add insult to injury, it imported no standardized multisample format. Bare .wav, no mapping, no Akai, no .sf2, not even Roland's old S class sampler format. So essentially, it was a 90's sampler incapable of even importing 90's sampler formats!
Then there's the multipads. Capable of MIDI and audio formats, but no audio loops included, and only the teensy tiniest number of MIDI multipads. So, yet another long requested feature finally appearing, only to be crippled by no content. If there's anything that will put off the average arranger user, it's little to no factory content for a feature! Imagine a Yamaha shipping without hundreds of multipad phrases, or a Korg with zero available sampler content...
Not gonna happen!
I believe that the truth is, we are watching a generational change in not only the means of production, but the tools of it as well. Let's face it, arrangers, without a TON of skill and really hard work, simply struggle to make contemporary sounding music. It's the wrong tool. It's the world of loop creation boxes, hardcore synths and clip triggering that drives contemporary pop.
Roland simply took too long to add the multipads and sampler that we had been begging for for at least 15 years, and did it so halfheartedly that those that really wanted the feature had no choice but to migrate to brands that did it properly. It's a shame, I think a couple more years R&D, it wouldn't have taken long to push the new features into competitiveness with Y&K, but looking at Roland's focus on hardcore synth technology and leveraging their legacy synth name recognition, it's pretty obvious that Roland's heart isn't in it any more.
But things in music evolve. Synths and then samplers totally killed the home organ market at least in any significant sales numbers. We are watching the same happen to the successor to the home organ. Some go out of business, some leave to concentrate on the new thing, some stick around in the twilight and gradually fade away. I simply think Roland have decided to cut their losses. The last gasp didn't have enough gas..!
On the bright side, if there's one thing that being orphaned (technologically speaking!) and left out in the cold helps you with, it's focusing on extracting the most out of what you have. No sitting around hoping the next TOTL Roland arranger will finally provide us with whatever we want to do at the touch of a button... No, what we have is all we will EVER have!
So now's the time to dig deep, and find what we want musically within ourselves. Want better brass voicing, learn to PLAY better brass voicing. Want better guitar parts, learn to PLAY better guitar parts. Want to have fun with music? Concentrate on the MUSIC..!
Truth is, any arranger from the last ten years or so can sound amazing... If it's PLAYED amazingly well. That's something that don't cost a dime, doesn't come included on even the latest greatest arrangers. It just takes a few minutes of your day, each and every day. That's time much better spent than endlessly discussing and waiting for the NEXT Roland arranger.
Use what you got... It's pretty damn good!
Edited by Diki (10/06/20 09:27 PM)
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!