Well, it's finally happened! Roland is making actual analog synthesizer modules. They are eurorack size and will supposedly be released this summer for around $300 each. Most of them are double modules (two VCOs two filters, two ENV). They sort of look like a hybrid between the System 100m and System 700. These are being made in collaboration with the Malekko company and you can see the small Malekko "M" logo on the bottom of the modules.
My first thought was that I was a little bummed that there was no pre delay on the LFO part of the phaser module. That very natural singing sound of delayed vibrato has been a staple of almost of all of Roland's vintage gear (including the System 100m). But it looks like that feature does exist in the System-500 - buried in the middle of the Envelope module. My only other complaint is that the high pass filter is just a switch of three different modes. Would have been nice to have it's own dedicated slider or knob for full control.
All in all I'm pretty thrilled about these. Welcome back Roland!
Here is Roland's official statement:
"Roland is also pleased to announce the development of the System-500, an all-new, fully analogue modular synthesizer based on two of the most revered electronic instruments of all time - the System-700 and System-100m. Designed exclusively for Eurorack, the System-500 delivers classic Roland sound with all the advantages and reliability of a modern instrument."