In a sort of back-to-the-80’s and yet futuristic lurch into the world of big hair and loud guitars Roland introduces the AX-Edge. It’s a scythe-shaped keytar with a swappable blade for cutting through on those synth solos.
Equals parts nuts and awesome this is the coolest thing I’ve seen in ages. I mean any normal person would feel ridiculous but in the hands of the right sort of extrovert this thing is gonna rock! Who had the idea for the swappable “Blade”? It’s completely genius. Ok, get a grip now.
This promo video does give you some helpful information but it’s also likely to completely put you off by its awfulness, which is a shame. They need a promo made by the people in the marketing photos – that would rock!
The AX-Edge is a 49 keyed MIDI controller that you hang around yourself with a guitar strap. It’s the ultimate performance tool for the keyboard player wanting to have some of that guitar-style on-stage action. But it’s not just a controller, Roland stuck in a whole bunch of specially curated sounds. From classic keys to screaming leads, fat basses and effects. It can handle 4 parts either split or layered and all the sounds can be managed on the AX-Edge Editor app running on your phone. There’s a mic input for your vocoder sounds and a whole bunch of effects.
At the top end you have a selection of performance controls. A modulation bar, a pressure sensitive pitch ribbon, portamento controls, octave, pitch bend and program change are all accessible to your left hand.
Connect or not
In terms of connectivity it has MIDI In/Out, sustain pedal input, mic input, headphones and line outputs. Bluetooth means that you can totally rock MIDI sounds untethered with nearly 4 hours of battery life. But that’s just for MIDI playing sounds on your computer or another MIDI device. To play the onboard sounds you’re going to need to plug the output of the AX-Edge into something. That’s always the drawback of these sorts of keyboards – but I guess a bit of wireless audio could sort that out.
So what’s this Blade thing all about? The edge of this violently shaped controller can be removed and replaced for a bit of personal customisation. Each AX-Edge ships with an alternative Blade. You get a silver Edge Blade in with the black version and a gold one with the white version. You could of course get your crayons out and make it into something special.
The AX-Edge is a remarkably exciting product that could be just what your stage presence needs. No price yet.