Roland’s new Bluetooth speaker doubles as a guitar amp

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Roland’s BTM-1 would look at home on a Russian billionaire’s yacht.
Roland’s BTM-1 would look at home on a Russian billionaire’s yacht.
Photo: Roland

If you play an electric musical instrument, and you also listen to music from your iPhone, and you also (perhaps) have a pink neon flamingo on your nightstand (bear with me here), then you will L-O-V-E the new Roland BTM-1, a combo Bluetooth speaker and guitar/synth amp.

Let’s check it out.

Roland BTM-1

First, here’s the pink neon flamingo:

I wish this had been my teenage bedroom.
I wish this had been my teenage bedroom.
Photo: Roland

The BTM-1 works like a regular Bluetooth speaker. It also packs an aux-in jack, so you can hook up a phone, Walkman or other non-wired audio source. (That includes synthesizers or any other line-level electronic instruments.)

But the clever part comes when you plug a guitar into the dedicated 1/4-inch jack. Guitar amps are not like normal speakers and hi-fi amps. Apart from the mismatch of circuitry, a guitar amp cuts out a lot of the top and bottom — treble and bass — of the signal. This results in the characteristic warm, mid-forward sound of an electric guitar. The BTM-1 simulates this processing, so your guitar sounds like it’s plugged into a proper guitar amplifier, not just a music speaker.

The Roland BTM-1 has two 2-inch speakers. The guitar channel has volume, tone and gain controls, plus a “short delay function” and an optional high-gain mode for metal and the like.

Buy from: Amazon — $199.99

Jam box

I’m not so sure about the gold knobs on the Roland BTM-1.
I’m not so sure about the gold knobs.
Photo: Roland

If you decide to use all the BTM-1’s features, you could plug in a guitar, plug in a friend’s keyboard, and play along to a Bluetooth backing track. Or, of course, you can just lay back, switch on the pink flamingo, and listen to some vintage Jan Hammer tunes from Apple Music on your iPhone. Your call.

Roland’s BTM-1 is, says Roland’s PR representative, only available from Amazon, for around $199.