Roland’s GAIA Synthesizer is pretty strange looking to say the least when comparing it to the other Roland synths I’ve reviewed. I don’t review smaller keyboards often (generally stick to 88 and 61 key products), but when I do review them, you know they’re good. If you look at the MiniNova or the JD-Xi also by Roland, they’re quite decent products – both of which I have reviewed. Apart from a few anomalies, I don’t review small synthesizer keyboards unless they’re well worth purchasing, since most people looking to buy synthesizers are searching for the larger models anyway. We know that the Roland GAIA is fairly decent (enough to be reviewed), but just how decent is it? Is it one of the best synths overall or is it more for the beginner?Check Price On Amazon
For the most part, the user interface of the Roland GAIA synth is pretty average. I will say that for a smaller synthesizer, it is more cluttered than I’d like (referring to the button layout). Does this make it unusable or obsolete? For me, it did not, however I’m not sure I could or would recommend this keyboard for a beginner because it might be a bit complex for someone in that position. I think it’s fair to say that this synthesizer is probably best suited for those of an amateur/average level. It can still work for someone who is totally new, but it certainly wouldn’t be my first recommendation. Where the GAIA really separates from the crowd and is noticeably different from other Roland synthesizers is in its design and style. If it weren’t for the logo on the bottom left of the unit, I would initially assume this synthesizer to be either a Korg, or possibly a Yamaha keyboard. It is black in its top half and white on the bottom half of the unit. Rarely do we see multi-colored synthesizers and this was a step outside of the norm but it wasn’t all that big of a deal (it shouldn’t make or break your final decision).
What can I say? I am not all that surprised. Roland is yet to disappoint me with a product’s sound quality. Is it the best out there? Certainly not, but I might rank it ahead of the Roland JD-Xi which is a bit newer. There are so many good sounds, and manipulating them leads to other good sounds – there’s just no other way around it. This is quite the diverse little device and it seems as though Roland is making it a big point of theirs to build synthesizers that are good for everyone. Sometimes this can cause problems (spreading yourself too thin) but so far it has worked out great in their favor.
It doesn’t present the most features and presets, but it does do quite well. Since it has three virtual analog synth engines on board, it would have been foolish on their part to not implement the most amount of features possible into this workstation. Here are just some of the things this product brings to the table:
- 3 virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, a filter, an amplifier, an envelope, and an LFO
- Layer up to 5 simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more
- 64-voice polyphony. Hands-on control panel. Lightweight, compact body
- D Beam, arpeggiator, and phrase recorder onboard
- USB ports for saving user patches to USB flash drives, and for audio/MIDI connection to computers
It’s not my favorite synthesizer, but it is one of my preferred options as far as small keyboards go. It’s not the flashiest electric synthesizer but it gets the job done and then some. I can recommend this synthesizer to a vast audience, and the Roland GAIA is built for diversity. Check it out today.