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#2847121 - 04/05/17 09:17 AM Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09
AnotherScott Offline
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This is really a followup to a discussion in the "Nord Electro 5D thread?" thread that was up not too long ago, but I thought would be better to continue with a more relevant subject line. So picking up from a (slightly edited) quoted message there...

Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Originally Posted By: MathOfInsects
I used to dread using my VR-09 as a single board, because of the terrible action and clunky real-time controls. I now find excuses to use my 5D as a single-board. I love the action
Is the 5D action any different from the NS2-73 which I'm familiar with? While neither is my favorite, I actually prefer the VR09 action to that Nord action, though its really a matter of picking your poison. The Nord action is more consistent front-to-back, but it pushes back harder in a way that I find uncomfortable. As for the clunky real-time controls, I think the Nord has better real-time controls for organ and effects, while Roland (not surprisingly, since it is more of a synth) has better real-time synth controls (envelope, filter, and obviously pitch/mod), so again I find it hard to see a clear winner, personally. What kinds of things really bit you in terms of real-time controls on the Roland?

To me, both are geared more for grabbing your sounds in real time than in calling up user presets, as they both seem sub-standard in the latter respect (at least to someone like me who is scrolling-averse). Each has only 4 hard patch recall buttons. Now, I haven't yet gotten my hands on the E5, so maybe I'm missing something, but it looks like you need to scroll through a list if you want access to more than 4 saved presets...Roland seems a hair better here in one respect, in that you can get to 16 saved presets without having to scroll (4 with single buttons, or 16 within two button presses)

Though also, in the sheer number of sounds you can get to with a single button press, Roland has the edge. When you turn it on, you've got single-button access to organ, piano, EP, clav, harmonica, brass, strings, synth lead, bass, pad, choir, vibes, and whatever 4 others you've assigned to the first 4 registration locations, which is pretty handy. I do wish you could save which sound comes up by default under each of the main categories (i.e. you might want your default strings to be the real ones rather than the synth ones, etc.), though it wouldn't take long at the start of a gig to put the desired default sounds under each button that doesn't already have what you prefer. One big advantage of the Roland here is patch remain.

I have subsequently gotten to play the NE5D and VR09 next to each other, so some further observations and comments on the above...

* The 5D action bottoms out differently that the NS2-73, presumably because of the absence of the aftertouch sensor. I think that does improve the feel from a piano perspective.

* As I mentioned in another thread, one really lame part of the VR09 organ interface is there's no instantaneous "live drawbar" function... unlike the Nord, if you simply want to treat it like a "regular" organ in that respect, you basically have to move each of the 9 drawbars to make them all "live." (Though the lack of separate direct buttons for each of the percussion functions wasn't as cumbersome on the VR-09 as I feared it might be, something I think I mentioned elsewhere as a shortcoming.)

* While I'm not so enamored of the "hard ratchet" feel of the Nord (and worse, the accompanying abrupt sonic shifts, something better on the VR-09), overall, the Nord drawbars are better. Obviously, just from looking, you can tell that the size/spacing is more faithful on the Nord, but something I didn't realize until I got to spend some time on them is that the resistance on the VR-09 is really stronger than it should be. (This may be even worse because the board is so light, it almost feels like the whole board will move if you grab drawbars.)

* While both are relatively limited in terms of the number of sound and custom presets you can call up without scrolling, the Nord has two advantages over the Roland here. First, if you must use a knob/dial to scroll, the smaller Nord knobs are much better. The big wheel of the Roland may be a good interface when dialing through a huge list of sounds, but it is very awkward for moving slowly or one-at-a-time... and they exacerbate that by not providing (or repurposing any of the other) buttons that could be used for single increment/decrement buttons. Second, the Nord has much better MIDI patch selection functionality, so if you need to create shortcuts to more sounds, using any app that can send MIDI Program Change (or perhaps your other keyboard), you can create shortcuts for just about anything... via simple MIDI commands, you can call up different programs (the equivalent of Roland's registrations), different songs in the set list (the equivalent of Roland's banks), or different individual synth sounds (the equivalent of Roland's tones). NONE of that can be done on the VR-09. In the case of registrations and banks, there is simply no way to call them up over MIDI. For individual tones, the only way to do it is via system exclusive, in an implementation that is even trickier than other system exclusive stuff I've worked with, and definitely not for the faint of heart, or probably anyone who isn't essentially a professional calibre MIDI programmer. For this and other reasons, as much as we can criticize Nord for limited MIDI functionality in the the Electro, Roland is far weaker.

