Roland Fantom-Xa Workshop: Speed Sequencing.

Speed Sequencing
© 2005 Roland Corporation U.S.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in
any form without the written permission of Roland Corporation U.S.
About the Fantom-Xa Workshop Booklets
Roland’s Fantom-Xa workstation keyboard provides lots of
creative power at an affordable price. It shares many of the
features of its more expensive siblings—the Fantom X6, X7,
and X8—including killer sounds, 128-note polyphony, a fullfeatured 16-track sequencer, sampling capabilities, and so
much more.
The Fantom-Xa Workshop booklets discuss some of the
things you can do with your Fantom-Xa. Each booklet
focuses on one topic, and is intended as a companion to your
Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual.
About This Booklet
The Fantom-Xa is designed to be a great songwriter’s
keyboard. From its sounds to its sampling to its built-in 16track sequencing capabilities, it’s all about making the creative
process simple, fast, and rewarding.
The Fantom-Xa’s built-in sequencer allows you to build up
a song’s arrangement, bit-by-bit, adding one instrument at
a time, recording track-by-track. This is a great way to work
when you’re deliberately and carefully building a song from
the ground up.
The Fantom-Xa also offers you a way to absolutely slam down
a new arrangement fast in the heat of inspiration. You can
pile on instruments without ever stopping the music until
you’re finally ready to take a breath and hear what you’ve
done. Think of this as “speed sequencing.” It’s the topic of this
booklet. Speed sequencing’s a great way to throw together
a song when your new musical idea is at its freshest. You
can, of course, go back later and tidy things up, editing your
recordings, changing their sounds, and so on.
Understanding the Booklet’s Symbols
Throughout this booklet, you’ll come across information that
deserves special attention—that’s the reason it’s labeled with
one of the following symbols.
A note is something that adds information about the topic at hand.
A tip offers suggestions for using the feature being discussed.
Warnings contain important information that can help you avoid possible
damage to your equipment, your data, or yourself.
Before We Start
As shipped from the factory, the Fantom-Xa loads “Turlence,”
one of its demo songs, when you power up. You can change
this behavior if you like—we’ll explain how to do this on
the next page, in “Turning Off the Automatic Loading of
In any event, if “Turlence” is loaded in your Fantom-Xa, you’ve
got to erase it before you can record a song of your own, since
a single Fantom-Xa song can be loaded at a time.
Clearing the Song Memory
Don’t worry that you’re permanently discarding “Turlence”—the song is
safely stashed in the Fantom-Xa’s permanent memory. You can hear it at
any time by holding down SHIFT and pressing MENU, as described on the
Owner’s Manual cover. You can also reset the Fantom-Xa to load “Turlence”
at startup, as it does straight from the factory.
1. Press SONG EDIT↔LIST to display the SNG
EDIT (TRK) screen.
If the SNG LIST screen appears when you press SONG EDIT↔LIST, press the
button again—the button toggles between these two screens.
2. Press F3 (UTILITY) to display the Song Utility Menu.
3. Press F2 (SONG CLEAR).
4. When the Fantom-Xa asks if you’re sure you’d like to
proceed, press F6 (EXEC)—”Song Clear Completed!”
appears, and the Fantom-Xa is ready for your new song.
Turning Off the Automatic Loading of “Turlence”
2. Press MENU, and then
select System if it isn’t
already selected.
3. Press ENTER to display the
System Menu.
5. Press F2 (AUTO LD) to display the Auto Load parameters.
6. Press 6 twice to highlight Load Demo Song at Startup.
7. Turn the VALUE dial to set the parameter to OFF.
8. Press F6 (WRITE) to lock in the change.
Speed Sequencing Procedure
In the interest of, er, speed, the following steps presume
certain choices, such as the order in which you’ll record tracks,
and so on. At the end of the tutorial, we’ll point out a number
of ways you may choose to customize this procedure.
The whole idea of this procedure is to show how you can record an entire
arrangement on the Fantom-Xa without stopping. To get the full effect,
please don’t press the sequencer’s Stop button until we tell you to!
