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Roland AX-Synth 49-Key Keytar Synthesizer - Pearl White Reviews

4.0 stars based on 10 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Daniel Fisher

    I've been using strap-on keyboards since 1983 starting with the Korg Poly-800 (with reverse color keys), then a Yamaha KX5and DX-100, and in the '90s I used the Roland AX-1 and finally the AX-7. It is very liberating to be able to play anywhere on stage without having to set up a keyboard rig.

    The problem has always been that you'd have to bring a lot of other "stuff" if you wanted to have hi-quality sounds. And then you'd have to wire it all up. The Roland AX-Synth finally delivers a one-piece solution with the convenience of a "wearable" keyboard with the sound quality of a workstation. It makes going to a local jam at a club or friend's house as easy it is for guitar players: "One bag with your ax and a patch cord inside."

    If you've never played keys tipped vertically you'll be pleased to find that it's very natural and even more comfortable than playing normally as your wrist is straight.

  • Carson McClain

    I have been researching guitar-style synth controllers for years. I found that I loved the AX-1s that came before this. The AX-Synth has way more than any of its predecessors. The fact that this has built-in sounds, battery power, V-Link, ribbon mod, and D-Beam make this an absolute monster. I guarantee you will love this controller. Just watch, this will be all over late night televsion, festival tour videos, and in the hands of the best synth players on this planet. You need the AX-Synth if you are serious about live synth performance.

  • Jefferson Weber
    from Indianapolis, Indiana April 2, 2012Music Background:

    Great synth!

    This synth Rocks! So much fun to play. Really helps emulate guitar with the mod, pitch bend , d beam and after touch controls. Roland has always made the best keytars! Great synth leads and basses too.

  • Erica
    from Hartford, CT April 13, 2010Music Background:
    pro musician

    great for bands

    I bought the AX-Synth about a month ago and just got back from touring with it. I cannot recommend this piece of equipment highly enough. Not only does is sound fantastic, it's comfortable and easy to play without being too heavy. And the internal sound engine is clutch, I was able to leave my other MIDI equipment at home and just plug into an DI on stage. The fans loved it, the other bands loved it, and I love it!

  • Timothy Paul
    from Naples, FL September 2, 2009Music Background:
    too much to list


    This thing is a blast. Received mine today, plugged into my Traynor K4 keyboard amp and this was just plain fun!!!

    Put on some blues background tracks and just played for hours. I was having so much fun, I didn't even critique most of the sounds.

    Playing keys for 40 years now, and picked up the guitar 20 years ago to get out from behind my keyboard stack. Now I have the best of both worlds.

    Can't wait to show it to my band tomorrow.

    If you are a keyboardist - you just got to get one of these. The only thing better is playing a Les Paul or a Yamaha C7!!!

  • Rich Bates
    from Durango, CO November 4, 2014Music Background:

    I love min AX, but it has drawbacks

    I love this thing. It is my instrument for open-mic nights. It is my primary instrument when I play Bass for a couple bands. There's a couple good distortion guitar sounds, perfect for Gilmour leads, and that scat patch freaks people out. It is a crowd favorite.

    BUT there are problems:

    1. The organs sounds SUCK (except for Cathedral organ, which rocks). I've tried making a good full B3 sound and I can't.

    2. There are only a couple electric piano sounds that are worth anything.

    3. The editor software frequently messes up patches you aren't even editing, to the point that you need to reset it back to factory defaults and reload you customizations from backup. This has happened multiple times from PCs running entirely different OSes, with the newest version of the software.

    4. I've replaced the mod bar twice in 2 years ($4.99 part direct from Roland, but you must disassemble the unit almost entirely to get to it). Be prepared with spare parts, albeit cheap, and the wherewithal to repair it yourself.

    The AX should be priced at the $500 level by now. So bang-for-buck ain't that great. But I still give it a good rating, using it live at free/paid gigs for a couple years now. It's fun. It changes the way you think about playing things. That's why I like it.

  • Alec Fuhrman/Chopping Broccoli-80's Hits Live
    from Petaluma, CA August 29, 2010Music Background:
    Guitarist/Singer, Songwriter, Music Teacher, (and now) Synthist

    Feel like a guitar Player

    Having played guitar all my life I am glad to hace gotten the AX just as I began playing keys in an 80's cover band. Very free feeling when used with a wireless. Very decent tones, however, Rock style Organ not there... Also some nice square wave tones and short sequencer syle tones would make this even better...that said fans and everyone in the band love it. Get one if you are interested, you won't be dissapointed :-)

  • Michael Gallagher
    from Lee's Summit, MO USA December 19, 2009Music Background:
    Pro Musician/Live SoundEngineer

    Great Performance Keyboard with a few minor exceptions

    I love the feel and quality of the newest EX. It could have included some better sounds right out of the Fantom. The organs are soso and should have been better. My main complaint is that it did not include straplocks like I had on my EX-7. The strap is poor quality and you may as well pack it away. I have already almost dropped the keyboard twice. I am still trying to find the right strap locks that adapt the EX hardward already installed. Roland should sent new straplocks to everyone who has purchased this instruments. Also a major disappointment is that you cannot split the keyboard. Do the P&D Departments of companies every really talke to players?? Otherwise a very good "Keytar" for live performances. I hooked it up with the new Shure PGX wireless system and had a blast.

  • AX-1 Since '93
    from Choupique, LA USA October 23, 2009Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Great Potential

    I just got this unit yesterday so this review should be read with that in mind. The overall build quality is excellent. Very well made. Feels much more solid than my AX-1. The sound mix is good with what seems like a good set of waves to work with. The real asset is the AX Editor which gives access to substantial Roland 4 tone programming. Download the Editor to see what parameters are available. Lots of multi effects. Sorry that it does not have a split keyboard function and will not send Bank Select messages, although there are workarounds for this. Not terribly impressed with tonewheel sounds, but again the waves seem to be there for editing. I believe Roland did the R&D to make the AX-Synth a powerful instrument. I hope to leave the rack of modules at home.

  • Richy Rich
    from San Antonio, Texas April 11, 2010Music Background:
    20 plus years pro keys and lead vocals

    One Day With the Ax

    Good board lots of killer solo sounds you don't hear anywhere else. A felt it is a tad heavy but research proved it's only 7 onces Heavier than the new 37 key Ax Lucina. Guitar sounds are stellar very realistic.No split is a drawback but you can kick bass and vamp with the right hand. This is a lead synth.This board will make an impression on anyone that listens.

  • paul mcintyre
    from nova scotia canada September 13, 2010Music Background:

    Not for me.

    ok the idea is there . . . but after trying out he ax-synth i wasn't really impressed with the build quality at all, it felt too "toylike" and why use up patch memory with things like trompbone and sax ect, i thought this was a synth ? maybe more time could have been spent getting the lead guitars patches improved, i found the pc editor hard to figure out, maybe some upddates later on might improve things.

  • Paul Max
    from Minsk, Belarus May 5, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Not for professionals

    Very fragile synthesizer. For a permanent job it is not suitable. Fine details constantly break (except keys). For a year three times should be changed madulation bar and touch controller, which constantly recustomized my AX-Synth.

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