* For managing splits, the Nord has a much cleaner interface, as well as the greater flexibility of individual effects (albeit fixed split points). I didn't care much about this on the VR-09, because I'm not keen on doing splits on a 61, though it also comes into play when attaching another keyboard over MIDI to either use as a second organ manual or to play piano from one action and organ from another. Nord is better here (as well as, of course, being available in a more split-friendly 73-key config).

* Then there are the other well-known Roland limitations that Nord has no problem with, like being able to have both a sustain pedal function and a rotary toggle pedal instead of having to choose one or the other, and being able to split the stereo outputs to dual-mono so you can send piano out one side and organ out the other to send them to different external processing/amplification, among other uses for such a feature.

* Sonically, as expected... I thought the Nord beat the Roland in piano and organ sounds (though the Roland's rotary effect does have a bit more three-dimensionality to the rotor's whomp-whomp-whomp when accelerating and decelerating). The Roland benefits from having a real synth section (esp. with its iPad editability) and multiple velocity levels in its samples (something Nord only has in its piano section), and Nord benefits from having all the different sampled sounds you can download into it (and the ability to download your own).

Overall, the Nord wins for me, as it really should considering it's more than double the price. As I mentioned in another thread, you could add a little Roland Boutique module to the Nord to get the synth functions it's missing compared to the VR-09, it integrates pretty easily, but yup, that's yet another few hundred dollars. The Roland really is a fun little board, and there's a ton of useful functionality packed into a wonderfully lightweight and inexpensive board, and there are still some things it does better than the Nord (patch remain, mod/pitch lever, # of immediate sound recall buttons, etc). In the end, what bugs me about the VR-09 is not that it's not as good as a Nord, one shouldn't expect that, and in some senses, it comes closer than it has any right to. What bugs me is how much better it could have been with some little tweaks that probably would have cost no more to implement (MIDI implementation, pedal assignment, output panning, etc.).
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#2847126 - 04/05/17 09:38 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: AnotherScott]
MathOfInsects Offline
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I sold my VR-09 when I bought my NE5D. Even if all else were equal, the cheap action of the VR-09 made it a barely-workable second board, and non-workable first board. But to be honest, I don't feel there is even a head-to-head comparison to be made; different boards, different purposes, different price points, and mostly different intended users (IMO).
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#2847129 - 04/05/17 09:57 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: MathOfInsects]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: MathOfInsects
I sold my VR-09 when I bought my NE5D. Even if all else were equal, the cheap action of the VR-09 made it a barely-workable second board, and non-workable first board. But to be honest, I don't feel there is even a head-to-head comparison to be made; different boards, different purposes, different price points, and mostly different intended users (IMO).
Yeah, I agree with most of that, and I guess the thing that led me to even attempt a direct comparison was that that's where that previous thread led to, and I happened to then have the opportunity to play them side by side. And I did enjoy the VR-09, I didn't find the action as bad as you (and others) did. But if you can afford it, I think there are very few who would not be better served by the Nord (or the combination of the Nord and a synth module)
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#2847134 - 04/05/17 10:05 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: AnotherScott]
Delaware Dave Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Overall, the Nord wins for me, as it really should considering it's more than double the price.
This shouldn't surprise anyone. You're comparing the Golden State Warriors to the Brooklyn Nets ......


Edited by Delaware Dave (04/05/17 10:07 AM)
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#2847139 - 04/05/17 10:50 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Delaware Dave]
ElmerJFudd Offline
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side topic: the VR-09 is the current and available model of course. But there are reasons why one might want the VR-700 (which was the choice I made) starting with the action being better than either the models being discussed. The build quality over the 09 as well - although adding weight, the drawbars feeling and operating as expected, and being able to edit parameters of the engine and fx without an iPad app - although having the manual in hand is a good idea.

