Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
lfm
KVRAF
4949 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:07 am

Hi again

I've been digging into a couple Roland stuff now, JD XA as well as System-8. But not sure how much chance there is to actually find something new soundwise.

A lot of knobs for sure, but that is not enough.
Still no preview of program slot you are about to write to - big job to keep track which locations you are done with and want to abandon and replace with something new. Simple things but very important.

JD XA can be set to USB with a button, and you could choose to save everything there. But not which banks and slots to get a preview - just a write and done.

JD XA - analog side has one cross modulator on analog side, none on digital side.
System-8 - was there any at all for cross modulation, just LFO.

Looking back a bit.
Jupiter I guess was very much finding sounds not available before.
Did it stop here?
Then looking back at models from D-50 when it came, well if you got PG800 programmer module you got access to most parameters. But as standard not suited to really dig into making unique stuff. This unit was for a range of synths after that, PG1000 and others.

Then into the 90's, had a JV80. There were loads of these modules you could buy, pretty much rompler.

Integra is pretty much rompler style as well. You probably alter reverb amount and some things like that. I doubt I would really dig into that unit.

Just about what I dod with D-05 - and trying to learn more - but these menu system is not really made for making you own stuff.

The more menu systems - the more you would like randomizer to throw around parameters a good bit och just a little - and find something unusuall you didn't here before.


Then I compare to Clavia stuff like Nordlead series. The overall feel these guys love to be creative and made synths that makes that fun.

Am I unfair - or is Roland rompler stuff all the way?
Hiddeous amount of nice sounds, but not really for you to be creative?

thanks for any input.

JCJR
KVRAF
2557 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:13 am

On the smartphone, will try avoid tldr-- Are you mainly complaining about "ease of programming" rather than synthesis capabilities?

I wouldn't want to be a Roland apologist but even the rompler sound engine is very powerful with lots of parms though maybe not everyone's idea of "instant fun" programming.

Guess I don't really mind menu diving and even the methods on the old jv880 rackmount control panel with a few buttons and tiny lcd screen wasn't completely annoying.

The fa with improved but similar pcm sound engine, larger screen and quicker navigation I suppose would be annoying to someone who wants 1 knob per parm but to me it ain't that bad a way to work.

Lots of computer va synth plugins implement the "fake vco's" as wavetable oscs even if offering only ramp, square and a few others. Followed by digital filters, lfo, eg, etc.

The pcm sound engine is the same with a voice containing up to four parallel synths, each containing osc, filter, eg's, lfo's, etc. So what if the waveform list for the oscs is so long that it's best to have the paper manual in her lap to look them up like looking for a phone number on an old fashioned phone book? Just because there are zillions of em rather than a handful doesn't limit creativity.

I mean if 4 oscs, 4 filters, numerous eg's and lfo's, etc are not enough to make a creative enough patch, you can stack custom "dovetailed" patches on multiple slots up to 8 or 14 or whatever, depending on model.

I mean, if an 8 voice stack, 32 oscs playing selection out of zillions of waveforms, with 32 filters, 96 eg's, IIRC something like 96 lfo's is not enough to get creative in, then what the heck is required? :)

That is just the pcm sound engine. Others are available.

Sure there are things the pcm engine can't do. Sure I have my list of annoyances. As with most synths there are more bad sounding settings than good sounding settings. It might take awhile to find the good settings. But maybe not fair to dismiss it as "just a rompler". :)

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justin3am
KVRAF
10630 posts since 7 May, 2006 from Southern California

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:57 am

Even Roland's romplers are pretty deep from what I remember. You just need to spend the time to get in there. Sure, if you are working with a display which is mostly based on buttons and a display, it can be a lot of work to do something interesting, but the more time you spend at it, the less time it takes to get where you want to go.

One of my favorite synths for sound design was mad by Roland. The V-Synth and later the V-Synth GT. They don't have as many front panel controls as other synths but they have touch screens and performance controls like the D-Beam and Time-Trip pad. The synthesis and effects sections are very deep, in addition to the sample manipulation features. An underrated synth IMO.

Just because a synth is not immediately easy to use, doesn't mean it's not good for sound experiments.

deastman
KVRAF
6993 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:00 pm

Image
Incomplete list of my gear: 110V AC to 12V DC 1.5A power supply (+ tip)

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egbert101
KVRAF
2289 posts since 13 Jun, 2014

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:48 pm

Seems Roland synths just got worse from the Jupiter-8 onward. Although worse, they still produced many iconic keyboards/instruments (Juno 106, D-50, JP-8080 etc). Even the Integra 7 sounds worse than the original JV 1080.
<list all your stupid gear here>

lfm
KVRAF
4949 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:06 pm

JCJR wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:13 am
Guess I don't really mind menu diving and even the methods on the old jv880 rackmount control panel with a few buttons and tiny lcd screen wasn't completely annoying.
Thanks for input.