If you played “Turlence”
before clearing it, you’ll
see PRST : 01 Turlence
2. Press 3, and then press INC once or turn the VALUE dial to
select PRST : 01 Seq: Template.
If you saw “Turlence” in
Step 1, press 3, and then
turn VALUE to select PRST :
01 Seq: Template.
4. Press F1 (General).
3. Press the Record button.
The Fantom-Xa metronome starts and the Realtime Rec
(for “Record”) Standby window appears.
You can select the track you want to record by pressing the
corresponding PART/TRACK button.
If the 9-16 button located to the right of the PART/TRACK
buttons is unlit, the buttons select Tracks 1-8, as shown by
the white labels above the buttons. When the 9-16 button
is lit, the buttons select Tracks 9-16, as shown by their gray
4. Press F3 (LOOP REC) to display the looping parameters.
The 9-16 button
We’ll begin recording with Track 10, where drum beats
are typically recorded—it’s a good place to start a new
musical idea. In the Seq : Template performance we
selected earlier, a rhythm set is assigned to Track 10.
If LOOP REC isn’t checkmarked at the bottom of the screen as shown above,
press F3 (LOOP REC) again so it is—this turns loop recording on.
6. Press 9-16 so it’s lit, and then press the second PART/TRACK
button as shown below to select Track 10.
By default, the sequencer plays for two measures, and then
loops, playing the same two measures over and over.
5. Press F4 (INPUT QTZ), for “Input Quantize,” so it’s
checkmarked onscreen above the F4 button.
7. Press the Play button.
Quantizing can help correct any timing mistakes you make
as you play—input quantizing does this as you record. The
default quantizing values shown in the display will move
all of the notes you play precisely to their nearest 16th
The Realtime Rec Control window appears, and the
Fantom-Xa gives you a four-beat countoff before it begins
playing its empty measures over and over.
Don’t worry about letting the sequencer run on and on. A MIDI sequencer—
such as the one in the Fantom-Xa—won’t actually record anything until
you play some notes, which we’re not ready to do just yet.
14. When you’re ready, press Record again and perform your
percussion part.
You can remove any recorded notes you want to get rid of
at any time using Erase mode. Here’s how.
15. Press the ERASE/UNDO button to display
the Erase window.
A bell sound signifies the start of each measure, and you
can see where you are in the Realtime Rec Control window.
During recording, you’ll play along with the metronome.
8. Press the Record button once more—so it’s flashing—to
enter Rehearsal mode.
Rehearsal mode allows you to practice
what you want to play before recording
begins. For now, find a bass drum and a
snare on the keyboard, and work out a
basic beat.
9. When you’ve got your beat together, press Record again—
it lights solidly to show that you’re out of Rehearsal mode
and ready to record.
10. Watch the screen, and at the start of the sequence—
0001:01—begin playing your two-measure beat.
11. After the two measures, stop playing and listen to what
you’ve recorded—it’ll keep playing over and over, waiting
for you to record some more. (If you don’t like what you
played, hang on, we’ll talk about erasing notes in a bit.)
12. Press Record again to go back into Rehearsal mode.
Since the Fantom-Xa is recording in Mix mode, you can
add additional notes to your track without replacing what
you’ve already recorded.
13. Explore the other sounds on the keyboard and
rehearse a percussion part to add on top of the
kick and snare.
To erase a note, hold down its key when the note plays—
the Fantom-Xa removes the note. To remove multiple
notes, hold down the lowest note you want to remove as
well as the highest—all notes in-between are also erased.
The display shows the key(s) you’ve pressed.
In this screenshot, we’ve erased a bunch of
unwanted conga notes played by Middle C
and the D and E just above it.
16. When you’re done erasing notes, press F6 (CLOSE) to leave
the Erase window.
17. Press Record again to re-enter Rehearsal mode.
Now let’s record another track.
18. Press Play to close the Realtime Rec Control window so
you can see the entire Fantom-Xa screen.
