Customer Reviews

16
4.4 out of 5 stars
Roland A-800PRO Midi Controller
Price:$399.00 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2014
I love the build quality of the keyboard. It is clearly a quality item with nice knobs, buttons, keys, and sliders. The Roland "bender" control is there and works as on their other devices. Channel aftertouch works, though does indeed take some force as mentioned by others. Also: the keyboard, while naturally wide (61 keys), is quite narrow in the depth dimension (25cm) and thus fits pretty well on my computer desk next to a mixer and other audio components. The connectors are all on the side which I like (this also saves depth on a desk).

So now the bad stuff:
* The settings which are saved through a powercycle are very arbitrary. Many settings are retained, but octave and key velocity are not. Every time it starts up, I have to navigate through the menus and crank the knob to set a fixed velocity for the keys.
* MIDI channel selection is retained across a power cycle, but not when you switch from "upper" to another setting ("lower", "dual", "split") and back. Then the MIDI channel reverts to 1. Clearly a bug here.
* There is no easy way to directly set the MIDI channel. First you have to set the Value Knob to the MIDI channel setting, then you can control the channel. This also applies to the fixed-velocity mode: there is no direct way to set the velocity. This is surprising given that the GAIA SH-01 does this fine.
* There is no way to set some of the settings except through the computer software. This includes the split point, and also control mappings to sysex and realtime messages.
* The controller itself does not have its sysex messages documented. This means that you have to use the A-PRO software, which is not terrible, but annoying if you want to write your own configuration from music software or otherwise define your mappings. This is probably quite easy to reverse engineer, but still, there is little excuse here.
* There are a few other minor annoyances in this theme of "strange limitations that cannot be justified". It seems like they were desperately short on internal memory. All of these requested settings could easily be stored in 4K of memory. C'mon folks, I've forgotten how to count that low.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The main reason I selected this controller board over another brand such as M-Audio or Novation is brand loyalty. I've been using Roland synths since the Roland D-20 / MT-32 days and I have loved every one I own. The other reason is that I use Sonar X2, which is Roland's DAW. The controller also works great in FL Studio, which is my other DAW. I also selected the A-800 because I am used to and wanted a board with 61 keys. (5 octaves +1 key)

This controller is packed with tons of controls! 9 pots, 9 sliders, 8 touch pads, a basic control surface, a nice smooth pitch bend / modulation control, velocity sensitive keys with after touch control, and some other stuff. The after touch is a nice feature in a board at this price point.

The keys are light plastic, and have a very similar feel to the light plastic keys of my D-20, and other boards I've used in the past like the Roland W-30, JV-80, and the Yamaha DX-7. These light, responsive keys allow for rapid glissando and arpeggio playing. The keys are not semi-weighted or weighted, so this board would not be a good choice for people who are used to playing on keyboards with heavier keys such as digital pianos or real pianos.

This board feels a little soft compared to my D-20. The plastic housing actually causes the entire board to bend ever so slightly when I apply pressure to the keys to activate the after touch control. It isn't a major problem, and I'm sure any other competitively priced board is going to have the same issue. They just don't make things with the rigid quality of metal these days.

Edit: Just an additional note.
The drivers install 2 MIDI devices on the computer. One is the keyboard and pitch bend / mod wheel controller. The other is to control all the sliders, knobs, touch pads, etc. I had to tell my DAW software packages to use 1 as the MIDI keyboard, and 2 as a control surface.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2013
This is an awesome keyboard controller! You cannot find ANY Midi controller anywhere near this price range that has as many available control functions as the A800. The array of controllers is mind-boggling.

I'm using the A800 connected via an IK iRig Pro interface to my iPad Mini Retina. On the iPad, I'm running Galileo (for B3 Organ sounds), iGrand (for Piano sounds) and SampleTank (for various pads and orchestral instruments). The A800 allows me to have full drawbar controls for the B3 sounds using the sliders. Also, using the pads, I can pull up organ presets. The additional buttons and rotary controls provide for calling up presets on iGrand and SampleTank, along with volume and timbre controls. All that provides for a great live-performance controller.

The only negative I can express about the A800 is that it does require reasonable knowledge of Midi to set it up properly. Once you get it set up, though, you will find it a true joy to use in the studio or on stage.

BTW... if you're concerned about needing a power adapter...Please note that if you have a cell phone or tablet that has a power adapter with a USB port on it you can use that adapter, along with the USB cable that comes with the A800, for power. There's really no need to purchase an additional adapter
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2013
Shipment was fast and accurate.
Dealers are VERY responsive and kind! Especially Jennifer!

The A-800 pro is indeed a nice keyboard controller, better by the price offered. The controllers are very many and sufficient. The software to program it works fine. There are things I would recommend to improve but they are more related to Roland than this excellent dealer.

