Another reason to stop smoking

I stumbled across this item on the Japanese Roland site as translated by Google Translate:

To Expansion Board SR-JV80 Series Customers (Published January 27, 2017)

Thank you very much for your patronage of our products on a daily basis.

The Expansion Board SR-JV80 series has been in production for more than 20 years since the initial production, electrolyte in use may rarely leak due to aged deterioration of the electrolytic capacitor used.

If electrolyte leaks out, in the worst case there is a risk of smoking.
Customers who are currently using the SR-JV80 series with sound module or synthesizer should stop using them immediately.

If you continue to use this SR-JV80 series in the future, please consult the Roland customer consultation center.

Roland Customer Consultation Center 050-3101-2555
* Follow the voice guidance, please press the repair reception desk “1 #”.

Reception hours: Monday to Friday 10: 00 ~ 17: 00 (excluding holidays and our defined holidays)

We deeply apologize for any inconvenience to our customers who love their products. From now on, we will strive to further improve the quality. Thank you for your consideration.

Electrolytic capacitors do not age well. By now, we have all been bitten by low quality capacitors which have failed after a few years of operation. I’m sorting through old computer equipment and I’m amazed that much of it is still operational nearly 30 years later. Not much of a guarantee, however.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the chief concern in Roland’s warning message: Don’t smoke around our old JV80 gear with expansion boards. Clearly, this was written by (very polite) lawyers! If I did smoke, I would sooner give up the cancer sticks than give up my XP-60.

Won’t be long, yeah!

Winter NAMM 2017 starts in two weeks (January 19). As usual, we gear freaks can’t wait to get our annual new product fix!

Roland jumped the field and announced a few new products at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). They appear to be rolling out a new consumer-oriented product line, “GO:”, for amateur musicians and music makers.

Roland announced two new keyboards for beginning players: the GO:KEYS (G-61K and G-61KL) and the GO:PIANO. Both products target the entry-level market currently dominated by Yamaha and Casio. This is a smart business move as the entry-level segment moves a lot of units and offerings in this segment have been getting stale. Here are estimated USA sales statistics for 2014 in the “portable keyboard” segments:

    Category                       Units            Retail value
    -----------------------------  ---------------  -------------
    Portable keyboards under $199    656,000 units  $ 64,000,000
    Portable keyboards over $199     350,000 units  $123,000,000
    Total portable keyboards       1,006,000 units  $187,000,000

    (Source: NAMM)

Unit volume is high, but price and margins are razor thin. Keyboards in the “under $199” category are sold mainly in big box stores, not musical instrument retailers. So, it will be interesting to see where the new Roland keyboards are sold.

The GO:KEYS is most similar to an entry-level arranger keyboard. Estimated street price is $299. Roland is selling two models: a model with Bluetooth support and a model without. Probably depends on their ability to get RF type acceptance in a country or region. The GO:KEYS claims General MIDI 2 (GM2) support among 500 “pro-quality” sounds. The GM2 tone set consists of 256 melodic instruments and nine drum kits. I produced quite a few decent backing tracks using the Roland GM2 sound set on its RD-300GX stage piano. If Roland adopted this set, then the GO:KEYS should sound pretty decent (at least through external monitors rather than its internal speakers). No manual yet so it’s hard to say specifically what other sounds are included. Even if they recycled some chestnuts from the old JV/XP/XV, there is hope.


The Roland GO:PIANO is, ta-da, a portable piano. This product has the Yamaha Piaggero line in its cross-hairs. The estimated street price is $329. Again, no manual, so it’s hard to assess the feature set. Pricing on both products places them at the higher end of the entry-level market. The inclusion of Bluetooth support at this price point is a significant differentiator.


Both the GO:KEYS and GO:PIANO are battery powered (six AA batteries) in addition to an AC adapter. Both products use one-off fixed field LCD text and graphics like the lower cost Yamaha and Casio models. The key beds look decent, but we will have to play them in order to assess feel and quality. At least the keys are full size — not mini-keys, thank you.

If the Roland sounds are indeed up to snuff, Roland may be able to take sales away from Yamaha and Casio. Yamaha has been coasting with its entry-level sound set for over a decade and the recent PSR-E453 refresh did little to rejuvenate the entry-level segment. It will be interesting to see if Roland can win sales and spur innovation at the low end.

The GO:MIXER is positioned as an audio mixer for your mobile phone. It is USB powered, however, with no battery option. The GO:MIXER has guitar, microphone, instrument and media player inputs with associated mixing level control. There is a stereo monitor output as well as a “center cancel” feature. The estimated street price is $99USD.


Although Roland promote it for video production, I could see musicians using the GO:MIXER for a quick mix in the field. It certainly has enough inputs that a small group of pals could plug in and jam away.