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Review of the Roland BK-7m arranger module
  • for those of you using midi, and midi controlled modules for creating/playing music/soundtracks

    Just today noon MEST my review of the Roland BK-7m arranger module was published on the

    Have fun reading... and even more letting your musicality and creativity free!!

    Kurt Markussen

  • 17 Replies sorted by
  • I have one :-) Use it for personal fun only.

    Got on some sale for cheaper price :-)

  • Checked all review, and it is definitely best from anything I read about it.

    Really good job!

  • Thanks Vitaly, I am honored....

    My approach is very simple... "keep IT simple" .... and hand on experinces are hard to substitute and hard to get.. and a little like Your strategy... "if you know something... dont be afraid of sharing", and finally you will not loose but winn by sharing..... like happines.. share it.. and it becomes even more.... ;-) unlike with money.. "is never gone, is just in the hands of someone else" ;-(

  • Thing I hardly understand, why all this firms want to sell you keybed with synth always?

    I do not need new keybed, I just need small synth.

  • Also you can now get extra music styles (with instant preview) at

  • Very good software - BK Partner

    This software application for iPad let you browse, select, and control the sounds ("Tones") and musical accompaniments ("Rhythms") of your Roland BK-series instrument.

    When using BK Partner you can:

    • Play your BK-series instrument while using your iPad as a duplication of its front control panel. This provides fast visual access to the BK's main functions, Tones, and Rhythms.
    • Work with Core MIDI or Roland Wireless Connection (if supported by BK Instrument)

    Note: The BK Partner can only display English texts.

  • The BK-series has become more professional, and especially for the BK-7m the user interface has improved dramatically with the new apps! give it a try and report about your experiences here and at

    The touchscreen of the iPad will offer a much more smooth and direct connection to alter settings on the fly. I did not test this myself yet, but as per technical description and on behalf of the users manual it sounds very promising!

    Software updates are required to enable these, but this is free, as are the apps.


    BK-7m v1.07:

    • Introduced the compatibility with Lyrics Viewer, User Scale, and BK Partner apps for iPad. C
    • Connection of BK-7m to iPad will be possible only through Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (via USB). No wireless connection is available for BK-7m sad to say ;-(


    have fun


  • @markussen

    Sad thing that it is not for Android.

  • yes, open sourse at the best! and I do not understand why this interface is limited only to these few settings, all the effects, Midi, set-ups would be much more easy to adjust via an external touchscreen. as I said in the review: "the upcomming feeling is like navigating a submarine in the harbour by use of the periscope only!" "Why make it ieasy when we can more complex!!" Maybe it comes in the next software update ;-) .. is like slow feeding, to keep you allerted about the challenge!

    I prefer marketing strategies like: "spoil you costumers, and they will love you!"

  • @markussen

    Btw, tablet application make us ask why we need arranger part in the module or keyboard at all?

    It can have sound generator and be midi control surface, and it is enough.

  • I agree in the modular way of thinking... get a midikeyboard which gives you the feedback YOU need, and add the modules/tonegeneration externally.. as I have a Korg Trinity ProX HDR.. like NEW, and I do not need any other keys!

  • @markussen

    Tell them to make it as module. Personally, I'll never buy another keyboard. Enough is enough.

    I most like to play on Microstation even :-) Doubt that Roland make such keybed :-)

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev Roland and others do this for living.... thats why they better like selling slices of "pie" instead of teaching their costumers to bake themselves! The interface "man-maschine" is very essential, and I see a lot of potential to make it a more easy approach to express musical creativity... to minimize the challenge of handling technical shortcommings e.g. design, sound, interfaces, mobility, cost, open source/network... Evolution was always done step-by-step ... and as good comsumers we should be thankfull for have great apps for free, and feel the joy for what we have instead of mouring like spoiled children for the "slightly bigger slice of pie my sister got"! ;-)

  • I just added a small review to the 1.07 FW in combination with the BK-Partner iPad app... feel free to add further advices/comments

    Have fun and be creative ;-) Kurt

    the short review:

    Hi to all Roland BK-7m users,

    Hamburg February 06 2013

    In addition the the review I did write on the summer 2012, I do here add my observations, my personal opinion, about the newly released update on 1.07 firmware, und especially in the combination with the released BK-Partner software installed on an iPad. One of the major complaints I had previously about the BK-7m was the user interface, especially the tiny display and missing users manual. The BK-Partner app do give you a lot of more easy ways to control/program you BK-7m, but is it really usable?..

