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Microphone Month 5

Roland FA-06 61-key Music Workstation Reviews

4.0 stars based on 24 customer reviews
Questions about the Roland FA-06 61-key Music Workstation?

Questions about the Roland FA-06 61-key Music Workstation?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Brad Jahn

    It's not often I can describe a full-featured keyboard workstation as being both "fun" and "easy." However, the Roland FA-06 manages to be both while supplying an impressive amount of creative power. Sounds are effortless to browse thanks to a unique onscreen category flow, and the 16 sampler touch pads can be configured to trigger almost anything on the fly. Features that are often cumbersome in other workstations (such as the split/layer and arpeggiator) are in effortless reach - much like a stage piano. This workstation is as gig-ready as it is studio-ready.

  • Richie
    from CA April 6, 2017Music Background:
    Professional Musician


    Love this keyboard I have an Integra 7 and when they're midied together the module brings up similar patches.Ive been a Roland fan for a long time (my first polyphonic synth was a Juno 106)and this keyboard does not disappoint.I really like the dual and split modes and arpeggiator have a dedicated section right on the keyboard (no menus)

  • Parker
    from Fayetteville, NC January 24, 2017Music Background:

    Roland FA-06 61- Key Musicians

    Sweet, it's a great instrument , worth every cent and much more. I rate it an excellent 10. Next I want a guitar.

  • Keys4You
    from Virginia January 12, 2016Music Background:

    FA-06 61-key Music Workstation

    One of the best for Roland yet! Awesome sounds, and the ability to add additional sounds via the Axial web site make this an unbeatable combination.

  • Gerardji
    from August 20, 2015

    The Best

    I bought the Yamaha MOX8 and sent it back after playing the Roland FA 06. The MOX8 had more presets, a more elaborate arpeggiator,and can integrate with Korg Karma for an extra $200, if those are the things you want. But compared with the FA, its basic sound is dull and there was a kind of sameness to all of the sounds. The MOX8 was also more difficult to program, and the keyboard (I had the 88-key weighted version) was fatiguing after half an hour. The Roland has a brightness, excitement, clarity and realism that the MOX8 could not deliver no matter which preset I played, and it's something I'm not sure could be programmed into new sounds. The Roland FA is also far easier to use as a workstation. Each of these synths has its advantages, but, not considering how the presets were programed on each, I much prefer the basic rich and lively quality of the sound of the Roland FA. It sounds as good as my Virus Ti and at half the cost. It's also much easier to find the presets you want on the Roland FA than with the Virus Ti which does not group sounds into categories. I had to write them all down. The Roland FA is much easier and faster to use than either of the other two synths and all the sounds are beautiful.

  • Billy Minniefield
    from Tempe, AZ March 2, 2015Music Background:

    Very Impressed

    Very Impressed with the natural,clean sound that workstation has.

  • Andrew
    from Columbus, OH June 17, 2014Music Background:
    Professional Musician: Pop/Rock, Live and Recording Engineer.

    Great Live Keyboard

    This keyboard is really set up well for live performance. The studio sets are really great for midi integration, as you can play multiple different patches on the keyboard from different keyboards in your rig. The supernatural sounds are really nice and you can find pretty much any sound you need, especially synth sounds. The action on this keyboard is very springy compared to other semi-weighed synths, but not bad to get used to. At this price point, I couldn't be happier with this keyboard. Exactly what I needed for my setup. The only big things that are missing are aftertouch and velocity sensitive pads, but it's definitely not a deal breaker.

  • Vortexan
    from Houston April 16, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Excellent Workstation

    I'm primarily a guitar player. I use Logic Pro X for recording and wanted a keyboard/synth to plink around on and use for recording. I took a chance on the FA-06 due to the ads for just this very purpose. I have only had it for about three weeks now and just learning how to use things like the sequencer and making loops. Everything so far has been very intuitive and easy to learn. I have done some recording with it and am just blown away with the quality. Bass sounds are great, organs are killer, lots and lots of other sounds to explore. The unit itself is well built and sturdy. The drop an octave key is very handy especially with the bass. All in all a great piece of equipment for anyone. I would definitely recommend this unit.

