Roland Boutique - interviews...

The last question on this interview page mentions a boutique version of the 808, 909 & 303…just in case the AIRA versions were too big for some.

Second interview here;

good read! cheers

Note that the Roland engineers were NOT reporting that 303,808,909 Boutiques were on the way. They were merely stating that they were interested to gather the opinions of the user community and agreeing that folk would probably be quite interested in those particular models.


Jesus! They shouldn’t even HAVE to ask the community! Of course boutique 303 808 909 are going to fly off the shelf.

The AIRA range is very capable but personally I’d never own any of it purely on a looks basis - I think they look disgusting with their FUN ALIEN DJ LIGHTS and they are pretty hefty bits of kit too. I imagine a lot of other people feel the same way as me about this range.

A boutique range of 303 808 909 that had some sexy retro styling and all the features (plus some more) of the originals that we’re going to be done in a limited run so they could be worth cash as a collectable someday. Damn, I’d be snapping some up!

I’d snap up a Boutique 303 in 3.03 seconds.

Yeah, while I love the sounds my TR8 spits out (808,909,707&727) & ease of use, the look is an 80s version of “the future”…y’know Matthew Broderick “War Games” / Tron ish.

Yeah only the garish design of Aira stopped me buying, the light show on the System1m and TR8 would drive me mental, the Botique range though are very nice looking aside from the touchstrips should have been on the keyboard allowing controls to be bigger.

So yeah if they do 808/909/303 boutique I will buy the shizzle out of them :slight_smile:

TBH alot of newer Roland design looks cheap retro futuristic, shiny plastic, too many and too bright LEDs, and ugly design, but their 80s stuff looks gorgeous and tasteful IMHO, so I was pleased to see the Boutique range to echo this.

I have also steered clear of the TR-8 because of its looks - crazy as I lusted after the 808 and 909 all my life. So I’d also love to see cute Boutique versions without the tron green.

Someone point Roland in the direction of this thread please :wink:

Great read, thank you! :wink:

I like the form factor of the new Rolands. Much cooler than the Yamaha reissues with a tiny keyboard.

However, compared to the OP-1, they are not 'boutique ’ – but Made in China Crap.

The OP-1 is boutique.


I have all three Roland Boutique synths.

Yes, you’re right; they are indeed made in China. However, you’re off-the-scales wrong on the “crap” statement. Please get a hold of one, handle it, play it, and then come back and tell me what you think LOL.

An enormous amount of care has gone into the function and finish and there is tremendous attention to detail on both counts. They feel beautifully made and sound absolutely wonderful.

The OP-1, I agree, of course feels like a 'boutique, instrument. The unique user interface, the materials and construction. The unique effects. But lets not forget the many folk who have experienced problems with the interface circuit board and connectors etc…


However, compared to the OP-1, they are not 'boutique ' -- but Made in China Crap.

The OP-1 is boutique.

There are mass produced products that rest in the apogee of design that are made in China—Apple products are most notable, and many of our luxury goods. And I believe some of Teenage Engineering’s products.

There is the wealth of mass produced products my country, America, produces that bear no qualitative merits, embodying all the truest traits of "crap."

And there are products that are supposed to benefit from the “made in my country” ethos that presupposes, with no shortage of arrogance, excellence. My Moog Sub 37 is a fine example of poor craftsmanship—$1500 USD for a synthesizer with a keybed worse than those in entry level controllers, poorly sourced wood-ends, etc—by a company venerated for and frequently espousing its “Made in the US” lineage. My Analog Four, like all Elektron products, is littered with subpar design: seemingly bare metal chassis that has not been anodized, cheap paint that chips easily, cheap button design resulting in comically resonant and wiggly depression, a face plate that is not uniformly flush with the rest of the body, etc. If there is a similarly nationalistic “Made in Sweden” sentiment in Sweden, it would hold no favorable meaning with Elektron design.

The refrain “Made in China” is an all too facile, reflexive and hollow statement. It can be made in China, a newly industrializing country, and far exceed the quality of anything made in your industrialized country or it can be made in China and equal the low standards set by the mass produced products of any industrialized country. Given the spare consumer protections in America, it might just have as many dangerous chemicals as a poorly produced Chinese product.

And the vitriol in “Made in China” is misplaced. If you seek quality, blame not China. Instead, ask why the company you’re buying from is not willing to sacrifice some profit for better materials and production processes, and why, most of us, in our unrelenting consumerism are willing to pay less, to get more, of less quality, and yet not blame ourselves when dissatisfied over the quality.

The Roland Boutique build quality is not “crap.” They don’t even present the aforementioned problems of the $1.5k, Made in America Sub 37 and $1.3k, Made in Sweden Elektrons, despite the price. And it’s Made in China.

Very well said @LibertineLush. There’s really not much more to say. Possibly the only thing is that, given the performance, feel and finish of the Roland Boutique synths, together with the potential exclusivity - they feel VERY underpriced. So rarely can we say something like this in the present world. Thank you so much for giving us these little treasures Roland!


Well said @LibertineLush

If it help the OP-1 is made in china…

And the OD-11.
If it help the OP-1 is made in china...


I can’t help but feel (especially after time spent with them) that Roland’s ‘Boutique’ line amounts to little more than an externalized VST with some appealing visual design masking the reality that USB is not a substitute for midi, that you can’t take a 30 year old machine whose sound was dependent upon electrons racing through rare earth metals and mimic that circuitry with DSP’s and Firmware and minikeys.

Yeah, they’re better than nothing. But they’re not the sort of product tier I’ve come to expect from Roland. They’re cashing in on nostalgia and upstarts like Elektron and TE, makers of ACTUAL boutique synths.

I guess I’d rather go without than rely on an imitation. It really strikes me as a VST in a box.

If it helps, the Jupiter 8 and Juno 60 didn’t have MIDI. :slight_smile: