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My ultimate synth/modeller/pedal to buy has been the VG-99. But I'm wondering also about the GR-55. There is about a $600.00 difference in the two. What do you think? Is the GR-55 good enough or is the VG-99 that much better?
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Theres actually a fair degree of crossover between the two.
Both do Pitch-To-Midi conversion.
Both do alternate tunings and COSM Guitar, FX, and Amp modelling.
Both have COSM HRM virtual gr300's (the gr55 version has a few less models than the one in the vg99). Think Pat Metheny synth sound. These have zero latency tracking (they arent pitch to midi) and can be very expressive, but they are very limited and dated sounding compared to the PCM synths you get in the gr55 (to my ears).
The (main) differences:
The VG99 has TWO COSM modelling chains. The Gr55 has one.
The VG99 has a more robust alternate tuning engine in that it can perform alternate tunings on the modeled guitars while simultaneously making them '12 string' versions. The gr55 will do one or the other, just not both.
The VG99 has more simultaneous fx. The Vg99 has 'polyphonic' fx.
The gr55 comes with two independent PCM synth engines, each have over 800 different sounds. The VG99 has no PCM synth engines.
The Pitch to Midi tracking in the Gr55 of its internal PCM sounds is better than the Midi out tracking in the vg99. Neither is as good as the Fishman Tripleplay however.
The gr55 is a great all in one package. The vg99 requires significant additional gear for live performance (Stand, Footcontroller, and midi sound engine of some sort if you want that).
They are both very nice tools.
I found that I was able to duplicate most of my vg99 sounds inside my gr55, but the opposite is not true. Having the two PCM synths makes a huge difference.
Gr55 is a jack of all trades, and INCREDIBLY convenient to take on a gig considering all it does. Its just not the 'Best' at all its various functions.
If you dont need the alternate tunings or guitar/fx/amp modelling and your intention is to drive different external midi sound sources, get neither the vg99 nor gr55 but rather the Fishman Tripleplay.