There’s no question that Digital Audio Workstations (DAW’s) are here to stay. After all, they’ve played a huge role in making it possible for young musicians to produce works of incredibly high audio quality from the comfort of their own bedroom.
Does this mean that all-in-one music workstations are now obsolete? Not so fast. While not as prevalent as they once were, music workstations are still a highly relevant piece of equipment to a large segment of musicians and composers. And the good news is, the technology is better than ever.
The FANTOM 6 is a no holds barred, 61-key music workstation representative of the latest advances in music technology. Save nascent musical ideas or labyrinthian arrangements instantly with the Scenes button, and combine them with other scenes down the road.
And there’s so much processing power, courtesy of Roland’s new Behavior Modeling Core Chip (BMC) that the FANTOM 6 will never be taxed beyond its capacity, even with 16 simultaneous parts running.
Now, what about the actual sound engine you’ll be creating with? ZEN-Core Processor with analog modelling? The PCM synthesis engine? Or one of Roland’s main digital piano modelling engines, the SuperNATURAL or V-Piano Technology engines? How about all of the above. You read that right, the FANTOM 6 offers several wholly distinct sound engines for maximum creative potential.
Beyond the onboard engines, you’ll also have access to the Roland Axial website which provides an assortment of sound packages and wave expansions to further extend your arsenal.
When it comes to the touch, this 61 note version of the FANTOM is a great option for those looking to save space and doesn’t require a weighted, full-sized action. Fortunately, the action is still semi-weighted and offers touch sensitivity with channel aftertouch.
There are also tons of sequencing capabilities and a comprehensive list of ports for connectivity of all kinds.
And the features just keep on going and going, but we need to mention the thick, metal frame housing the entire structure. Roland clearly designed the FANTOM 6 to be able to give peace of mind to those in even the busiest of studio settings.
Truly an achievement, the newest FANTOM series workstations further attest to Roland’s dominance as a cutting-edge musical instrument manufacturer.
61-Key Semi-weighted Piano Action
Built to be compact and not take up too much space, the FANTOM 6 uses a redesigned 61-key action. Touch-sensitive and semi-weighted, this action also boasts aftertouch.
If you’ve played older 61-key actions from Roland, this one will be a pleasant surprise as Roland’s redesign is definitely noticeable with a better touch response.
Where space is at a premium and you simply have no need for a fully weighted 88-note weighted action, the FANTOM 6 represents a stellar value since it costs quite a bit less, but everything other than the action is identical.
Multiple Sound Engines
When it comes to the sound engine portion of our discussion, a very clear picture starts to emerge regarding just how much creative potential this machine is offering. Right out of the box, there are multiple distinct sound engines offering over 3,500 sounds and 90 drum kits immediately at your disposal, with the ability to expand the sound bank even further via Roland’s Cloud website.
Making use of both the top sampling and modeling techniques, the FANTOM 6 features the ZEN-Core analog engine, the PCM synthesis engine, and the same modelling based engines found in Roland’s acclaimed home digital piano selection – the V-Piano Technology engine and the SuperNATURAL Piano Sound engine.
Beyond this, you’ve also got a selection of software synthesizers, and everything is being driven by Roland’s brand new Behaviour Modeling Core Chip (BMC) which has been turning heads since it was recently integrated.
A feature of the ZEN-Core engine that deserves highlighting is something called Partials; each and every tone can consist of up to 4 partials, and each of the 4 can be customized with various effects, different amp simulators, dual LFO, filters, and oscillators. When creating a Scene, you utilize up to 16 tones at once, meaning 64 possible partials!
Massive Variety of Connectivity Ports
As would be expected from a workstation with this much power, the FANTOM 6 is also replete with a massive variety of connectivity ports.
For starters, the outputs are separated into Main and Subcategories. The main outputs consist of twin ¼” outs (L/MONO, R) and twin XLR outputs.
The sub outputs offer a different set of twin ¼” outs (L/R), and also a ¼” and XLR microphone and line inputs.
In addition to the main and sub-categories, you’ve also got dual CV outputs, dual Gate outputs, 4 distinct pedal ports, a classic 5 pin MIDI in, and dual 5 pin MIDI outputs.
USB is also covered with USB memory, as well as a USB Audio port with triple stereo output, 16 stereo input, and even MIDI that supports three ports.
Rounding out the impressive list are three ports for external devices and these are compatible with other Roland digital piano products like the A-PRO MIDI controllers.
There are so many things we could highlight here, but we’ll go with the physical design characteristics of the FANTOM 6, particularly the compact size, as deserving special mention. For a relatively small, 33 instrument that still manages to be highly durable, this thing packs remarkable power.
- 61 note semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keyboard
- Zen-Core Sound Engine
- Multiple Modeled Engines
- V-Piano Engine
- SuperNATURAL Acoustic Engine
- Expansion capability
- 16 Zones
- 128 Scenes
- Multitude of Effects including 9 chorsus’s, 7 reverbs, Master EQ, and more
- Analog Filter
- Huge array of controllers
- Backlit LCD Colour Display
- 33 lbs
Roland’s done it again. The FANTOM 6 is arguably the most powerful and versatile 61-key music workstation in existence and is a true testament to how far music technology has come.