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roland Vsynth-XT Synthesizer
Overall Rating
Submitted: December 20th, 2008
by Helmey
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Sound Quality
I really wasn't sure if I would like this synth. I had played it at GC years ago before version 2.0 was available and wasn't too impressed by the sounds I heard. Because of the unique nature of the V-Synth I had to give it another try, especially since it was in every touring rig on the planet. Boy, I'm really glad I did. This keyboard just plays sounds that make your ears feel good. The pads are ultra-lush like the best of Roland analog and VA synths, the basses rattle the windows and the D-50 like textures take up lots of lush, evolving sonic space. There are even some playable piano sounds, organs and the other requisite assortment of required patches too. Regarding the style that would be appropriate for this board, it's a modern synth that makes great modern sounds. It doesn't have the polyphony to be a great all around do-it-all synth, it is really designed for making those special signature sounds and is a great lead board or a companion synth to a general purpose keyboard in a live rig. The only genres that I would depend on the V-Synth for would be in the experimental or the electronic music categories. The effects are very good and it has two separate COSM filters (which have been very improved since the original COSM amp models) plus multi-effects, chorus and reverb. The sampling on this keyboard is simple and the quality is excellent. Some complaints I've read about the sampling quality are caused by using the wrong Encode settings when creating samples. Once you get the hang of it, bringing in your own sounds is amazingly easy either via sampling or importing through the USB port. But that's not why I bought this keyboard. The reason I bought the V-Synth was because it is the only synth of its kind that provides an amazing combination of sampling, synthesis and looping along with the best set of programmable controllers ever assembled. I was searching for a substitute for the now-defunct Mac audio program Hyperprism, and I found it in a keyboard. With this keyboard, you can do all the regular keyboard stuff, plus you can: Use the time trip pad to slow down and stop a sample and then reverse it like on a turntable. Use the d-beam controller to control the speed of a sampled loop without changing the pitch. Play a long sampled phrase and add new notes and harmonies without re-triggering the sample. Use any sampled sound as an oscillator with virtually all the same parameters available to edit the sound. Take your new mangled sound and re-sample it back into the keyboard to use as a new oscillator. And much, much more. Having such a great knobular synth combined with touch screen and a loaded controller set makes this an awesome performance keyboard. I will never get tired of playing with the d-beam or the time-trip pad. The factory sounds are great and it's cool that you can always recover them if you want them. The best part is creating your own sounds because this keyboard makes it so easy and awesomely fun. This keyboard is amazing and it deserves a special place in the pantheon of great boards.
Never had a problem, knock on wood. This is probably the most solidly built synth of all the boards I own. The knobs are smooth and rock steady and the buttons light up beautifully. Everything feels like a quality instrument even though it is made mostly of plastic. Nobody makes them like Roland.
General Comments
I'd give this an 11 if I could. The V-Synth is by far the most musical and fun synth I've played in a long time - maybe ever. If you like weird, electronic or sampled sounds and you have more than one keyboard, one of them should be a V-Synth. It's hard to recommend it as a main axe because it is such a unique instrument, but for us multi-keyboardists it's a must-have synth. This model of the V-Synth has been discontinued, but can easily be found on eBay. The V-Synth GT is the new daddy and I understand that it is like having two V-Synths in one. The only problem is the cost. Even used, it's usually more than $1,800. Might as well buy two of the old-model V-Synths instead! If this keyboard were stolen, I'd definitely replace it - with another one of these. For the money they cost on eBay they are a bargain and still way ahead of their time.
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