Downsides discussed in the past - no mono out for just the organ engine if you plan to use a hardware rotary effect instead of the internal when doing splits/layers with other timbres. Not a big deal for me since it's a second tier ancillary board over a stage piano. Also, apparently no MIDI out for the drawbars to control say, an HX3 module. Also no big deal for me, I'm using the internal organ engine. Plus side, the Ocean Beach DB-1 works with the VR-700 for additional set of drawbars.

I hope one day Roland believes they can compete with an organ-centric do-it-all board the way they did with VK, VR7XX models in the past. Can't personally get past aspects of the 09 that allow them to offer it at its price point. But at least there are Crumar and Hammond offerings in the $1k to $2k area - if not the 73k models.
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#2848487 - 04/11/17 06:07 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: ElmerJFudd]
Giovanni Offline
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I know the knocks on the VR-09, but having been away from Synths etc for so long, I'm talking since the mid to late 90's, maybe I'm easily impressed, but the tech has come so far. Back then, this would have been a dream to own.

I have a lot of fun with this thing, and I understand the problem people have with the smaller drawer bars, and the keyboard action, but it's not bad really I have smaller hands for a keyboard player so it's not a problem - also, I know where some of you are going to go with this - if I have small hands, then something else must be small - I guarantee you, there's no problem, I guarantee it. crazy


Edited by Giovanni (04/11/17 06:08 AM)

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#2848493 - 04/11/17 06:52 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Giovanni]
Stokely Offline
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Relevant to me (somewhat) as I've been kicking around the idea of replacing my VR-700 with an electro 5. I'll definitely miss the key action from the 700 (which is obviously different from the VR-09) but if anything the electro would be a step up in synth capability from the 700.

I've gotten a number of complements on the VR organ and even horn sounds from a couple keyboardists I know that came out to see our band, so it's not an easy decision for me--especially since I paid $875 used for the 700 and that included a rolling soft case!

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#2890188 - 11/14/17 06:48 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Stokely]
teashea Offline
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One problem with the Rolands - including the new VR09B and the VR730 is that the build quality is suspect. They still use plastic top panels. Come on Roland - give us some quality.

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#2890194 - 11/14/17 07:02 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: teashea]
Legatoboy Offline
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Had a VR09, upgraded to a 5d!
The 5d smokes it, especially the Organ and AP... but actually the Synth section on the VR-09 is pretty good...full ADSR for the filter too...that makes a difference! Wish I had that on the 5D to be honest, instead of the single knob/velocity on the 5d! I like Roland Synths over their DP and Clonewheels for sure.

The AP is 'not bad' in a pinch, a bit thin... the EP's are ok... I like Roland Clavs..

The organ/Leslie - often I could not tell when I was on Tremolo or Choral at times but out front it sounded good..The Choral rotation is weak I thought in the simm....just doesn't feel as good from player perspective... small keys were the main reason I had to sell it...

For what it is it really is pretty cool ...just could't use it effectively and I had priorities and problems to solve for gigging..


Edited by Legatoboy (11/14/17 07:06 AM)
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#2890199 - 11/14/17 07:39 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: teashea]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: teasha
One problem with the Rolands - including the new VR09B and the VR730 is that the build quality is suspect. They still use plastic top panels. Come on Roland - give us some quality.

I think you've posted that in three threads today! Personally, I don't find it to be an issue. The alternatives make the board either heavier or more expensive. Tons of boards have plastic top panels, I don't remember reading where people have had problems with them. Yeah, if you threw them into the back of a van without a case, then tossed another no-case instrument on top, the plastic might crack whereas the metal wouldn't. So don't do that.
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#2890204 - 11/14/17 08:25 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: AnotherScott]
Stokely Offline
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Any thoughts on the 5D vs the Roland VR-700? I'm considering selling my Roland and the 5D or possibly the Mojo 61 would be the upgrade. Mainly I want something smaller and lighter, it would be paired with a Kurzweil pc361 (for synths and all-around sound). The VR mostly does organ for me as you'd expect.

I know already I won't like the 5D keys as much, and that I'll like the 5D pianos/eps/clavs more smile I was very interested in the other thread where someone replaced the springs for a reasonable cost.


Edited by Stokely (11/14/17 08:26 AM)

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#2890217 - 11/14/17 09:35 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Stokely]
jeffinpghpa Offline
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Electro 5D is a great instrument, all around good sounds across piano, organ and electric pianos. They are built extremely well for gigging and the direct controls are great.

