The Roland Corporation is responsible for creating a wide range of musical instruments including digital pianos, organs, keyboards, synthesizers, electronic percussion, guitar products, digital recording equipment, and even audio processing devices. Founded more than 35 years ago by Ikutaro Kakehashi, the Roland Corporation has been, and continues to be a leading manufacturer of electronic instruments.
Established 1972 in Osaka Japan, the Roland Corporation rolled out its first Roland-branded product the Rhythm 33, or more commonly known by its model number the TR-33. The TR-33 was one of three drum machines released by Roland that year, along with the TR-55 and TR-77. The Rhythm 33 used analog synthesis techniques to develop its distinct sound, and had a unique design that allowed it to easily be mounted underneath a keyboard or organ.
The following year, Roland went on to release its very first synthesizer the SH-1000, which would open a whole new market for the company. The SH-1000 was Japan's first synthesizer, and it resembled more of a compact organ than an actual synthesizer. It only offered a limited number of preset voices, but a completely editable section that could be manipulated to design new sounds manually. The SH-1000 paved the way for Roland to develop some of the most recognized synthesizers in electronic music production. Following the release of the SH-1000, Roland unleashed the RE-201 Echo Chamber in 1973. The RE-201 known to most as "Space Echo" was a pioneer of spatial effects. Its combination of features made it appealing to guitar players, vocalists, and keyboard players of all types.
In the 1980's, Roland released products that have since become some of the most iconic pieces of classic gear, most notably the TR-808 Rhythm Machine and the Jupiter-8 Synthesizer. Both the TR-808 and the Jupiter-8 helped shape the sound of music in the 80's. Still to this day both instruments are sought after by enthusiasts and audiophiles, and have been sampled and reproduced in in a multitude of software plug-in emulations. In 1985, Roland also majorly contributed to the birth of MIDI, which is known today as the global standard for electronic music instruments. But it wasn't just drum machines and synths for this ambitious company. Roland also holds the brand Boss under its list of well-known accomplishments. Boss is Roland's brand gear towards manufacturing guitar related products including, guitar pedals, effects units, and portable recording equipment. In fact, you most likely find Boss effects used in signal chains on almost every guitarist's pedal board today.
In 2000, Ikutaro Kakehashi was inducted into Hollywood's Rockwalk on Sunset Blvd. in honor of his company's many incredible contributions to the music industry over the years. Roland offers a full range of keyboards and synths that are leaders in performance, features, and ease of use, including the popular V-Synth, Fantom-X, and Jupiter-80 keyboards. Roland still excels in electronic percussion with their acclaimed V-Drums, and Roland's line of hard disk recording products including the V-Mixing System, SONAR V-Studio and others that have been used on hundreds of albums from some of music's biggest names. Moving past 2000 and into today, Roland continues to push their high-tech excellence with products that are right on the edge of current technology.