  • Sirious
    from Nebraska March 14, 2014Music Background:
    Producer,song writer,recording engineer

    Roland Fa 06

    This is a really great product, i pre ordered mine back in january, at first i was angered because the release was pushed back form late feb to now, but once i got it i was blown away,there are so many sounds in this thing its crazy. At you have to be careful, every button or category of sound have sub categories so if you just press the button it will only show the sounds in that sub categorie, you have to press the menu button to see all the other sounds. This board is worth the money ,it gives you alot, there is even a link to download additional free sounds!!!! Tje sequencer and sampker are great. Since owning this i no longer use any of my vsts,i have everything i need now.

  • Brent
    from August 22, 2016

    Great workstation

    Always been a fan of Yamaha boards because the incredible sounds. But the workflow on my MOXF is unnecessarily complex and the display is tiny. I bought this workstation because of the positive reviews on the sequencer and its ease of use. This board lives up to the reviews. The large color display and the layout are superb. I was laying down great sounding tracks within a couple of hours. I still prefer the Motif sound palette, but the integra sounds on the FA06 are pretty good and quite usable.

  • Brian
    from Ohio April 20, 2016

    Major Bang For The Buck!!!!

    I have this paired up with a Yamaha MOXF8 and they're awesome together. If I had it to do all over again I would've bought the FA-08 and possibly not the MOXF8 the Roland is so much more intuitive to use. The Supernatural Synth is awesome and this thing is loaded with just about every sound you can think of...The Hammond in this is really good as is the Rotary sim, so many things you can customize to your liking. The only thing missing is chorus/vibrato in the Hammond sim(maybe that will get fixed in an update???)...You can even customize the drawbar settings. With a little tweaking it gets close enough for live band use. The other great thing is its weight it's very portable.

  • Randy
    from Middlefield, CT April 12, 2016

    Great Gigging Machine!

    I purchased the FA06 because I wanted a synth that was more lightweight and a good gigging machine. After much research I purchased the FA06 as it appeared to have what I needed. Boy was I right! The ability to easily set my program tones up using the favorites function or via studio setup and get to those sounds with one press of a button is fantastic! Also amazing is what you get in a 16 pound synth! I have been using this live with my Yamaha M08 and am leaving my Kurzeil PC3-LE7 at home! The sounds in the FA06 are great. Another reason why I got it is because it is packed with Roland Integra-7 module tones (which I also purchased from Sweetwater I might add). Bottom line it was a very smart purchase on my part as it does everything I need it to do! When not playing live, I love the ability to plug my tablet into the LINE IN and play MP3 or YOUTUBE videos to do transcriptions on tunes and use the sequencer to lay down ideas. As for negatives, the FA06 keybed takes some getting used to....it is not semi weighted but with a lot of practice I find myself getting used to it. I worry about the fragile nature of the keyboard (plastic shell) so one must be careful at all times not to bang anything or heaven forbid drop it. I use a well padded softcase for travel to gigs. All in all I love the board. Would have gone with the FA08 for the better keybed but really didn't need the 88 keys as I already have boards with fully weighted beds.

  • Daniel Leonard
    from Orange County ca September 9, 2014Music Background:
    Song writer arranger

    Great workstation

    Extremely easy to learn.
    The sounds we're inspiring but many duplications.
    I'm a very happy customer

  • Steve Johnson
    from Greensboro, NC August 20, 2014Music Background:
    Producer, Live Keys, TD

    Very Impressed

    I have been a loyal Korg user since 1988 (M1, X3, Triton, TR61, Kronos), but i sold my Kronos recently. I felt the sounds just weren't as clean as other synths in the price range. The Roland FA-06 is my first non-Korg purchase, and I am impressed. It is extremely easy to navigate, configure, and load samples to the pads, and you can download additional sounds from the Roland Axial website. This is a 2nd tier board with a ton of kick and no shortage of options. Worth a look for even the seasoned player. A jewel for beginners.

  • Mark Wendel
    from Southern California August 12, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, non-professional

    Great Value

    When I first saw the demos on the 2014 NAMM reviews, I could not wait to get my hands on the FA series. My forte is by far playing guitar; however, I have had some college in music and even though the piano/ keyboard is slow to me, it feels very natural. It takes a minute or two to convert Majors to Minors and nail 7th chords, as the circle of fifths is not photographically in my mind. That said…

    I am very pleased at the price point of $1199 for a unit that has so many options. I have drooled for years at the $2500+ units that all major brands pump out; however, I could never justify that type of money drop knowing that the guitar (youtube search “mwendel9”) is my main squeeze.

