Since the 1970s, Roland has been at the vanguard of electric and digital piano technology and innovation. Japan’s very first mass production synthesizer, the Roland SH-1000, was introduced in 1973 to great acclaim, and the rest is history. Dozens of new models followed in subsequent years, and the direct precursor to the current FA series, the Fantom, was introduced in 2000.
The Fantom was a highly innovative and influential workstation, dramatically raising the bar for the entire industry. The current FA series, released in 2014, was another huge step forward with its complete reimaging of the workstation once again.
Roland has streamlined the real-time power, and dramatically improved the work flow and ease of use from the standard workstation experience. The series consists of three models – the 61-note FA-06, 76-note FA-07, and the fully weighted, 88-note FA-08. Interestingly, all of the internal features are identical across all three models of the series, and the differences come down to the size of the keyboard and cabinet. For anyone who doesn’t require an 88-note keyboard and is looking for easy portability, look no further than the FA-06.
The Roland FA-06 synth is loaded up with over 2000 tones from the INTEGRA-7, which is Roland’s top sound module originally released in 2012, which means that the FA-06 offers a large range of professional quality sounds for a variety of musical settings. The FA-06 also features Roland’s SuperNATURAL acoustic tones that include pianos, e pianos, organ, and strings among others.
The FA-06 has a 16 track sequencer for building lush arrangements, and with real-time capture, step recording is also an option. You have complete editing and mixing control and you can save your tracks as stereo audio files. Independent MFX engines are available for all 16 tracks, and with the TFX feature (total effects), the output can be processed with various effects such as DJ FX Looper, Isolator, and others. All the effects can be further edited with the Sound Modify knobs.
There’s also a sampler, master control functionality, and super easy DAW integration. Really, this thing is loaded up. If you’re looking for all of these features and key action isn’t a priority, the FA-06 digital piano offers the best value of the line.
While the action certainly isn’t the focal point here, and if you’re looking for a workstation with an action that replicates the feel of an acoustic piano the FA-06 won’t be the right fit for you, this action is still semi-weighted and velocity-sensitive. This means it does feel a lot better than what you’ll get in a cheaper, non-weighted action, and the velocity sensitivity means that the FA-07 can serve as the master controller of a large rig set-up for performances.
The FA-06 features no less than 5 distinct sound engines: the SuperNATURAL Acoustic, SuperNATURAL Synth, SuperNATURAL Drum Kit, PCM Synth, and PCM Drum Kit engines. There are over 2000 total onboard sounds, many of which are of distinctly professional quality. There’s also a new Tone Remain function, which allows you to switch sounds seamlessly with no notes or effect tails being unnaturally cut off.
There are 128 notes of polyphony on most patches, and a ton of effects parameters, including various Chorus, Reverb, EQ’s, Master compressor among others, for 68 total possible effects.
The FA-06 digital piano is fully compatible with the large, growing collection of INTEGRA-7 synth patches available as free downloads from Roland’s sound library site. It’s also possible to expand the onboard sound set with free wave sound expansion collections, which you can also get at the sound library site.
Like any good workstation, the FA-06 has extensive connectivity ports. There’s a 1/4” stereo headphone port, L/MONO, R output jacks, stereo ¼” sub output jack, stereo line-in, ¼” mic input, 3 distinct foot pedal ports, MIDI connectors in and out, USB in and out, as well as a DC in jack.
With the exception of Bluetooth, pretty much everything is covered here.
We have to harp on the size factor again here. There’s so much packed into this workstation to the point that it’s kind of shocking it only ways a meager 12 lbs. If your space is tight, or you want a compact master controller to run a much larger rig, the FA-06 packs a serious punch that belies its size.
- SuperNATURAL Acoustic
- SuperNATURAL Synth
- SuperNATURAL Drum Kit
- PCM Synth
- PCM Drum Kit
- Wave Expansion Slots
- Reverb: 6 types
- Total Effects (TFX): 29 types
- Mic Input Reverb: 8 types
- D-BEAM Controller
- Pitch Bend/Modulation Lever
- Assignable Switch x 2 (S1/S2)
- 5-inch Graphic Color LCD
- SD Card (SDHC supported)
As the most compact member of the FA series, the Roland FA-06 will be a super appealing instrument for those looking for Roland’s latest workstation tech, in the least expensive and most compact package.
Roland’s powerful FA series streamlines the music workstation for effortless real-time power, ultra-fast workflow, and maximum versatility. Featuring a traditional 61-note velocity-sensitive keyboard, the FA-06 is the most compact and mobile instrument in the FA series.