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EXCLUSIVE: M-5000 is “huge step forward” for Roland Systems Group

The latest salvo from RSG marks a “ground up” approach to live desk design

Roland will unleash a renewed plan for winning a slice of the pro-audio console/control market with the launch of the M-5000 live mixing system today.

M-5000 is based around Roland’s proprietary ‘OHRCA’ (Open High Resolution Control Architecture) and features 128 freely definable audio paths, a “flexible user interface and workflow”, expandable protocols and multiformat I/O choices. All processing can be undertaken at 24-bit/96kHz resolution.

“The launch of the M-5000 represents a huge step forward for Roland,” head of RSG (Roland Systems Group) Europe Peter Heath (pictured) told PSNEurope.

The M-5000 has 128 audio paths which can be assignable as channels, auxes, groups, matrices and so on, meaning the desk is suitable in a variety of roles, including live monitor, broadcast, installation or FOH. “These days, the boundaries between these three are getting blurry,” noted Nico Suárez, Roland audio and video product specialist.

M-5000 is reported to provide “unrestricted patching for up to 300/460 inputs and 296/456 outputs @ 96kHz/48kHz”, and supports a wide range of protocols and formats including Roland’s own REAC, MADI, Waves SoundGrid and – critically – Dante. In fact, the November launch will formally recognise Roland becoming a licensee of Audinate’s Dante networking technology.

The system offers full compatibility with the family of Roland Professional Audio snakes; as the launch images show, Roland’s M-48 personal mixing is a “natural fit” with the control surface’s ergonomics.

There’s a 12″ touch screen with “touch and turn” operation and 28 freely scrollable, isolatable, or assignable faders and, says Roland, “numerous knobs and buttons, both contextual and assignable, to support rapid response”.

“The scale, design and technology in the console clearly demonstrates our commitment to the professional live audio community,” says Peter Heath (pictured). “Providing digital connectivity to various accepted protocols was a key factor whilst still supporting our large family of REAC based consoles and digital snake users.

“The development process has been long, but intentionally so, to allow a complete ground-up approach: making sure that the product delivered on features, form, usability every step of the way.

“The result is a product that makes no assumptions, but uses some astounding technology to give users ultimate flexibility due to open configurability whether through DSP resources, expandable connectivity or workflow.

A shipping date of early Q2 2015 is planned for the system; Nico Suárez reports that a remote control iPad app is planned for February.

Although exact pricing is not yet available at press time, it is believed that the basic M-5000 console will cost between £10-15k. RSG’s muscular new initiative comes six months after a behind-the-scenes MBO of Roland Corporation by Taiyo Pacific Partners LP, an investor in Japanese industry, and Roland CEO Junichi Miki for ¥42.6 billion (€311 million).

+ Of the Dante partnership, Lee Ellison, CEO of Audinate, commented: “We have been working closely with Roland for some time now, and the culmination of the new Roland M-5000 Live Mixing Console with Dante networking will be extremely well received in the market. Dante offers the most extensive portfolio of networked products in the pro-audio market, and we are thrilled to welcome Roland into the Dante family.”