Roland Corporation: What Did This Company Bring Music?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 25, 2022

Always the latest guitar gear & tricks?

Subscribe to THE newsletter for aspiring guitarists

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

hi there I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Roland Corporation has been a leader in the music industry since its inception in 1972. The company has been heralded for its contributions to the world of music production through its vast array of innovative instruments, effects and software solutions.

Here we will look at some of the ways Roland Corporation has changed the landscape of music production, from its iconic analog synthesizers to modern digital workstations:

What is Roland Corporation

Overview of Roland Corporation

Roland Corporation is a leading manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, including keyboards, guitar synthesizers, drum machines, amplifiers, and digital recording equipment. Founded in 1972 by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka, Japan, the company has grown to become one of the most influential and well-known names in music technology. As an industry leader in both hardware and software innovation, Roland products are developed with cutting-edge technologies and made to serve the needs of musicians at every level—from hobbyists to professional performers.

Roland’s product line includes a wide variety of products for creating any type of musical style or era—from jazz to classical to rock or pop—as well as professional audio systems for live performance or studio recording. Roland’s synthesizers not only celebrate traditional analog sounds but also feature modern features such as advanced digital modeling technology. Its guitars feature state-of-the-art pickups and effects processing alongside full MIDI compatibility. Its amplifiers provide warm vintage tones while incorporating modern technology like modeling circuitry. Drum kits from the company offer an unparalleled level of realism and convenience, with preloaded sets available from all major genres from jazz and reggae to metal and hip hop. The company has also designed integrated wireless systems for amps that allow for easy interfacing with computers over WiFi or Bluetooth networks for recording or streaming musical performances online.

In short, Roland instruments can accurately recreate virtually any sound imaginable—allowing musicians to explore their creativity like never before!

Pioneering Digital Music Technology

Roland Corporation is known for its pioneering contributions to the advancement of digital music technology. The company was founded in 1972, and since then it has been at the forefront of introducing innovative instruments and gadgets to the music industry. Their products have been popular around the world, and they continue to stay in the spotlight due to the innovative products they continue to produce.

This section will cover the pioneering digital music technology that Roland Corporation has brought to the music industry.

Roland’s Early Synthesizers

Roland Corporation, founded in 1972 by Ikutaro Kakehashi, developed some of the most pioneering and influential instruments used in modern music. Their first electronic instrument, the 1976 Roland SH-1000 synthesizer, ushered in a new era of digital music platforms as studio tools for composition, recording and performance. With Kakehashi’s vision to inspire musicians, Roland quickly followed up the SH-1000 with their iconic Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer and TB-303 Bass Line Synthesizer both released in 1982.

The TB-303 was groundbreaking not only because of its monophonic capabilities but also due to its unique design that allowed performers to program the exact sequence of notes they wanted to play. Its instantly recognizable sound is one that many credit as pioneering Acid Music and has been used by DJs worldwide across multiple genres including House, Hip Hop and Techno genres.

The 808 Rhythm Composer incorporated a drum machine with a sampling method based on analog sounds (digital sampling of analog sounds had not been invented yet). Like the 303, its sound became integral to numerous genres like Acid House, Techno and Detroit Techno amongst others. To this day it continues to influence modern electronic music compositions across all genres found within EDM (Electronic Dance Music).

Roland’s Drum Machines

Roland’s drum machines have been integral to the development of digital music technology over the years, from their first versions in the early 1980s all the way through to their latest groundbreaking pieces of hardware.

The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, released in 1980, was one of Roland’s most influential products and has had a major effect on popular music ever since. It featured digitally synthesized kick and snare drums, pre-recorded electronic sounds like snares and hi-hats, and has become famous for its signature bass sound. The electronically generated rhythms of this machine were an inspiration for hip-hop, electro, techno and other dance-music genres over its 30 year history.

The TR-909 was also released in 1983 by Roland. This machine became a classic analogue/digital crossover that allowed performers to take advantage of both technology when programming beats – with an added unique feature in that you could play real drum samples with an intuitive sequencer interface. This ability has been credited with helping spawn house music as well as acid techno – offering performers much greater sequencing flexibility than previous drum machines could provide.

Today’s modern equivalents such as the TR-8 offers impressive modern technological advances like sample import and 16 adjustable knobs for creating inspiring new beats quickly and easily; allowing users to effortlessly program complex rhythms for use in any genre of music imaginable. Combining that with a built–in sequencer/controller it’s not hard to see why Roland remains industry standard when it comes to creating digital drums today!

Roland’s Digital Audio Workstations

Since the mid-1970s, Roland has been one of the leading innovators in digital music technology. The company’s Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) have become indispensable tools for producers and musicians around the world. In addition to being powerful multi-track recording devices, many of Roland’s DAWs also feature onboard effects and synthesis capabilities as well as noting, drum machine and performance controls.

Roland introduced its first DAW, the MC50 MkII in 1986 and since then has expanded its offerings through series such as their GrooveBox range, making all of their products equally appealing to professionals or home producers alike. They’ve also introduced hybrid DAWs like the TD-30KV2 V-Pro Series which combines sampled sounds with acoustic instrument tones for a more natural feel that is ideal for live performances.

With features like built-in interconnectivity via USB 2.0 ports that allow users to quickly and easily share audio files between multiple devices as well as production software support from major names such as Ableton Live and Logic Pro X, it is no surprise that Roland’s award winning digital audio workstations have become industry favorites. Whether you are looking to record your first track or are an experienced professional engineer looking for a pro studio solution – Roland’s got the right digital audio workstation for you.

Impact on Music Production

The Roland Corporation has had an immense impact on the way that music has been produced and enjoyed. Since launching in 1972, this Japanese electronics company has released an immense range of musical instruments and equipment, ranging from rhythm machines to synthesizers and MIDI interfaces.

One of Roland’s most iconic hardware products is the TR-808 Rhythm Composer, commonly known as the 808. This unique drum-machine was influential in popularizing the development of electronic music alongside electro hip hop and techno genres. With its distinctly robotic sounds, it was notably used by Afrika Bambataa, Marvin Gaye and many others artists in pioneering DJs who shaped modern music culture.

Roland also released digital synthesizers such as the Juno-60 and Jupiter 8 – both renowned for their signature depth of sound quality due to their 16-note polyphony capacity. Many world class musicians such as Stevie Wonder have embraced these designs while producing classic hits over the years.

The corporation also created a diverse range of audio processors such as vocal effects boxes and multi-effects processing units – These enabled musicians to add realtime effects to production pieces for greater sound manipulation control than ever before. As seen across numerous genres ranging from salsa to pop – Roland advanced music production techniques for major recording studios worldwide due to its revolutionary products that improved sound quality standards exponentially during this period.


The Roland Corporation has had huge impacts on the music industry. It created iconic synthesizers that revolutionized how music was composed, recorded, and performed. The Guitar Synth brought a new level of expression to players of guitar as well as other instruments, by allowing guitarists to explore alternative musical approaches. Roland drum machines and digital sequencers introduced easily accessible rhythm sections for recording artists, producers, and performers alike. Additionally, their innovative digital recording products have made possible many of the sounds we hear today in modern recordings.

With their vast range of professional and amateur products they have created options for all levels of musicians, amateur to professional. Through continuous innovation and investment in technology, Roland Corporation is ensuring that music will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:

Microphone gain vs volume Subscribe