I started with CZ1000 1985 and it was 100% menu diving. Being first synth I was just excited anyway.

JV-80 was a step forward, with a bunch of sliders and knobs around the display to get access to if it was 4 parameters at a time or so.
Lots of computer va synth plugins implement the "fake vco's" as wavetable oscs even if offering only ramp, square and a few others. Followed by digital filters, lfo, eg, etc.
I think KingKorg was rather ambitious in this sense with loads of oscillators and waveforms. Filters to like attempt to emulate moog, oberheim, prophet and a bunch of Korg's own synths.

Roland SH-32 was the first with I think over 100 waveforms, but was severely cut down on routing abilities. So sounds you could get out of it was not that far from what you already heard.

Factory patches are important also to really go to each corner of what you can do - but most is totally playable and ready to use, kind of sounds.

I guess Roland target, successfully to, the giging musician that just want things ready to use.
I mean if 4 oscs, 4 filters, numerous eg's and lfo's, etc are not enough to make a creative enough patch, you can stack custom "dovetailed" patches on multiple slots up to 8 or 14 or whatever, depending on model.

I mean, if an 8 voice stack, 32 oscs playing selection out of zillions of waveforms, with 32 filters, 96 eg's, IIRC something like 96 lfo's is not enough to get creative in, then what the heck is required? :)

That is just the pcm sound engine. Others are available.
Yes, that is layering to a large extent, and lfo's we had from the 80's, so not new. You can do what you did in the 80's.

It's probably why modular stuff is coming back big - to allow more routing options.

And as example Matrix Brute is probably the most impressive in ease of use to get access to just about anything. If it were true at least 4 voice, with everything on - I would have bought it. Being musically creative I find two hand operation, single bass and chords are needed as minimum. I was rather fine with 4 on CZ1000.

I think both JD XA and System-8 was impressive in ease of use - but found the more I looked I was turned off - yeah, this stuff has been done over and over for 30 years.

KingKorg with 12 cross modulation sources, and over 40 destinations - allow unusuall operations - but not really that user friendly to encourage you to do that. Even smart operations like holding down a knob pressing, it brought you into menu system at a certain spot. So good thinking in many ways.

Nordlead series is most impressive in velocity modulating other parameters, but not so much other cross modulation options there are.
Sure there are things the pcm engine can't do. Sure I have my list of annoyances. As with most synths there are more bad sounding settings than good sounding settings. It might take awhile to find the good settings. But maybe not fair to dismiss it as "just a rompler". :)
I guess layering goes quite a bit. But it's almost what you do in daw anyway - layering various instruments and sounds. Some in unison even. Even modulation options in daw like StudioOne is impressive.

lfm
KVRAF
4949 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:25 pm

justin3am wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:57 am
Just because a synth is not immediately easy to use, doesn't mean it's not good for sound experiments.
Thanks for thoughts.

To me it kind of does mean that.
If the first synth or among the first you have - just about everything is new - and you like to explore anyway.

CZ1000 was like that for me. And the need to store patches led to the start of my business doing cartridges that was 8 of Casio's own in size. That helped a lot having that kind of room to experiment and store away intemediate results. CZ was 8 envelope nodes, so offered some unusuall abilities.

Last year was acoustic guitar year for me, thought this was to be synth year to get something new in that field. But as I dive deeper - been there, done that - kind of feeling.

I might get Integra-7 instead of JD XA, to just have loads to choose from, ready to use. Looked through list of all programs - and it is rather impressive in what is offered on a plate. Loads of choirs I am looking into as well - really powerful sound to astound you.

Both JD XA and System-8 are really nice units but fear I will get bored rather quickly.

For me there are different modes of creativity - either strictly musically or just soundwise. Putting a synth over arms rests in favourite chair and hours pass by in minutes, kind of feeling. And a new sound also inspire musically for a certain kind of approach.

lfm
KVRAF
4949 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:36 pm

deastman wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:00 pm
Image
Thanks.

Seems like a beast.
http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/jd800.php

"The JD-800 is Roland's answer to half a decade of hard-to-program synthesizers."

So spot on what topic is about. A digital version of jupiter-8 maybe.

Maybe Roland found it did not sell better than those with loads of patches - and went other way. The JV stuff following, as I recall. It was endless amount of modules to plug into those. Extensions of that sort.

lfm
KVRAF
4949 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:45 pm

egbert101 wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:48 pm
Seems Roland synths just got worse from the Jupiter-8 onward. Although worse, they still produced many iconic keyboards/instruments (Juno 106, D-50, JP-8080 etc). Even the Integra 7 sounds worse than the original JV 1080.
Thank you.

I remember playing and comparing CZ1000 to Juno 106, but juno was a little more expensive at the time.