They're more expensive.

MAP price is $1,499 for your choice of a Roland VR-730 or a Crumar Mojo61

MAP Price is $2,199 for the Nord Electro 5D. Bump that up to $2,499 for the 73 keys.

You can always shop around and negotiate better prices but the Nord Electro 5D 73 is a grand more than the Roland Mojo61 options.

None of these suck. Have fun.

If my sole use was to do organ and just needed a couple extra sounds, my humble opinion is that the organ on the Mojo61 is better than the Nord organ. Your opinion may vary, but I think that's the consensus on this board and I like all of these products.

Roland is no slouch. I like my FA-07, it's just not something I focus on using as an organ. Neo Soul Keys Studio from my iPad played with the Roland crushes it as a light and portable electric piano that weighs 17 pounds. :-)

Get what you like! Buy the best instrument you can afford or save some bucks and get some other stuff with the same money... it's all goodness.
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#2890222 - 11/14/17 09:56 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: jeffinpghpa]
Legatoboy Offline
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I got a great deal on a 5D from ProAudioStar:
http://www.proaudiostar.com/
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#2890235 - 11/14/17 10:39 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Legatoboy]
Adan Offline
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I've posted my opinion several times, but it's worth repeating in such a topic-specific thread. I wanted to like (and buy) the VR-09, and was willing to tolerate its shortcomings, but the lack of a true swell pedal is what made me walk away. I can't play organ using a poorly-calibrated volume pedal in place of a swell. That there are not more complaints about this from VR-09 users makes me wonder if I'm just being picky-yuny. But I don't think so!


Edited by Adan (11/14/17 10:39 AM)
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#2890240 - 11/14/17 11:00 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Stokely]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Stokely
Any thoughts on the 5D vs the Roland VR-700? I'm considering selling my Roland and the 5D or possibly the Mojo 61 would be the upgrade. Mainly I want something smaller and lighter, it would be paired with a Kurzweil pc361 (for synths and all-around sound). The VR mostly does organ for me as you'd expect.

I know already I won't like the 5D keys as much, and that I'll like the 5D pianos/eps/clavs more smile I was very interested in the other thread where someone replaced the springs for a reasonable cost.

Sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on the pros and cons. Some of this is subjective, but here's my summing up...

VR700 has great action, and is stronger for many common rompler sounds (strings, brass, etc.) than NE5D/Mojo61, and has the pitch/mod controls those lack. You can split/layer in many combinations. But a bit of a tank to move, no ability to pan sounds to different outputs, drawbars don't send MIDI CC.

NE5D has better piano/EP/organ, some nice vintage key sounds, and the ability to load your own samples. I think clav plays particularly nicely from its action because they employed a low release point, though Guido says he intends to add that feature to the Mojo. Available 61 or 73 keys. Useful but limited split/layer functions, doesn't have the other Roland shortcomings I listed.

Mojo61 gets high marks for action, though I'm not sure whether people find it as amenable to piano playing as Roland's, maybe someone else who has played both could chime in on that. No split/layer functions. By reputation at least, possibly the best organ/EPs/clav of the bunch, okay piano, no other sounds. Nord is a lot more versatile, but Mojo61 may be the best at the smaller number of things it does (apart from piano). 61-key only. If budget is not the constraining factor, you can also get the Mojo61 sounds in a Gemini desktop (or rack) module and run it from whatever board you'd like. The Gemini also has more sounds in it, and lets you play two of them at once.


Edited by AnotherScott (11/14/17 11:02 AM)
Edit Reason: last sentence
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#2890243 - 11/14/17 11:07 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Adan]
brenner13 Offline
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Yes, this has been discussed much on several threads. I totally agree that swell pedal is essential for good Hammond technique. I did not realize exactly how much I used it until my Yamaha FC7 (with Ashby adapter) broke at the wedding gig this weekend. This setup provided the best actual swell pedal experience on the VR09 (overdrive ramps up with volume swells, like the real thing). I've tried three other pedals and did not like the short throws and jittery performance. Fortunately I had a Behringer FCV100 backup (that also only works on this board with the Ashby inline).
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#2890245 - 11/14/17 11:10 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Adan]
Legatoboy Offline
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Originally Posted By: Adan
I've posted my opinion several times, but it's worth repeating in such a topic-specific thread. I wanted to like (and buy) the VR-09, and was willing to tolerate its shortcomings, but the lack of a true swell pedal is what made me walk away. I can't play organ using a poorly-calibrated volume pedal in place of a swell. That there are not more complaints about this from VR-09 users makes me wonder if I'm just being picky-yuny. But I don't think so!