Now, the BAD things:
If you want this keyboard because you need a keyboard with Aftertouch, THIS IS NOT THE ONE!
You almost need to stand on it to make it work! It is VERY hard and insensitive, no matter you try the different "curves" in the configuration menu.

It is NOT a toy!
Using it requires you to fully understand MIDI and its programming.
Only highly experienced musicians with a thorough understanding of MIDI technicalities will take advantage of the so many controls available.

My advice?
If you are not a MIDI literate, think it twice before committing to purchase!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2013
I've owned this MIDI controller for a month or two now, and I am very pleased with my purchase. I wanted a controller that I could use to mix (sliders) and also control my software transport with. This has been perfect. I'm using in with Sonar 8.5 and once I initially got it set up properly, it has been flawless.

I do admit that setup was a bit of a pain. Do yourself a favor and install it step by step according to instructions. If you try to just wing it, you will probably run into trouble. It took me several attempts before giving up and going with the manual. :)

I kind of miss not having a synth with it's own on board sounds, but the more I use soft synths, the more I like them. Pretty awesome stuff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2013
I use this midi controller to record midi performances into my DAW as well as use it with a module when playing live. It was a toss up between the a800 and Novation's slmk2 but in the end, this unit was lighter, had a narrower profile and the keys on the Roland just felt more fluid and had a better bounce to them.

One thing I will say is that this controller is extremely versatile when it comes to the programming you can do for each button and fader. Just make sure you use the supplied PC editor or you'll be menu diving for hours. Some functions can't even be accessed or edited WITHOUT the editor.

That being said, there are mappings made for many popular DAWS and a GM mapping but don't be fooled. This controller isn't as plug and play as it looks. If you're not up on your midi know how be prepared for an education. Otherwise go with the Novation SL mk2. It has automap, a better display and lends itself very well to DAW plugin control.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2011
good keyboard, I"m happy I went with roland although i was also thinking akai keyboard, but they got a stiff keys problems.
roland is very durable and i mean durable so much that i'm not afraid to abuse it anymore, so light that it feels cheap but in this case it is only a plus,
plenty of controls (I don't even need to use all of them). running it with sonar x2.

the only problem I found in it is when you turn keyboard in split mode,
you then will only be able to transpose one part of it and never 2 parts at the same time. my Yamaha keyboard transposes 2 parts at the same time,
and despite that i'm still giving it 5 stars and if there would be 10 stars this roland would get just that.

Now about programing it: to be successful in it do some search on utube videos,
it takes a rocket since knowledge about midi set-ups for beginners, it is very advanced and time consuming, but after that it is only a joy to play it and to play with it's controls.
I'm using this controller for 2 years already and loving it every time of the use.
Aftertouch is there and i use it but it can better be controlled thru the on board joystick or an expression pedal.
good keyboard, thank you roland.
ROLAND ROCKS
ROLAND ROCKS
ROLAND ROCKS
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
I have only been able to play around with this for a little while, but so far, I really like it. I will say that the keys are a bit firm, but this is most likely an impression I have from using other cheaper controllers in the past.

I'm still trying to figure out how to fully utilize all the keys and knobs in various programs, and will update the review, up or down, based on how this goes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2014
I've been using this to play and record midi music for a few months now. It has been reliable and sturdy from day 1. I can't compare it with any other MIDI controller since it is the first one I have ever owned. Installation was a piece of cake. However I have not implemented any of the control surfaces, so I don't know how well they work - I just use it as a keyboard.
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on March 4, 2014
For a Made in China product, this initially felt good to the touch, but not sure if it is built for true professional use (despite the "PRO" in its nomenclature; because it is not built tough with professional-grade, heavy-duty materials. Too much plastic on this superlight device to withstand the wear-and-tear and everyday use/abuse under normal studio use. Although, the velocity keys are taut like a high-quality synth, they are not as sensitive (used with FL Studio 11). The sliders' friction is just right. And, the rubbery-feel of the knobs and pads seem to be made for heavy use. I might add that the pads are velocity-driven but not as sensitive, either. You'd have to make that extra effort to slap your fingers on the tiny rubber pads, to make your drum sounds go boom. Otherwise, you'd miss your timing mark because there is a fraction-of-a-second delay (which you can audibly discern) from the time you hit the pads to the moment you hear the sound on the monitor speakers. Still, compared with comparable keyboard controllers, this appears to be a better unit, for the price. Would I recommend this product? Yes, but only if you really need this many keys on a midi controller; the smaller Roland versions would probably suffice, with matching good price; I personally prefer Roland over the other brands for its consistent, relatively high quality across the many studio-grade instruments it offers over the years.
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