    The GOOD:

    The app is FREE, and for owners of iPads, it is a must to use!! Sad to say, owners of non Apple brands of tablets (windows, android based) are left alone! For the pro/semipro musician an app with iPad will add functionality, and for the beginner the module is still very affordable. YES… you get a lot of more easy handling, for free if you own an iPad already, otherwise, you need to invest in a used iPad. (In Germany you can buy from EUR 150,-- on online marketplaces) The optimum usability you get by using the combination of the keys on the iPad and the keys on the BK-7m. It is a lot more easier to change tones/rhythms on the fly. Still not ready for live performance changes, but much easier. The programming is many times faster! You can change active parts, turn active part on/off, change TEMPO directly You can save your new performances very easily after altering the parameters Easy to alter and write OTS (OneTouchSettings) Easy to change the NAME of a Performance by using the keyboard on the iPad. The "favorites" function gives you your choices direct by hand, by family (only) or by name (all)

    The BAD:

    WHY only for iPad?? What about the rest of the world not suffering directly from the limitations of Apple? And the iPad is the most expensive of all Tablets! Make it OpenSource. Do I demand too much? But why not make the user interface iPad able to handle the further settings? (MFX, global, midi, almost ALL is missing!) The names of Performance which are user created/write will not be displayed on the iPad The update time needed if you change performance list can be quite long. There is NO overview of you settings on the iPad, Tones in OTS 1-4, Rhythm, Tempo, parts muted on one page, but to be found on different pages ( tones-rhythm-performance) , instead you will find midi commands listed which really has no use while playing. The combination with the BK-7m "octave" will give you some substitute for the missing. The design at first is beautiful, BUT here is a tool and not a colorful show! You load a performance, and will alter the OTS or create new. The MyStyles will contain a file with the original name of the Rhytm, and NOT with the user created new name! Load a performance from the USB, and by writing, you will be asked if you want to write to USB…. WHERE else???..

    in General:

    YES. This is a huge step forwards, this is really great after trying to use the wheel for renaming performances.. Thanks Roland!!! BUT…. Justs to program a users interface is not enough! Before you do so, concider what is needed by the users! I see it in many, way to many, different guides and manuals, that the programmer did not understand the need of the user, and in this special case, the display area is partly misused by showing nonsense informations. What is really needed is missing ;-( This is a great attempt to serve the costumer, I absolutely honor and respect the approach, and it is good marketing! I am sure that there will be certain update for the BK-partner in near future (I really HOPE!!) and soon a serious musician will be able to alter and save his creative work easily, and newbies will have a much more easy way to get started. And these multiplicators will be the ones selling the next and next modules… or like at the time being, advising people NOT to buy, coz it is too complex. Even dealers have this opinion! I did mention in my former review, that many, really many users are frustrated and overwhelmed by the many possibilities, which is partly positive, but these users are left alone by confusing interface design combined with almost completely missing manual describing "HOW TO" setup and use arranger modules.

    I now do own a Roland BK-7m, and I do confront myself with the setup, making performances, adjusting all to my preferences. It is very time demanding, and an app which would cover further settings would be of a huge advantage. I did spend thousands of hour playing life music on stage, and I do really attempt to use this module for this purpose again!

    Thank You Roland, do not stop swimming in the middle of the river!

    Thank You reader, for showing interest in this small "add-on" review Have a great day, enjoy being creative!

    Kurt Markussen

    Of course….. this is MY HUMBLE OPPINION only, at the time writing, and I did only use the app on a borrowed iPad for a few hours before writing. I do not claim to be correct in my statements, nor being knowing about all isues, but I did my best!! Thanks for bearing!

  • @markussen


    Are you owner ?

  • @Vitaly_Kiselev NO! just a simple user.... like with GH cameras ;-)