Customize your gear

Roland and V-Moda: An Unusual Partnership (And Some 3D Printing)


Japanese music technology giant Roland announces a partnership with hi-fi headphones company V-Moda. So, how does this involve 3D printing? 

For musicians, the Roland Corporation doesn’t need an introduction. They’ve made legendary instruments – without their TR-808, TR-909, and TB-303, techno wouldn’t have happened. Today, they offer a variety of great, versatile and modern musical instruments ranging from pianos, synths and organs to amps and percussion; also, they market guitar amps and effect stomp boxes under the brand name Boss. All-in-all: they are a big player on the market.

On the other hand, we have the much smaller US-based company “V-Moda”. They are known for their classy – and very pricey – high-fidelity headphones and audio devices. If you want to buy a pro-DJ headphone or a $40.000 hi-fi headphone, you’ll find something at their site.

On 8/8/2016 (synth geeks cherish this date as “808 Day”), they announced a partnership to “together develop the next breakthrough music products. The merger provides V-Moda the resources to accelerate product development, push the boundaries of audio innovation and reach a global audience of music aficionados.”

Roland and V-Moda: Customization (And Maybe Some 3D Printing) Possible

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What’s so special about the deal? Is this another case of “Apple buying Dr. Dre’s Beats”? We don’t think so.

First of all, it’s a partnership and not a sale. V-Moda brings some interesting know-how to the table. They let you personalize the “XS” and “Crossfade M-100” headphones with 3D-printed shields. For this, they offer a variety of different materials, such as fiber, stainless steel, silver, 14-karat gold and even platinum. These shields also can be laser-engraved with whatever motive you want.

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V-Moda can offer a thing many musicians and hi-fi aficionadis are interested in: customization and personalization of instruments or gear. This could mean Roland may offer to personalize their gear without having to resort to Gaffa tape –  3D printing could make that possible.

The press release talks about new product developments, to “push the boundaries of audio innovation and reach a global audience of music aficionados”.

V-Moda’s CEO Val Kolton states in the press release:  “This partnership is not strictly a business deal; it’s a strategic synergy that will bridge the high-quality sound, materials and design of our products with the legendary genre-changing sound expertise and commitment to excellence from Roland. Roland’s 808, 909, the contribution to the development of the MIDI protocol and countless products helped to lay the foundation and forge today’s music, and together we can carry on the tradition.”

Kolton will maintain his role with the company as V-MODA’s CEO. Furthermore, he will also provide his expertise in product design for Roland’s dance, DJ and electronic music division as a consultant.

Mr. Jun-ichi Miki, CEO of Roland, said, “We’re pleased V-Moda has joined the Roland family of brands. V-Moda revolutionized headphones and has pushed the envelope of personalization. Their Milano design, material research and professional DJ roots along with their loyal customers are incredible assets for Roland. It’s an exciting time for both companies, and we are eager for the talent at V-Moda and Roland to collaborate. This new team and the audience that the products are going to attract will definitely inspire the future of music.”

We’ll keep you updated.