Roland | Fantom-X | Owner`s manual | Roland Fantom-X Owner`s manual

Exploring the Fantom-Xa
© 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
Understanding the Symbols in This Booklet
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.
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.
Getting Ready
About This Booklet
One of the best things about the Fantom-Xa is the inspiring
way in which all of its elements come together to make the
creative process such a complete musical experience.
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.
You’ll want to listen to the Fantom-Xa as you go through this
booklet, so plug a pair of headphones into the Fantom-Xa
PHONES jack—you’ll need headphones with a 1/4” plug—or
connect the Fantom-Xa‘s A (MIX) L (MONO) and R outputs to
the left and right inputs, respectively, of your mixer or other
monitoring system.
For more about connecting the Fantom-Xa to headphones or your audio
system, see your Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual.
You’ll also need to connect the Fantom-Xa to a grounded AC
power source using the supplied power cord, and then turn
the Fantom-Xa on, of course.
This booklet provides a beginner’s tour of the Fantom-Xa,
giving you a quick introduction to some of the things it can
Patch Mode
Immediately after power-up, the Fantom-Xa display looks like
The F Buttons
Beneath the display are six “F buttons,” labeled “F1-F6.” The
buttons interact with what’s on the display, so their functions
change depending on what you’re doing. Each F button’s
current job is shown on the display directly above the button.
You can also get to this screen by pressing PATCH/RHYTHM.
When you’re viewing this screen, the Fantom-Xa is in Patch
mode, where you can select and play single patches. A patch
is a Fantom-Xa sound.
We’re referring to a patch as simply a “sound” here so as not to get too
caught up in tech details for now. However, a patch can actually be an
amazingly complex, multi-faceted thing. To learn more about patches,
check the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual.
The Fantom-Xa also has a Performance mode, designed for working with
multiple patches at the same time, and for recording.
In the Workshop booklets, when we refer to an F button, we
put its current function in parentheses, as in “F1 (KBD).”
The CURSOR Buttons and the VALUE Dial
The VALUE dial
If you’ve already stored some of your own patches in the Fantom-Xa, the
patch name you see may be different that the one shown here.
The Basic Fantom-Xa Tools
Let’s take a moment to introduce the Fantom-Xa display and
the controls you’ll use to get around on the Fantom-Xa.
The Fantom-Xa Display
The display is your window into all Fantom-Xa operations,
providing information and constant visual feedback.
Many Fantom-Xa displays contain multiple settings, each of
which is called a “parameter.” To change a parameter’s value,
you must first select it. When a parameter’s selected, it’s
highlighted, as shown at the top of Page 4.
Selecting Patches and Rhythm Sets
Selecting a Patch for the Fantom-Xa Keyboard
Right now, the patch number “001” is
highlighted, and therefore selected.
1. Press PATCH/RHYTHM to display the PATCH PLAY screen.
(By default, this is the screen you see after power-up.)
To select a parameter and change its value:
1. Press the appropriate CURSOR 3, 4, 5 and/or 6 button
until the parameter is highlighted.
2. Turn the VALUE dial to choose the desired setting.
The Keyboard and Pads
In a sense, the Fantom-Xa is like two instruments in one: a
synthesizer and a drum machine. Both of these instruments
are always available. At any time you can:
play a patch on the keys.
play a rhythm set on the drum pads.
2. Press F1 (KBD) so the F button’s onscreen “KBD” label is
solidly outlined, as circled in red above.
If the keyboard part is already selected, nothing changes when you press
F1 (KBD).
3. Press the CATEGORY button in the TRIGGER/CATEGORY
area so it lights, as shown here.
(If you’ve had your Fantom-Xa for much more than a few
seconds, you’ve probably already discovered this.)
In Patch mode, the keyboard typically plays a single patch
up and down its entire length. The pads, on the other hand,
typically play a “rhythm set.” A rhythm set is a special type of
patch in which each pad plays its own sound.
If you want, you can play a rhythm set on the keyboard—so that each key
plays a different drum or percussion sound—or play a normal patch on the
pads—so that the same sound plays on all pads, at different pitches.
The CATEGORY screen appears.
