Review of the Roland V-Synth GT by TweakHeadz Lab
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Tweak Unwraps the:

Roland V-Synth GT

Roland V-SynthGT Synthesizer

Roland's original V-Synth set a new standard in expressive synthesis and sound design. It won awards and acclaim around the world, as it forever changed the way sounds were created and performed. But just when you thought V-Synth technology had reached its peak, Roland raised the bar even higher with the new flagship V-Synth GT! This unique instrument injects the V-Synth's famous Elastic Audio Synthesis engine with revolutionary Articulative Phrase Synthesis technology. Its expression and realism is unprecedented, as is its ability to make never-before-heard sounds.

Interactive tour of the V-synth GT at www.v-synth.com

Drivers

http://www.rolandus.com/products
/productdetails.aspx?ObjectId=847

V-synth TweakBook
http://sinevibes.com/publications/v-synth-tb/


V-synth GT


The V-synth GT is an incredible board for those who know what it is and know how to use it (or want to learn how to use it).  However, it is not a synth for everyone.  In fact, i think a newbie should stay far clear of this board until they really know they need it. The V-synth is not cheap. The price is up there with the 88 key workstations.  Unlike a workstation, the V-synth does not offer 16 channel sequencing or a large rom bank of instruments.  Let's start by looking at who does need a synth of this caliber and what it does offer. 

Who the V-synth GT is for:


This board is ideal for sound developers and recording studio artists who need to be able to create unique sounds on demand.  It is also quite valuable an an expressive solo instrument for live performance as well as studio tracking.  Finally, as a vocoder and effects processor, in the right hands, the V-Synth GT can deliver hott production effects you simply cannot get on the less expensive analog modelers+vocoders. If you want the ability to craft your own effects like many leading pop artists, here is a major tool for your arsenal.  That was, for me, the compelling argument.  You gotta keep it hot, mon!  :0

 Let us be clear this is not a workstation. If you want to read about those--start here.There is no sequencer, no multi timbrality, and no huge pool of ROM instruments.   A realistic acoustic piano?  Forget it! Not in the V-synth. Get a Fantom, Motif XS, or S90EX if you need realism.  Though there are the samples for some great sounding classic rompler pianos in the box. After an hour of playing around with the onboard "MS-JD Pno" samples I was totally impressed by the growling mix cutting vintage sounding pianos I was able to create.  You will find outstanding flutes, a solo violin, and erhu and a few other solo (mono) instruments that sound utterly real.  The synths are fantastic!  The pads are just gushing with goodness

 

Vsynth-big


The V-synth GT is also a vocal processor of hi quality.  It will easily take on a myriad of vocal duties such as vocoding, harmony processing, and formant control.  A studio that works with vocalists may want it just as a vocal processor.  If you are doing movie soundtracks you will also be able to use the elastic audio effects to great benefit.  The board makes some strange, macabre sounds when you start playing with pitch time and formant. Great stuff for the film makers and the Britney-ish bad girl producers.  But if you are writing a string quartet, a realistic big band chart, even a funky jazz fusion, no...IMO go with a rompler like the M3, Fantom, Motif.

While the V-synth GT has presets, this is not by any means a preset box of sounds.  The presets are starting points for programming.  The fun of the V-synth GT is programming.  Programmers will find features they love as soon as they scratch the surface.  Te hardware build is fantastic. The keyboard  feels great, not as quick as a Motif XS, but very luxurious for a 61 key.  Aftertouch is there.  The screen is a touch screen, like the M3, and nicely implemented.  The knobs, switches and jog wheel are superb, like the Fantom G.  The only questionable surface are the end pieces.  At this price I would want wood ends, or at least a metal alloy.  Instead, Roland put on cheap feeling plastic.  This does keep the weight down under 40 lbs. 

 

 

As an Analog Modeled Synth:  High marks.  The Roland synth modeling is convincing and full.  Not only do you get 14 Modeled oscillators which can be combined with each other, but you get pulse width and a modifier called "Fat" and I assure you, it is.  The classic Roland SuperSaw waveform is there.  Every oscillator has its own TVA and TVF, each with their own LFO.  There are 16 filter types which are all unique, including the famous TB filter from the TB303 (Rebirth fans, rejoice). 