19. Press the PART/TRACK 9-16 button to turn it off, and press
the first PART/TRACK button to select Track 1—you can see
onscreen that Track 1 is selected for recording, as shown in
the illustration on the next page.
Each long row of dots is a track. A solid line represents
the currently selected track.
20. Play the keyboard—in this performance, a
piano is assigned to Track 1, so figure out a
piano part to go along with Track 10.
21. Press Play to show the Realtime Rec Control
window so you can once again see where you are.
22. Press the Record button again to exit Rehearsal mode, and
then record your new piano part.
23. Press Record to enter Rehearsal mode again, and then
press Play to hide the Realtime Rec Control window.
25. Press PART/TRACK Button 2—let’s now record on Track 2.
26. Track 2 is currently set to use a piano sound, but we can
change that. Underneath the Fantom-Xa’s pads, press the
CATEGORY button so it lights.
The Fantom-Xa’s patches are arranged in instrument
categories to make it easy for you to find the patch you
want. When CATEGORY is lit, you can press a pad to display
a patch category. By default, Pad 0 is selected—above the
pad, “PIANO” is printed, and on the display, you can see a
list of acoustic piano patches.
25. Try out the various pads, and turn the VALUE dial or use the
6 and 5 buttons to select a new patch. You can audition
patches on the keyboard since we’re in Rehearsal mode.
Each pad provides access to a few related categories. You can get to these
additional categories by pressing 4 and 3.
26. When you’ve found a patch with which you’d like to record,
press F6 (SELECT) and work out the part you want to play.
27. Press Play to display the Realtime Rec Control screen, press
Record to exit Rehearsal mode, and then record your new
You can continue in this way, adding as many tracks as you
28. When you’re done recording, hit Stop, then Reset and Play
to hear what you’ve recorded.
You can save what you’ve recorded as a new Fantom-Xa song. See “Saving a
Song (Save)” in the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual to learn how.
Options, Options, Options
To keep our tutorial simple, we skipped right past a whole
range of possibilities you might want to explore. Here’s a
partial list of things you might want to do differently in real
Recording mode—In Step 3, when we first displayed the
Realtime Rec Standby window, we left Rec Mode set to
MIX, so that new notes we play are recorded on top of
any already-recorded notes. You might, on the other hand,
prefer the REPLACE setting, where anything new you
record replaces anything already on the track.
Loop length—When we turned on loop recording in Step
4, we elected to use the default LOOP/PUNCH parameter
setting of LOOP( 2 MEAS). In real life, you’d more likely want
to set this parameter to LOOP( 4 MEAS), for a four-measure
loop, or LOOP( 8 MEAS) for an eight-measure loop.
Input quantize settings—We used the default Input
Quantize settings, correcting note timing strictly to a grid
of 16th notes. You may prefer some other beat value, or
you may prefer to add a shuffle feel to your playing instead
of using a grid. You may also prefer to record without
quantizing, and then quantize later using the Fantom-Xa’s
song-editing tools.
Metronome—You may prefer to record without a
metronome when you’re working with a Fantom-Xa
rhythm. See the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual to learn how
to turn off the metronome.
Track choices—We recorded on Tracks 10, 1, and 2, in that
order. You can, of course, record on whatever tracks you
like, and in any order.
Erasing options—The Erase window offers a range of ways
to erase recorded data on the fly. See the Fantom-Xa
Owner’s Manual for details.
Keys or pads—In this tutorial, we used the keyboard. You
can also record from the Fantom-Xa pads.
These are just a few ideas. Take time to explore all of the
recording options and song-editing tools explained in your
Owner’s Manual. You’ll find the Fantom-Xa to be a potent
creative companion.
The End
We hope you’ve enjoyed this quick spin around the
“Fantom-Xa recording studio.” Keep an eye out for other
Fantom-Xa Workshop booklets, all available for downloading
For the latest Fantom-Xa updates and support tools, visit the Roland U.S.
Web site at If you need personal assistance, call our
amazing Product Support team at 323-890-3745.