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Thread: Roland AT-900 Platinum Edition

  1. #1
    ppp Pianississmo Dwolt's Avatar
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    Roland AT-900 Platinum Edition

    I’ve had several requests to post a review of the new Roland Atelier AT-900 Platinum Edition. First of all, I don’t understand why Roland didn’t give this a new model number. There are certainly enough new features and modifications to warrant it! I should note that I am biased towards Roland. I sold organs for 20 years back in the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. My experience was mostly with Lowrey and Wurlitzer, with a few Conn thrown in for good measure! I started my Roland adventure with the AT-90R followed by the AT-90S. A couple of years ago I purchased the AT-900 Artist Edition and just recently received my AT-900 Platinum.

    Note: My system includes the Roland CM-220 Satellite/Woofer speaker system.

    General Highlights:

    Roland has added a couple of features to the operation of the instrument that are very helpful. First, and maybe the most helpful is that whenever you choose a preset tab voice, the screen changes to display that section of voices. You can accept the preset voice or change it. For example, pressing Theatre 1 will bring the ORGAN section of voices up displaying the available theatre voices. If you choose another voice, say Lyric Theatre, the OTHERS button will automatically light and you’re finished. This eliminates the need for going through pages and pages of instruments to find the one that you want. Very helpful!
    The Sound/KBD screen has been modified to allow the changing of the octave pitch without the need to select Upper, Lower or Pedal. Very handy! Also, they have moved the rhythm beat counter (lights) to the right-hand margin so that they are always visible.
    There is not a new owner’s manual for the instrument, just a supplement. For some reason, Roland has chosen to make these manuals unavailable on the US and UK web sites. However, if you go to www.roland.com you can download the manuals from there. The supplement is quite good and very informative.
    Previous models have had support for external speakers. The previous AT-800/900 series had a choice of Ambience or Ensemble. The new Platinum adds a third choice called “Satellite”. This is mostly effective on true “organ” voices, such as theater or classical. The tone is mixed into the RSS reverb and selectively “spread” across the sound field. This is a startling realistic effect, especially on pipe organ sounds.

    Hammond Voices:

    The technology in Roland’s famous VK series of combo organs has been added to the Platinum. The Vintage Flutes of all previous Roland models is still there and now called “Jazz Flutes”. The new Hammond voices are labeled as “Rock”. There is also a new Leslie simulator. The previous Leslie version is called Type 1 and the new one is Type 2. This new Leslie sounds so real that you can almost hear the sound spinning around the room! This section is customizable in many ways. I’ve always been confused when I hear people talk about the “Hammond Sound”. What is that? A B-3 doesn’t sound like an H-100 and neither of those sound like a T-200. Roland has added enough variables (key click, leakage, overdrive, tweeter types, Leslie woofer and tweeter speeds, etc ., etc.) to allow you to “dial in” the type of Hammond sound you’re looking for. And, of course, all of this can be saved in your registration presets. Very impressive indeed!

    New Rhythms & Styles:

    The new rhythm unit is basically the BK7m module. The new styles range from “very impressive” to “just OK”. Of course, that is very subjective. What I like may not be to the next person’s liking. The rhythm unit has been modified to use the V-Drums voice library on a couple of drum sets. This is user configurable. The new sounds indeed sound VERY real… with full dynamics of a real drummer. If you aren’t used to playing with a real drummer, which I am not, this can take some getting used to. For the most part, the styles are more realistic. A wonderful new feature is the ability to change the volumes of the instruments in the style. For example, if a style includes piano, guitar and trumpet, you can turn down (or even eliminate) any or all of the instruments. We’ve all had songs where a blaring trumpet just isn’t appropriate… now we can do something about it!
    Another change, which I consider “major” is that the Arranger now uses what Roland calls “Adaptive Chord Modeling”. What this means is that when you change chords, you no longer hear the “chopped” off effect in the instrumentation. Each instrument changes smoothly from one chord to another. This is immediately apparent in something like “Piano Night” which is basically a series of arpeggios. The change from chord to chord is smooth as silk on this new model.

    New Voices:

    There are about 150 new voices on the organ. Around 40 of those are the new SuperNATURAL voices. One the previous models (AT-900, AT-800) there were 4 Articulated voices. These have now been changed to SuperNATURAL. The voice listings on prior models were listed with the prefix of “art”. That has been changed to the prefix “n”. Example: art.violin = n.violin.
    When you choose a preset voice from the SOLO section, it will default to a SuperNATURAL voice. All of the previous voices are still there if you want them.
    These new voices are quite amazing in their realism. Another major change is that these voices can now be played on any ORCHESTRAL or SOLO section. They can also be played in multiples (up to 4). These new voices use what Roland calls Behavior Modeling. This means that you don’t have to use any foot switches to make the voice sound real. In my experience, this is true for the most part. However, if you really want realism you’ll need to learn to use the left and right foot switches. You’ll notice in the supplement that there are many, many effects available dependent upon the voice you’re using.
    Another section of new voices is in the Classical section. Most of the voices of the Roland C-330 have been brought to the Atelier. They are quite simply, fantastic. If you are into classical organ you will really appreciate these voices.