That did s@ck quit a bit...every one of the selectable curves were bizarre ... And I had 3 Roland pedals at home including 2 from their selectable list and also the big overpriced black one that looks like it comes from the 1960's Mothra movies that you would think would be closest to a Hammond Pedal in Sweep range ...


Edited by Legatoboy (11/14/17 11:13 AM)
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#2890246 - 11/14/17 11:14 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: AnotherScott]
Stokely Offline
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Excellent info!

I have gotten compliments on the brass of all things in the VR. But I can switch and do those on the pc361 for the few songs that I'm "forced" to play brass! Strings are nice too, but only used on a couple songs.

I think if the VR700 had the midi cc it would factor in my decision. What an oversight IMO.

I've also seen nice deals on proaudiostar for the 5D as someone else mentioned.

Seeing the type of band I'm in (classic rock, uses tons of organ) combined with the fact that I think an ipad and pc361 can cover non-organ sounds...makes me lean mojo. I have no doubt I'd love either though. Now, can I sell the VR, and will my wife's kitchen remodel suck every bit of cash away like a miniature black hole....:D


Edited by Stokely (11/14/17 11:15 AM)

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#2890261 - 11/14/17 12:29 PM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Stokely]
DanL Offline
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I got a great deal on my 5D 73 as well. $1800 brand new. Shop around, deals are out there.
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#2890301 - 11/14/17 02:40 PM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: DanL]
Marillo Offline
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How do the Nord's EP's, including clav and wurli, compare to the Roland FA series? I have a VR-09 on top but need a lighter bottom board than my CP4. I play a lot of classic rock with plenty of organ/eps but need good pianos and synths too (a lot of Floyd!)

Sooo was thinking of either a FA-07 underneath with the 09 on top OR selling the 09 and getting a 5D 73 underneath and an FA-06 on top! This latter option being the more expensive.

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#2890327 - 11/14/17 05:03 PM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: Marillo]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Marillo
How do the Nord's EP's, including clav and wurli, compare to the Roland FA series?


I's subjective, and coincidentally just discussed in the thread at http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2890189

Personally I prefer the Nord's EPs (and prefer its clav for the way it plays), but not everyone agrees...
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#2890350 - 11/14/17 09:02 PM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: AnotherScott]
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I used a VR-09 on a church gig a few years back, and thought it was a capable organ/ROMpler keyboard; it was used in combination with a Kawai MP7. The VR-09 action isn't that great, but having solid front panel controls (especially pitch/mod, and the multi-purpose drawbars) plus a capable synth engine helped a lot.

I'm now considering a VR-730 for one-keyboard gigs and rehearsals, and will be moving my SK-1 into my current church gig (where there is now a broader palette of piano and synth sounds). The SK-1 is still my go-to for dedicated organ work, but on single-key jobs the lack of a viable synth engine with control features has made things dicey a few times. A Stage 3 compact would be my ideal piece to cover that; but after checking demos and specs, a VR-730 appears to be a strong contender that's significantly easier on the budget.
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#2890411 - 11/15/17 06:55 AM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: DanL]
teashea Offline
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Registered: 06/24/17
Posts: 56
Originally Posted By: DanL
I got a great deal on my 5D 73 as well. $1800 brand new. Shop around, deals are out there.


Dan - How do you like your 5D in combination with your 5D? I have a 5D and will be getting delivery of my A1 today.

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#2890482 - 11/15/17 02:34 PM Re: Nord Electro 5D vs. Roland VR-09 [Re: teashea]
FunkKeyStuff Offline
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Posts: 1870
Originally Posted By: teasha
Dan - How do you like your 5D in combination with your 5D? I have a 5D


Yo dawg, I heard you like 5D... wink
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