    Leading up to the purchase, I had watched several tutorials on how to setup multi-track recordings, but having the unit in my grasp, it was quite user friendly. My first plan of action was to lay down some tracks using the sequencer such that I could jam guitar leads over the top of a looping progression. After some tinkering, I was up and jamming. The “shift” key is essential to modifying tracks, from copying, pasting, erasing, etc.

    The sampler is fun to dial up an internal song and just make music by pressing buttons. I have yet to explore this aspect further, in terms of recording samples, etc. Using the sample pad to mute/ play tracks from the sequencer is also great for on-the-fly mood changes (once you’ve recorded the song in the sequencer).

    Over the weekend, I played for hours using the split feature, chord memory, as well as arpeggios. It was easy to dial up a one-finger chords/ arpeggio (piano), and then play strings or brass on the split side. You can lose yourself very easy in these great tones. The split location was easy to move by simply holding the split button and placing my finger at the C5 location (the default is C4).

    My favorite grand piano is the “bright” selection. Add a bit of reverb using the effect knobs and it is quite tasty simulating a large space. The Bruno Mars song “When I was Your Man” is what I have been practicing. Lower the octave (by pressing one button) by one and it is spot on tone.

    I play through M-Audio BX8 and the sound is pleasurable. It would be interesting to add the external sub-woofer (another feature output jack) to see how much low end is actually possible. The BX8s are only 8” so I’m sure I am missing some subtle tones down there, but probably only at high volume.

    It may be a year (or longer) before I can tap every aspect of this “packed-full-of-features” unit.

    I justified the purchase as, rather than having a baby grand in the house, I can have next to the best thing with so many more features for much less money.

  • F.D. Sudac
    from United States April 13, 2014Music Background:

    A solid synthesizer focused workstation

    Roland's new workstation is a winner in my book. It has plenty of tones and all the capabilities you'd expect from a workstation. I'd definitely recommend it to someone in the market for a workstation.

    Solid build quality
    Better than I expected keybed
    Plenty of (good) tones
    Easy to use
    Exporting audio stems is a nice touch
    Expansion capabilities are nice (Roland Axial site)

    Keys are a little noisy
    Personally don't have any use for the pads or sampling capabilities

  • Patrick Rasch
    from Hannibal, MO February 9, 2017Music Background:
    Professional Musician, Home recording.

    Roland FA-06

    Great workstation for the price. Always been a satisfied Roland consumer. Sweetwater is the best in customer service! Just wish they offered payment plans like ZZounds or AMS.

  • Michael Meilicke
    from Wonder Lake, IL. December 8, 2014Music Background:
    musician/songwriter and music teacher

    Roland FA-06

    This is an amazing workstation. I think Roland could have put some better presets in this board... some people like that stuff... However Roland only put in 62 of em, and frankly I can do better at making better ones. So This is a board where you do it all..... And you can!! If you are looking for built in combination and presets... well forget it.... this board is made for the user to do it all. The board does have 2000 plus sounds and a drum machine to match... plus built in arps. The sounds are awesome, some have to be tweaked to your liking, and you can layer and split with no problem. This is a fairly easy work station to figure out depending on how deep you wanna dig... I have mixed feelings about this workstation, but I don't think I will ever give it up. Just when I think the board is only so so.. it amazes me with what it can do. If you like creating your own stuff... and want to have a good stage ready board that you configure... well then you will love this. Once you set it up you can save all your work and at the press of a button its there ready for live performance. I have owned many work stations, and this is a great one. but if you like plug and play out of the box with all kinds of presets and such this is not for you. I give this board 4 stars because I think Roland could have spent the time to put in better presets so the new user can see what the board is capable of. Also Rolands customer service is not the best if you call them on the phone and have a high tech question... Plan on being on hold... Its better to use their email.. Over all a great board for the user who wants to build his/her own sounds....

  • Tim Rixstine
    from Bloomington, Il October 3, 2014Music Background:
    Live performer and some studio work

    Sounds are 50/50 - Lots of bang for the buck.