Square One
This booklet’s text and screenshots assume you’ve just turned
on your Fantom-Xa.
The Fantom-Xa patches are organized into categories that
make them easy to find. You can quickly jump between
categories by pressing any of the Fantom-Xa’s Pads 0-9
whenever the CATEGORY button is lit.
Each pad is labeled for the group of patch categories it
Selecting a Rhythm Set for the Fantom-Xa Pads
1. Press PATCH/RHYTHM to display the PATCH PLAY screen.
2. Press F2 (PAD) so the F button’s onscreen “PAD” label is
solidly outlined, as circled in red below.
The PIANO pad is now lit, and the first of the Piano categories—Ac. Piano,
for “Acoustic Piano”—is displayed.
4. Press any pad, and then view its patch categories by
pressing 4 and 3.
5. Turn the VALUE dial to select the desired patch in the
displayed category.
3. Press the PATCH SELECT button to display the
You can audition the selected patch set by holding down F5 (PREVIEW), or
by playing the keyboard.
6. Press F6 (SELECT) to confirm your choice.
You can also select patches according to the memory locations—called
“banks”—in which they’re stored. See the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual to
learn more about banks.
For the purposes of this booklet, press the PAD/VOX pad to select the Bright
Pad category, turn VALUE to highlight USER :218 Strangers, and then press
F6 (Select) before proceeding.
On this screen you can select any of the onboard rhythm
sets for playing on the pads. They’re stored in banks.
4. To select a bank of rhythm sets, press F1 (BANK↓) or F2
5. To navigate within the selected bank, use the F3 (←) and
F4 (→) buttons.
6. To select the desired rhythm set within the selected bank,
use 6 and 5 or turn the VALUE dial to highlight the
rhythm set you want to use.
You can audition the selected rhythm set by holding down F6 (PREVIEW),
or by playing it on the pads.
For the purposes of this booklet, select the User bank and Rhythm Set
USER :001 StandardKit3, before proceeding.
7. Press EXIT when you’ve selected the desired rhythm set.
A Brief Realtime Detour
The current patch, Strangers, responds in interesting ways to
the Fantom-Xa’s realtime controllers. Press F1 (KBD) and play
the keyboard:
Push the modulation lever located to the left of the
keyboard forward, and then release it to hear how vibrato
can be added to the sound, and then removed.
Press ASSIGNABLE beneath the D Beam so it lights, and
move your hand up and down over the D Beam to hear
what it does to the pitch of the patch’s various elements.
In the REALTIME CONTROLLERS area, press the button
beneath “ARP/RHY” repeatedly until its ASSIGNABLE LED
lights. Turn the four REALTIME CONTROL knobs as you
play—hear how each changes the sound in some way.
When one of the pads is playing a sustained sound, lighting HOLD—next
to the TRIGGER button—causes the sound to continue playing after you’ve
struck and released its pad. This is especially handy when a pad plays a
sampled loop. Right now, it has no effect because the pads’ sounds are
quick percussion sounds.
3. Press the ARP/RHY RHYTHM button so it
lights—the pad lights go out because, when
RHYTHM’s lit, the pads play rhythms.
The Fantom-Xa offers extensive realtime manipulation of its sounds. For
more, see your Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual.
Meet the Beats
The Fantom-Xa contains a full-featured drum
machine that’s perfect for jamming and
1. Take a look at the TRIGGER/
button’s lit, as are Pads 1-9.
If the TRIGGER button isn’t lit, press it so it
is. When TRIGGER’s lit, the pads play rhythm
set sounds, or rhythms, as we’ll see.
2. Hit each lit pad to hear how it
plays a sound from the currently
selected pad rhythm set.
4. Hit Pad 1—its pattern plays and the pad flashes.
5. Now strike other unlit pads to hear different patterns.
Rhythm groups allow you to assemble collections of rhythm patterns.
There are built-in rhythm groups and you can create your own, as described
in the Owner’s Manual.
6. Note how the Fantom-Xa switches between patterns
without losing the beat. You can mix and match patterns
to create your own rhythm arrangements.
7. Find a pattern you like and let it play.
You can press the TEMPO button and turn the VALUE dial to change the
rhythm pattern’s tempo if you like. Press F6 (Close) when you’re done.
