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Roland's SuperNATURAL sound engine for Digital Pianos explained.

Published: Fri March 23, 2012  News Feed


Roland SuperNATURAL Sound Engine......

What is SuperNATURAL?

Roland's Super Natural Sound Engine is more than just a single sound, effect or operation. In Roland terms, it "provides the ability to realistically shape the physical parameters of virtual instruments in new organic and expressive ways". Now that might sound overly technical so we are going to attempt to make it easier to understand, and why you should always consider this when buying a Digital Piano.

Now bear in mind that this is not a new technology and Roland are not trying to blind people with science. It has been seen already in other guises on previous Roland gear, but they have been developing and trying to perfect it over the last 20 years and it is now truly beginning to pay dividends for them. Starting out as a technique called "Structured Adaptive Synthesis", this was an innovative combination of additive* and sample based synthesis*. Fast forward to 2010 and we start to see it appearing on Roland's Digital Piano Range.

SuperNATURAL takes various elements of a piano sound, for example the hammer action, the pedal sound, the string resonance, its frequency, decay time, and phase components. These elements are then used to create the final sound using additive synthesis* techniques along with modeled components and various other elements.

SuperNATURAL in Roland's Digital Piano Range

The 3 core elements of SuperNATURAL Piano Technology are:
  1. 88 Key Multi-Sampling
  2. Organic Tonal Change
  3. Natural Decay
The SuperNATURAL sound engine for digital pianos has been created by bringing together V-Piano Technology and 88 Key Multi-Sampling. Pianos produce not only differences in volumes but also subtle variations in tone colour (timbre) depending on the force you press the keys. The end product with SuperNATURAL gives you a smooth curve and seamless changes in response to the pianists touch as shown on the right here. If you listen very carefully to other manufacturers digital pianos you can hear the switching between samples and it can sound very autonomous and clunky but not with SuperNATURAL.

The 88 Key Multi-Sampling comes from Roland spending hours analysing, sampling and synthesizing a variety of world class pianos and then faithfully reproducing these tones and resonance from key to key. The natural decay of these tones are an essential part of a piano's sound. As the sound of an acoustic piano not only decreases in volume but it also gradually changes in "colour" to a softer tone. Again with some other digital piano's you are left with a looping effect as the sound decays and this makes the sound very unnatural and gives the user a very bad playing experience. With SuperNATURAL there is none of this, it replicates the natural decay just like a genuine acoustic grand piano. (See picture on the right)

Now one would think that SuperNATURAL would be specific to higher end Roland Digital Pianos but this is not so. It is fast becoming an all encompassing feature of the entire digital piano range. Below is a list of the Digital Pianos we stock currently that carry the SuperNATURAL Sound Engine on board. Eventually the SuperNATURAL Sound Engine is going to be a huge part of other areas for Roland from Keyboards to Synths. It has already started to develop into their V-Drums range with the addition of the Roland TD-30, TD-11 & TD-15 V-Series Electronic Drums. It will give user a more realisitc feel, experience and sound.

If we look at a couple of  examples of the pianos that carry the SuperNATURAL Sound Engine we can see just how different their uses can be but SuperNATURAL is still relevant to each one. The Roland RD-300NX Stage Piano (Above) has a fantastic bank of instrument sounds, built in effects and EQ, a tactile 88 Key, Ivory Feel-G Keyboard. It is a lightwieght portable stage piano that gives the user all the tools they need at their fingertips. With its one-touch buttons the user can select between a beautiful lush Grand Piano, to a sharp biting Electric Piano sound modelled on classic vintage E Pianos. This stage piano is perfect for begginers to touring professionals as it has every thing you'll ever need to deliver a confident performance and give a truly great playing experience.

The Roland RP-301R Digital Piano (Above) is used very differently, as a learning tool for the home and classroom. Its ability to split the keyboard for a teacher & student set up makes this piano very unique. It is an upgrade to the previous, popular and affordable RP-301. This extremely fun piano also has amazing sounds and play-along rhythm accompaniments. The RP-301R in stunning Rosewood, like all of Rolands new range again carries their SuperNATURAL Sound Engine putting it right up there with some of their more "high end models". This piano is perfect for hobbyists and beginners to professionals alike.

* Additive Synthesis is a technique that creates timbre (tone colour) by adding differeing sine waves together.

* Sample Based Synthesis is a form of audio synthesis that samples the sound of an instrument rather than its wave form. 

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