The Analog Synth is laid out logically when you hit the "pro Edit" button.  This helps you think you have some control over the sound.  But the possibilities are so enormous, you really do not know where you will end up when you start a patch.

As A Sampler:  OK, the V-synth is designed to do well with the Variphrase time and pitch controls, which act upon sampled data that is in the V-synths battery backed RAM.  It does that well.  But how does it fair as a conventional sampler?  Its quite mediocre in that regard.  You won't be doing multi-samples with velocity switching, 88 key drum kits, or pristeen pianos where every note is sampled.  Plus the amount of sample RAM available is fixed.  if you erase all the factory samples, you have about 64MB to play with.  That is not much.  As a Rompler, the V-synth would be weak. 

variphraseUsing Variphrase:  Loading samples was pretty easy.  You can do it over analog line, resample the output, over USB audio, over s/pdif, or do a file transfer from your PC.  Once in the machine you can edit it in all the usual ways.  Crossfade looping is not there, but I found I was able to get clean loops.  You can choose how the sample will be processed.  As  straight sample (lite), as a "solo" voice which is good for leads using the Variphrase.  You can also choose ensemble and backing.  Once encoded, the Variphrase can come to life in the V-synth with its Pitch, Time and Formant controls.  Using the Variphrase functions you can get a lot out of each sample.  One sample can span 36 keys and make useful sounds.  There are a lot of possibilities when you assign the dual d-beam and time trip pad to the sample.  It  can do huge 2 octave pitch bends, or you can "scratch and screw" the sound on the time trip pad like you were on a DJ turntable.  Or you can listen to the sample decompose and fly apart into fragments of audio, or stop dead and create an unearthly bell tone.  Space composers, there are few synths that could be as satisfying as a V-synth for those weird extra terrestrial sound colors. 

As a Vocoder:  I can easily say this is the best vocoder I have ever had the pleasure to use.  While you can make it sound grainy and mid rangey like a 70's vocoder, you can also make it sound modern and hi-fi clean.  And its a joy to use, even if you can't sing.  Sing your little poetry and listen to it come out as a choral backing.  Or do some really hot vocal hits and licks, repitching your own voice up 1 or 2 octaves.

vsynth dispaly

The Vsynth color display is a touch screen like the Korg M3.
 It is vibrant and can be viewed form several angles without adjusting it

 

As an Outboard Audio processor:  The COSM effects are fantastic and well chosen. Route an output from your audio interface and create a send to the V-synth from inside your sequencer.  You'll find a wealth of effects that can be tweaked in real time and recorded back to the sequencer.  

Perhaps the best way of working is to create a new V-synth for every project.  You can use up to a 2GB USB memory stick and store you projects on it. 

Bugs? :  On my V-synth with my Mac G5 1.8 with Leopard, the Mac would NOT recognize the USB storage in the V-synth.  I had to use a PC to invoke this important function.  Windows XP saw the internal storage right away. 

Things you must know about the V-synth

1. Its is not multi-timbral.  This is not your orchestra/jazz band do everything in a box synth. 
2. There are no authentic acoustic pianos in the box.  There are great vintage pianos here.
3. There are great solo patches inside.
4. You can build massive soundscapes, atmospheres and leads, all flavors of analog and digital bass (though no acoustic bass), leads of all girth, from thin to fat.
5. The D50 card does not come with the V-synth GT, nor can one be added.  This tends to confuse potential buyers.

If you do not want to program stuff, this is not a synth for you.  If you wanted to learn synthesis, you could do it on a V-synth, but it would be tough!  The V-synth is an advanced tool, and it will do best in the hands of someone with synthesis experience who has a huge desire to explore new sounds. 

time trip pad

 

Links:

Defining Custom Bank Select Methods in Logic with a V-Synth GT

The Roland V-Synth GT 2.0 OS and PDF with the patchnames can be found at this URL:
http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.aspx?dsection=d_downloads&ObjectId=847

Posts

The V-Synth GT sources of info, links, etc.

LOUD Roland V Synth XT malfunction?

Using V-synth V2 without VC2 as vocal modulator/effector

V synth XT VC-2 help.

Roland V Synth GT

 

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