Roland A-500 PRO Keyboard Controller

49-key MIDI Keyboard Controller with 45 Assignable Controls (Knobs, Sliders, Buttons, Transport) - Mac/PC
Roland A-500 PRO Keyboard Controller image 1
Roland A-500 PRO Keyboard Controller image 1
$299.00
Sweetwater Savings: $110.00 MSRP: $409.00
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Roland A-500 PRO Keyboard Controller
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Major MIDI Control!

Way more than a keyboard! Roland's A-500 PRO is one serious MIDI controller. Beyond having 49 velocity-sensitive keys for playing virtual instruments, this beast boasts a total of 45 assignable controls - knobs, buttons, sliders, and more. You can assign out the controls however you want, so you can get your hands on your mix, finger drum on the 8 Dynamic Pads, control recording start/stop/playback... whatever your workflow demands. If you're choosing your first MIDI controller, you can't go wrong with the A-500 PRO. The keys glide under your fingers, you've got controls for whatever you want, and it works with your Mac or PC. Nice.

When you're getting a MIDI controller, you've got factors to consider. Mainly, you want to make sure you have the level of control you need. Why have only keys, then, when you can grab the A-500 PRO and load up with 49 keys plus 45 different controls for your DAW? If portability's a concern also, the A-500 PRO still fits the bill. It can be powered by your Mac or PC over USB - no need for an AC adapter, unless you want one. That means the A-500 PRO and your laptop are a perfect pair for your music-making needs.

Roland A-500 PRO 49-key MIDI Controller Features at a Glance:
  • 49-key MIDI controller with velocity-sensitive keys
  • 45 assignable controls: knobs, sliders, buttons, transport, and more
  • 8 dynamic pads for finger drumming and MIDI triggering
  • Sure-grip Pitch Bend/Modulation stick
  • Sustain and Expression pedal jacks to expand playability
  • USB bus powered - no AC adapter required
  • Both Mac and PC compatible
Load up with a feature-packed MIDI controller and start making music!

Tech Specs

Pads 8
Number of Keys 49
Type of Keys Semi-weighted
Aftertouch Yes
Other Controllers Pitch, Mod Lever
Encoders/Pots 9
Faders 9
Dedicated Transport Control Yes
Pedal Inputs 1 x Hold, 1 x Expression
MIDI I/O In/Out/USB
USB 1 x Type B
Hardware Requirements - Mac Intel Processor, PowerPC G4 1GHz or Faster, 512MB RAM or Faster, 100MB or More Free Space
OS Requirements - Mac OS X 10.4 or Later
OS Requirements - PC Windows XP (SP2), Windows Vista, Windows 7
Power Supply Bus Powered, AC Adapter
Height 3.63"
Width 33.06"
Depth 9.88"
Weight 8.44 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number A-500PRO-R

Customer Reviews

3.5/5
Based on 4 reviews
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5/5

Great Keyboard- Roland quality

I wanted a small portable keyboard to use with Sonar and my laptop AND my home system. This keyboard works perfectly for me. I can play my Triton 88 as a slave with the MIDI merge input, use all the knobs, buttons and sliders to control Sonar apps then unplug it, grab my laptop and head out the door. The keyboard has a springy solid feel to it, very responsive and the knobs and sliders have a nice rubbery grip. It's lightweight (8lbs 7oz) and compact, a little smaller than the Axiom 49. Set up was not ideal-none of the controls worked when I plugged it in after installing the drivers. But the Cakewalk support is really top notch and they walked me through a few fixes until we hit the right one, "factory reset" in the functions menu. They e mailed me a report of my call. I also had to reverse the polarity on my M-Audio foot pedal for sustain. Once it was all set up it worked great, the A pro editor comes up in Sonar, all the knobs and sliders move, and are easy to program. I tried the Axiom but the MIDI in did not work with my Triton 88 and the keys feel chunky and velocity response wasn't consistent. It's also bigger and heavier- 13 lbs. The sliders feel a little cheaper and the click knobs are annoying. But, the drum pads are much better , the large bright blue display is easy to read and they have Windows 7 64 bit drivers on their website. This is the keyboard to get for Sonar users, I'm not sure how it works with other DAW'S but you can at least call cakewalk for help if you have problems- Their customer service is excellent.
Music background: Active musician, home recording hobbyist
4/5

Roland A-500 Pro

I could have gone with other midi controllers with more keys but I made my decision based on Roland's reputation for quality. I was not disappointed. I also received great technical support from Skylar at Sweetwater, since my Mac Book was up to date with the latest version 10.12 OS X, he found the right driver for my system off of Roland's web site and had me up and running in no time.
Music background: Live and Studio muscian.
2.5/5

fun keyboard

The black keys are unusually THIN!? which I guess might be good for someone with wide fingers (i've met some keyboard players who say they can't play in certain keys because their fingers don't fit between the black keys very easily) but for someone with normal fingers I have tended to slip off the black keys unintentionally. The feel of the keys, however, is very nice. I really like the feel of this better than any other MIDI controller I've tried. If you are planning on using drum pads a lot this isn't the controller for you. They feel very mushy and are more like the feel of a button instead of a pad. (I have several other MIDI controllers with much better drum pads) I like the pitch bend modulation stick but for something where you want the mod wheel up and be able to use your left hand it is pretty inconvenient. I really like the knobs because they aren't 360 but some people may prefer the full rotating ones. The sliders feel a little cheap and the display is very small, which I don't mind too much but my M-AUDIO AXIOM PRO has a much better display size. Unfortunately it is losing some of the pixels which is something I don't think I'll have a problem with on this Roland. The sturdiness of the keyboard is very nice which is one of the main reasons I like it (I'm using it live with MainStage 3). Many other controllers feel plastic-y and wobbly whereas this controller is stable and sturdy but still very light. Best Part: Action of the keys + sturdiness Worst Part: Black keys are very slim and feel of the drum pads are mushy
Music background: Pro Musician, Music Educator
2/5

Great controller with one huge problem

This is a solid-built controller. Keys feel good, even though they are a little springy and they are a little small, but not too bad. With Macintosh's utility "Audio MIDI Settings" it's easy to map out and the driver installed without a hitch. Construction is solid and this thing is very lightweight. Display is easy to read and the controls are well designed, although just a bit complex. For me, here's the huge problem. I use Logic and often Camel Audio's Alchemy soft-synth, and the mod wheel is very important because for many of the patches it drastically alters the parms to the point of getting a new sound. The A500Pro has a mod stick that is spring loaded. Therefore, if you find a setting that you really like, you have to hold the mod stick because when released it springs back to "zero" position. This is a critical, deal-killing design flaw, in my opinion. You can never play a mod setting with two hands. I'm returning the A500 that I just bought and sticking with my M-Audio Axiom Pro for my laptop controller.
Music background: Performer, composer, now hobbyist
See also: Controller Keyboards, Roland, Roland MIDI Controllers