    Conclusion:

    In my opinion, the new Platinum model is absolutely worth the additional cost. My initial hopes were that Roland would provide a software upgrade path for the new model. However, once you hear the new sound system and spend some time with the instrument, you’ll realize that it is much more than just a simple upgrade. It is truly a new model. There are so many other features that I haven’t covered and indeed I find new things almost daily! All-in-all this is a wonderful organ! I can’t think of any other brand or model that I’d rather own.
    San Diego, California USA

    Roland Atelier AT-900 Platinum Edition

  2. #2
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Thanks for the detailed information. I'm passing this on to my students who are waiting (im)patiently for a chance to try it out here in the UK

    Andy G
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

  3. #3
    pp Pianissimo AT pilot's Avatar
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    Hi,
    It was very interesting to read your enthusiastic take on the Atelier Platinum Edition;it certainly sounds very impressive.
    I was recently considering the AT-EX UP (think that's it) upgrade for my AT900C which apparently incorporates many of the features of the Platinum and,to this end,I had a long chat about it with the manager of Peterborough Organs where I bought the instrument.He was extremely positive about the upgrade which was installed at the showroom;unfortunately a good distance from my home so I haven't been able to audition it so far.
    It would have been fortuitous had Roland provided some more comprehensive advance publicity;maybe a leaflet or brochure of some sort,or perhaps some online audio clips.At almost £1500 it seems a little pricey and I think I'd like to find out a bit more before I stump up my hard-earned!I certainly haven't given it up entirely as a future prospect though;I'm quite intrigued by the possibility of having the BK7M module installed in the AT!
    David.

  4. #4
    ppp Pianississmo stevehdj's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for such an informative review. I am curious as how one can updgrade models so often as you suggest in what appears to be a relatively short time span. I am sitting contemplating how to get the most value from my trusty Technic GA3 to enter into the current era of these machines knowing that there is little value left. Also justifying the expense of a new AR is almost impossible in my mind yet you seem to have acheived it a few times over. Just wondering if you might comment on the expected trade in value at the dealerships vs. the suggested $100-$500 that one might get from ebay or other direct selling venue.

  5. #5
    pp Pianissimo AT pilot's Avatar
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    You could always consider adding something like the Roland BK7M module via midi to your GA3 which would give you up to the minute styles and voices whilst retaining all those nice organ samples in the Technics.I seem to recall the GA has a pretty comprehensive midi spec to boot.Just a thought.
    David.
    Roland AT900C updated.

  6. #6
    ppp Pianississmo stevehdj's Avatar
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    Thanks David I do have a Korg I5M attached which is a decent machine it is just that the new technology is so inviting. You are correct about BK7M, perhaps it is time for me to move some equipment on Ebay for funding a new arranger module
    Take care happy holidays
    Stevehdj

  7. #7
    ppp Pianississmo alanwest13's Avatar
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    I believe the forthcoming ATUP-EX upgrade very much brings a lot of the Platinum Edition features to the AT-800 and AT-900

  8. #8
    p Piano AtelierMan's Avatar
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    If you have a AT900, I would get the ATUPEX. I did and am very satisfied. Frankly, I can't see spending $10-15,000+ my AT900 for the Platinum. With the upgrade running in the DOM boot mode (this is key and Roland does not tell you how to do it) I have every voice the Platinum has plus all the new drawbar effects, the new drum patterns and variations and I have all the new rhythms, all the D-beam features, WAV recording, and all the new Pipe voices. What you don't get with the ATUPEX is the Satalite sound if you choose to purchase the speakers, octave shift on the SND/KBD Screen, the Hymn player, Auto shut off, and the obvious slightly new cabinet and stain color and longer Music Rest. That being said, it was a no brainier for me to spend the $800 for the ATUPEX. For me the Platinum and the few minor features were simply not worth it and I still have my CD Player/Recorder (which you don't get with the Platinum) attached to my AT900 that came with my Artist Edition. You have to judge for yourself.

    Jeff

    Quote Originally Posted by AT pilot View Post
    Hi,
    It was very interesting to read your enthusiastic take on the Atelier Platinum Edition;it certainly sounds very impressive.
    I was recently considering the AT-EX UP (think that's it) upgrade for my AT900C which apparently incorporates many of the features of the Platinum and,to this end,I had a long chat about it with the manager of Peterborough Organs where I bought the instrument.He was extremely positive about the upgrade which was installed at the showroom;unfortunately a good distance from my home so I haven't been able to audition it so far.
    It would have been fortuitous had Roland provided some more comprehensive advance publicity;maybe a leaflet or brochure of some sort,or perhaps some online audio clips.At almost £1500 it seems a little pricey and I think I'd like to find out a bit more before I stump up my hard-earned!I certainly haven't given it up entirely as a future prospect though;I'm quite intrigued by the possibility of having the BK7M module installed in the AT!
    David.
    History: Wurlitzer 4150, Thomas Monticello 371, Thomas Celebrity Royale 7180
    Current: Roland AT-900 Platinum Edition

  9. #9
    ppp Pianississmo GardensGuy's Avatar
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    Does anyone happen to know what a new AT 900 Platinum would run now in the U.S?

    Thanks,

  10. #10
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    There are no more new ones, as Roland pulled out of the organ business a while ago. There are more recent threads about the 900 series, have a look through. As for values, the last few went very reasonably. Not sure how prices are holding up in the States, but whenever a manufacturer pulls out, values drop somewhat.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

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