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Roland System 700

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Description
The System 700 used a unique format which included both "short" and "tall" modules. Most of the complex functions, such as voltage controlled oscillators and filters, were configured in tall modules; less complex functions were packaged in short modules. A short module could only be mounted in certain slots in a cabinet, and not all cabinets had slots for short modules. 1/4" phone jacks were used for signal interconnects; an internal backplane in the case distributed power. A total of about 25 modules were offered.

A starter system consisted of a "base system" cabinet, and a keyboard. (Unlike the System 100m, only one keyboard model was offered.) An entire system was powered from the base system cabinet via interconnect cables. Because the keyboard CV/Gate signals were internally bussed to the VCOs, VCFs, and VCAs in the base system, the base cabinet was sold in a fixed configuration; alterations could be made only by special order from the factory, or a Roland service center. Expansion cabinets were packaged to provide certain types of capability, although the user did have flexibility about configuring these cabinets. Up to five additional cabinets could be accommodated by a base cabinet. A notable configuration was the model 717A analog sequencer, which was so large that it took up an entire expansion cabinet by itself.

The System 700 was a high-end and very expensive product. Roland was initially reluctant to sell individual modules to end users, which inhibited sales, and the line was somewhat undercut by Roland's own introduction of the less expensive System 100m in 1979. Nearly all units sold had been scrapped, or stored and forgotten about, by 1995, and it appeared that the type might be lost to history before some collectors made an effort to locate and restore a few systems in the 2000s. Working systems are rare enough, and so seldom come up for sale, that assigning a collection value now is difficult. One aspect of keeping a System 700 working is the oddball and rather difficult power supply voltage; it requires +/- 23 volts, higher than most synths and high enough that some care has to be taken in cabling and connectors.
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Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Subtractive
Oscillators
Oscillators: 3
Waveforms: Pink Noise, Pulse, Pulse Variable, Saw Down, Saw Up, Sine, Square, Triangle, White Noise
Osc Modulation: Knob, LFO, Pitch Wheel
Envelopes
Envelopes: 2
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Filters
Filters: 2
Types: 12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), Resonance
Filter Modulation: Envelope, LFO
Filter Notes:
filter is multimode
LFO
LFO: 2
LFO Parameters: Sample & Hold, Delay
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Mono
Patches
Patches RAM: 1
Effects
720B: 2-channel Phase Shifter
721B: 2-channel Audio Delay
Case
Case: Desktop, Keyboard, Module
Keyboard: 37 keys
Controls: Faders, Joy Stick, Knobs
Connections
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out, Stereo Headphone
Audio Output Count: 2
Inputs: 1/4"
CV Ports: CV IN, CV OUT, Gate In, Gate Out, Trigger In
Production
Year Released: 1976
Year Discontinued: 1982
Used By
Steve Hillage
Manuals & Documents
Pricing
Used Price: $8,000 - convert
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