    I'm glad I bought it. For a little over a $1000 - you get a lot of stuff. Comparing it to my MOX8 - Piano, Bass, Guitars on it are not as good as MOX8 - Drums, Synth sounds, and some orchestral instruments are phenominal. Built-in sampler and SD card capable are great pluses.

  • Robert
    from OKLAHOMA July 29, 2014Music Background:

    Roland FA-06

    I haven't had the FA-06 very long but from what little time I've worked with it I'm satisfied with the sound but the layout is not as elegant as I had hoped. I wanted some Roland sounds and it does come with a ton of useable patches so I'm content but I haven't heard anything that just knocked me off my feet. Finding patches is a bit cumbersome. It would probably help if I had a midnam file to use with my daw. I have a Motif Rack XS and this complements it and I'll use it as a controller (light and easy to carry). This would be a great first time buy but if you have other sources you might look at other offerings before purchasing this one. Yamaha and Kurzweil have units in this price range that are worth a look but I don't have any regrets having purchased the FA-06.

  • Bernard MacSeoin
    from Greensboro NC 27410 June 14, 2014Music Background:
    Life long music lover and musician.

    Roland FA-06

    The keyboard itself is fine, to be fair maybe even great. Do your homework before you buy. If it fits your needs you will probably not experience the dreaded buyer's remorse. Which brings me to the point of this review. I initially experienced some issues with the keybed (noisy keys upon release) with the first FA-06 sent to me. After cursing my luck I called Sweetwater John Ptak and found him to be very understanding, he quickly agreed to replace the keyboard. No hassles. Within 3 days of having placed the call a brand new Roland was at my door steps. They did not want the faulty keyboard sent back to them until I received the replacement! They also included a prepaid shipping label for the return of the other board. Never in my years of buying gear have I had such exemplary service from any musical retailer. Believe the hype, buy from SWEETWATER you will not be disappointed. Thanks John and to all the service techs I talked to along the way.

  • Glenn
    from Lakeland, Florida August 20, 2014Music Background:
    professional guitarist


    The last keyboard I bought was a D-50, about 28 years ago. I loved that thing, and when watching the video reviews for the FA-06 was sure I'd be happy with this keyboard. Was stunned to find out, after I'd purchased it, that Roland chose NOT to put after-touch on this keyboard! 28 years after my D-50, I assumed that all keyboards in this price rang would have after-touch. I was wrong to make that assumption. Who cares about the D-beam (except maybe kids - or people who've had their left hand run over by a train). Other than that - the keyboard sounds great and works as advertised.

  • Jonathan
    from NYC April 10, 2014Music Background:
    Producer, Musician, Engineer

    Good Package

    I owned a Fantom X and Integra 7. This board is like a middle ground for the two.

    - LightWeight
    - Nice synths
    - Expandable via Axial downloads.
    - Traditional roland mod stick (Must have for R&B and Funk)
    - SD card support
    - DAW is very useful.

    - Only two 'virtual' expansion slots.
    - Pads are smaller, not velocity sensitive, and midi triggering not fully implement in version 1.02. A step down from Fantom series.
    - Songs (sequence) must be saved separately from studio sessions (multi). I use Studio Sessions with my Daw and ignore Song(sequence) mode.

  • Cragmont
    from Enid, America January 9, 2017


    I'm not a keyboardist, but a guitarist who likes to sequence my own backing tracks. This unit sounds OK, but I'm disappointed at how much has been cut out in the way of editing capabilities compared to my previous Roland Fantom X6 workstation.

    I get the idea is to export material to your DAW to edit, but miss the greater editing capabilities of the Fantom X6. Was surprised to find the keys were actually smaller also. The lighter weight is a drawback for me, as it wants to move around a lot on the stand. Velcro to the rescue.

    Sharing MIDI files online with a friend seems to be a rather convoluted process, having to make backups of Studio Sets and SMF to SD card and swap it between keyboard and computer.

    That said, it cost half as much as my previous X6, so you do get a good keyboard for the money.

  • John Roca
    from May 26, 2014Music Background:
    35yr playing keyboards & piano


    Where are the supernatural sounds?
    This is a new Famton......and thats it
    someone said "this is the competition to the Yamaha Moxf6?
    well is not
    yamaha still superior,
    dont buy things just because you see them on youtube
    go and test the keyboards live,like i did......after that i tested a Korg Krome and a Moxf6....Korg sounds better than Roland...but yamahas winner....

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