Now with EDM stuff synths have been explored to every corner and modular stuff is coming back big time, it seems.
- astound me
is what we are asking for.

System-8 seems lovely in bringing many things, even jupiter-8 is included as well as juno 106.

Just that being modern must also mean bringing something new - not just sounding like the good old days. One of my favourites artists has been Howard Jones and got a concert on dvd a while ago. He had the retro section doing these old jupiter and drum machine stuff - it was cool for sure. Great song writer too.

Some revival of the old in new package bring more arpeggiators and stuff - which is nice.

I want to route everything everywhere, I guess - and see what happends.

And getting polyphonic modular is not that easy. Matrix Brute is probably the most user friendly not doing all polyphonic, but paraphonic as they call it.
Last edited by lfm on Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

deastman
KVRAF
6993 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:46 pm

lfm wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:36 pm
deastman wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:00 pm
Image
Thanks.

Seems like a beast.
http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/jd800.php

"The JD-800 is Roland's answer to half a decade of hard-to-program synthesizers."

So spot on what topic is about. A digital version of jupiter-8 maybe.

Maybe Roland found it did not sell better than those with loads of patches - and went other way. The JV stuff following, as I recall. It was endless amount of modules to plug into those. Extensions of that sort.
The JD-800 is the culmination of all the LA synths, offering a much more accessible programming interface. And yes, I still have a JV-1080, and no, I don’t enjoy programming it. I just think that you’re cherrypicking your examples to support a questionable position. Do Roland synths represent the ultimate in UI/UX and programmability? No. That doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. They also have to balance any number of factors when designing a new instrument, which may include ease of use for patch designers, but also includes MSRP, budget, deadlines, etc.
Incomplete list of my gear: 110V AC to 12V DC 1.5A power supply (+ tip)

lfm
KVRAF
4949 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:59 pm

deastman wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:46 pm
And yes, I still have a JV-1080, and no, I don’t enjoy programming it. I just think that you’re cherrypicking your examples to support a questionable position. Do Roland synths represent the ultimate in UI/UX and programmability? No.
Just to be clear, Roland is synths - no doubt about that.
That is what they do.

And competing with soft synths and new demand from people making music. They went into daw world and bought Cakewalk and dropped that later.

Roland and Yamaha were synth makers more than anything back in the day for me. Casio was a sidestep and others for sure.

But Yamaha with FM synthesis were never about making your own sounds, so Roland remains for me as THE SYNTH MAKER.

I was asking if I am being unfair - and you think I am - and that is ok.

So back to topic title - yes, that is cherrypicking to encourage the creativity part in sound making.

The higher the threshold - the less chance it will be done.

Isn't that the story of all our lives - regarding anything.

So the revival of knobs and new analog synths with modern touch is the story of today.

To me the hottest JD XA and System-8 - just missed some modern stuff like cross modulation.

Combining from Integra world in digital part of JD XA with analog as well is interesting for sure. From Roland this is the most impressive today.

Maybe way to go is starting combining with CV-driven stuff as modules.

deastman
KVRAF
6993 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:21 pm

I meant to add that, like you, I lived through the dark ages of two line displays and a single data entry encoder. All the companies made that move together, so it isn’t really fair to single Roland out for that. Thankfully the pendulum has swung back the other way (and even that happened ages ago).
Incomplete list of my gear: 110V AC to 12V DC 1.5A power supply (+ tip)

JCJR
KVRAF
2557 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:13 pm

Oh I dunno. Whatever people like. I would have to count parameters, but even taking a humble FA or Integra version of the PCM sound engine, if you made a physical hardware panel with a switch, knob or slider FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE AVAILABLE PARMS in that "simple uncreative engine", then if the controls are sized big enough to be used with normal fingers, not requiring magnifying glass and tweezers, the size of the control panel would be HUGE. Maybe about the size of a 32 channel full-sized studio recording console. :)

Seems kinda overkill just for "programming convenience". Once you expose that many knobs and sliders and switches it gets complicated in an entirely different way, searching over an ocean of knobs and sliders looking for that lonely one control you actually need to tweak!

lfm
KVRAF
4949 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Did Roland ever make a synth sincerely for those wanting to be creative doing program patches?

Post Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:35 am

Thanks guys.

Maybe it's thanks for china and lowered prices on manufacturing that lead to the "return of the knobs". Even japanese manufacturers do it in china.

I was so sure I was going to get either JD XA or System-8 - and the more I learned it was the same over again. Still have to look at mixture on analog and digital engine in JD XA a bit - still some GAS on that one. Otherwise just getting Integra-7 is cheaper if the analog+digital mixture does not bring excitement.

EDIT: Studying parameter guide to JD XA grade is raised from C to B.
Digital part - 450 waveforms, analog feel wobble if oscillator as well as two separate pitch envelopes for osc1 and osc2. Study continues....

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