8. Play along with the pattern on the keyboard. This isn’t just
fun—it’s also often a great way to start writing a song.
9. Jam a bit to find something you’d like to record.
If you’d like to select a different keyboard patch, press F1 (KBD) and do so,
as described back on Page 4.
10. When you’re done, stop the rhythm by pressing the
flashing pad or by pressing the RHYTHM button so it’s
Clearing the Demo Song
When you first purchase the Fantom-Xa, its demo song loads
automatically. To clear it from song memory so you can record
your own song in the next section of this booklet:
Recording a New Idea
The Fantom-Xa is always ready to record when inspiration
strikes. It’s designed to let you record a new idea fast.
1. Press the Record button.
Play Record
All of the recording-related buttons are grouped together on the Fantom-Xa panel.
The Realtime Rec Standby window pops open and the
Fantom-Xa metronome starts playing.
1. Press SONG EDIT↔LIST to display the SNG EDIT (TRK)
If the SNG LIST screen appears when you press SONG EDIT↔LIST, press the
button again. The button toggles between the two screens.
2. Press F3 (UTILITY) to display the Song Utility Menu.
It’s not important in our tutorial, but the metronome’s handy when you’re
not playing along with a rhythm. (You can also disable it if you prefer, as
described in the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual.)
The parameters in the Realtime Rec Standby window allow you to
customize your recording session in a variety of ways.
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 a new song.
You can set the Fantom-Xa so it doesn’t automatically load the demo at
startup. See the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual for details.
The Count In parameter is set by default to 1 MEAS, for
“one measure,” meaning that you’d hear four beats go by
before you’d start playing.
When you’re recording with a rhythm, though, it’s a better
idea to use the WAIT NOTE setting, so the recorder waits
for the rhythm before recording starts. This ensures that
the rhythm and metronome are in perfect time.
2. Set Count In to WAIT NOTE.
3. Strike a pad so its rhythm plays—recording begins and the
Realtime Rec Control window opens.
About Recording on the Fantom-Xa
The Fantom-Xa’s recorder is a MIDI “sequencer” that captures
MIDI data that the keyboard and rhythm section produce.
When it plays it back, your performance is reproduced.
4. Let four beats go by so you can get used to the groove,
and then play your idea on the Fantom-Xa keyboard.
You can do all sorts of things to refine your music by editing
the captured MIDI data, such as correct its timing, add or
remove notes, change its sounds, and much more.
You won’t need to do this for our tutorial, but you can remove extra
measures at the front or end of a recording using the Delete editing tool,
described in the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual.
While the Fantom-Xa sequencer doesn’t actually record audio, its sampler
certainly does, as we’ll see later.
5. Once you’ve played the idea, press Stop. That’s it—you’ve
recorded your playing.
6. Press RHYTHM to turn off the rhythm pattern.
7. Press Reset, and then Play to hear your idea.
We didn’t want to distract you earlier, but when the Realtime Rec Control
window is open, you can rehearse without recording.
Undoing Your Work
If you’d like to start over again, you can “undo” your recording.
1. Press the UNDO button—a window pops open and asks
if you’re sure you want to undo your last recording (or
editing action, by the way).
2. Press F6 (EXEC) to complete the Undo procedure.
3. Now that you’re back to Square One, you can press
RHYTHM and hit the desired pad to resume playback of
your rhythm pattern, and then repeat the steps in the
previous section of this booklet if you like.
Once you’ve recorded something, you can move over to the
sequencing area to add more instruments, or even sampled
vocals. See the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual to learn more.
The Arpeggiator
The Fantom-Xa’s arpeggiator produces repeating note patterns
called “arpeggios.” These patterns can provide dance grooves
or add texturing to any kind of music. The arpeggiator can also
automatically generate a bass line for any chord.
Before we check out the arpeggiator, press PATCH/RHYTHM,
and then turn VALUE to select User :001 A’Live Piano again.
1. Press ARPEGGIO so it lights.
2. Hold down a handful of notes on the
keyboard—listen to how the arpeggiator
takes the notes you’re playing and uses them
in the currently selected arpeggio.
3. Let go of the keys.
4. Hold down SHIFT and press ARPEGGIO to
display the Arpeggiator editing screen.
Style parameter
On this screen, you can select a different arpeggio—
referred to as a “style”—or even create your own.
5. If the Style parameter isn’t highlighted, press 5 until it is.
6. Hold down some notes on the keyboard with one hand.
7. While you’re holding down the notes, turn the VALUE dial
to select different arpeggio styles. Listen to how they can
do many different things with the same notes.
8. For even more fun, set the Motif parameter to Phrase, hold
down some notes, and try out some more styles—Phrase
can do very interesting things with the notes you play.
9. When you’re done experimenting, press ARPEGGIO once
more to turn off the arpeggiator.
The arpeggiator uses the same tempo as the Fantom-Xa rhythm patterns
and sequencer, so when you use the sequencer, rhythms and the arpeggiator
together, they stay perfectly in time with each other.
3. Press the blue SKIP BACK button.
If the SKIP BACK button isn’t lit, you don’t have enough
free sample memory available for Skip Back Sampling.
See “If the SKIP BACK Button Isn’t Lit” on Page 10 in this
The Fantom-Xa goes back in time and creates a new
sample from the last five seconds of your playing.
Skip Back Sampling can be pre-set to grab anywhere from the last five to
40 seconds of music. Five seconds is the default setting.
4. When the Fantom-Xa has captured your sample, it displays
the ASSIGN TO PAD screen on which you can select a pad
for playing the newly captured sample.
Skip Back Sampling
As you probably know, the Fantom-Xa contains a powerful
sampler. What you may not know is that it’s always listening to
what you do on the Fantom-Xa.
If you know the sample’s tempo, you can automatically keep the sample
in time with rhythms, arpeggios and the sequencer. To do this, press F1
(SYNC) so it’s checkmarked.
This means that when you’ve just played something unexpected
and great, the Fantom-Xa’s powerful Skip Back Sampling can
easily retrieve it for you as a new sample.
5. You can select any pad from 1-9 by striking it or by pressing
3, 4, 5, or 6 to highlight the pad onscreen—the
currently selected pad turns black on the display.
1. Select a patch you’d like to play.
2. Play anything you like on the keyboard, for about five
Strike a pad to preview what’s currently assigned to it—this’ll help you
quickly find the pad you want to use.
6. Once you’ve picked out a pad, press F6 (EXEC)—the
Fantom-Xa asks if you’re sure you want to proceed.
7. Press F6 (EXEC) again to finish assigning the new sample
to the selected pad. Once the process is complete, the
Fantom-Xa takes you to the Sample Edit screen in case you
want to refine the sample by editing it.
If the SKIP BACK Button Isn’t Lit
When your Fantom-Xa’s sample memory—or “sample RAM”—
is full, the SKIP BACK button remains unlit and Skip Back
Sampling isn’t available. You can run out of room if you’ve
loaded a lot of samples or if you haven’t expanded your
Fantom-Xa’s sample RAM and you’ve automatically loaded the
Fantom-Xa demo samples at startup.
You can always unload unnecessary samples to make room—
see “Unloading Samples” in the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual.
If you’ve turned on Tempo Sync, press 6 to display the Tempo parameter,
and then set it to the sample’s tempo, or “BPM,” so the Fantom-Xa knows
how to keep it in sync with the sequencer and/or arpeggiator.
8. Strike and hold down the pad you selected in Step 5 to
listen the new sample.
You can work with the sample just as you would any other
Fantom-Xa sample: playing it, or even using it as the basis for
a song.
Check out the Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual to learn more about sampling.
In addition, you may want to turn off the Load Preset Samples
at Startup parameter described on Page 193 in the Fantom-Xa
Owner’s Manual.
The End
We hope you’ve enjoyed this quick tour of your Fantom-Xa.
Keep an eye out for other Fantom-Xa Workshop booklets, all
available for downloading at
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.
Skip Back Sampling captures not only the sound produced by
keyboard, but your rhythms and arpeggios as well.
To avoid losing a sample when you turn off the Fantom-Xa, you must save
it. To learn how to save a sample, see your Fantom-Xa Owner’s Manual.
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