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#2921335 - 04/13/18 07:47 PM Rack mount synths--Roland...other?
GRollins Offline
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As those who have read my Behringer D thread know, I've been having a lot of fun playing mix and match with keyboards and sound engines of one sort or another. At present I have:

Yamaha XS rack
Moog Voyager RME
and, of course, the infamous Behringer D

I'm real happy with the sounds I have on hand; don't really feel that I'm lacking anything substantive...and that's a pretty good space to be in.

However, I wouldn't say no to some of the other hardware out there if I managed to run across something cheap enough. I've been watching the synths on eBay with an eye towards picking up something that would bolster my main rig or replace my humble little Yamaha PSR-200 that I keep upstairs for noodling quick ideas.

So...

I noticed that there are scads of Roland rack mount sound engines and I started trying to make sense of it all and fell down a rabbit hole. According to Roland's list of their synths they've produced something on the order of two dozen non-keyboard synths over the years. Jeez.

So, my question is...what is the go-to Roland rack mount?

I'm not looking to reproduce the sounds of the '80s or '90s or whatever. Something reasonably modern, reliable, and with a decent user interface. This is just homework, so that I can rank Roland's product line, figure out something that might be fun, then go into lurker mode, waiting to see if one comes up cheap. I'm not in a hurry--don't have to be, because I'm pretty content with everything but the PSR-200, and even it has the saving grace of being a one-button-and-you're-playing kind of keyboard. As rinky-tink as it sounds, that's a good trait to have when I'm trying to get down an idea.

I'm also open to suggestions for other rack mount units. I believe that Dave Smith has some, for instance, but not being particularly drawn to their house sound, a DSI rack unit would have to be dirt cheap before I'd shell out for one.

No, I don't think I want to go modular. I toyed with the idea for a while while I was in the beginning stages of formulating my "deep oscillator" ideas, but I've realized two things. One: To get all the pieces-parts would be really expensive and bulky, and Two: I need to play rather than mess with hardware all day. Yes, twiddling knobs is fun, but it's not productive. I've got so little time to play music that I begrudge every minute that I spend trying to get a sound. So, sadly, modular is out.

Grey
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#2921337 - 04/13/18 08:12 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: GRollins]
AnotherScott Offline
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If you're looking for a real synth synth (as opposed to more of a rompler) rack piece, I think the only Roland of interest in the last 25 years is the V-synth XT, which is a very cool box, The most complete Roland library is in the Integra 7, I'd say nothing else is remotely modern, to the extent that that matters. Neither of those are likely to be found especially cheaply, though.
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#2921341 - 04/13/18 08:44 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: AnotherScott]
Quai34 Offline
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Go to the Nord Forum, there is just a post with the same question and a lot has been discussed about Roland rack synth, JV versus XV etc....
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#2921346 - 04/13/18 09:34 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Quai34]
J. Dan Online   content
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Find ways to rack mount tabletop synths. Fabrication is your friend. Talk to Davenport (Escaperocks) and Moe (matestubb). David I almost autocorrected your name to ExcapeRocks, which is how it is generally pronounced around here. That would actually probably earn you so, cool points.
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#2921364 - 04/14/18 04:33 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: J. Dan]
Losendoskeys Offline
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I've used the Fantom XR exclusively for over 10 years.
It is great for sampling and ROMpling, totally recommended.
I added the Ultimate Keys which covers all the vintage stuff I want. Great synth sounds and effects.
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#2921406 - 04/14/18 08:39 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Losendoskeys]
harmonizer Offline
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The name of the "Ultimate Keys" card (a.k.a. SRX-07) can make some think it contains an upgraded acoustic piano sound (it doesn't). But what it does contain is lots of very useful sounds. I have an XV-5050 with the SRX-07 card, and I probably use more sounds from the SRX-07 card than I do from the base sounds in the XV.

The SRX-07 card can be added in any of the Roland XV or Fantom devices. I believe the latest Roland module (Integra) comes with the SRX-07 sounds at no extra cost (either built-in or free download, not sure which).

On the downside, Roland does not produce drivers to let the XV connect even to Windows 7. There is a workaround I use with Windows 7, which I have heard also works with Windows 8. The other downside is that the organ sounds in the XV are particularly weak, so much so that I bought a Nord Electro to supplement my XV.

The XV and Fantom are both old products. The Roland Integra 7 would be a much more capable product, but with all the same assets as its older predecessors.

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#2921423 - 04/14/18 10:57 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: AnotherScott]
hardware Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
If you're looking for a real synth synth (as opposed to more of a rompler) rack piece, I think the only Roland of interest in the last 25 years is the V-synth XT, which is a very cool box, The most complete Roland library is in the Integra 7, I'd say nothing else is remotely modern, to the extent that that matters. Neither of those are likely to be found especially cheaply, though.


Used they hold their value too.
Great sounding synth rack.
Im on a short list for a 1U Solaris.
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#2921426 - 04/14/18 11:23 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: hardware]
ProfD Offline
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Another vote for the Fantom XR here. Full range of sounds and features in a 1U box different from the Motif XS rack. cool
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#2921436 - 04/14/18 12:55 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: hardware]
davedoerfler Offline
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Originally Posted By: hardware
Im on a short list for a 1U Solaris.

for real?
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#2921442 - 04/14/18 02:24 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: davedoerfler]
Bill H. Offline
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The problem with Roland modules (and I've been through a lot of them from the D-110 on up) is that the hardware doesn't age well as they get older. Balky buttons and dim displays are commonplace.

At this point, the only Roland module I'd be interested in is the Integra-7, but they're not cheap which perhaps defeats your purpose. Anything else... check out in person to make sure it's functional.

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#2921443 - 04/14/18 02:55 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: hardware]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: hardware

Im on a short list for a 1U Solaris.


thu

I contacted Holger D. @S|C after John B. advised me to do.
Hell keep me informed.
Depending on the remote editor software offered, Ill buy one too.

A.C.

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#2921447 - 04/14/18 03:09 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Bill H.]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill H.

... Roland modules ... Balky buttons and dim displays are commonplace.


Who cares ?
At that time Roland as also Yamaha used OMRON tact switches which are robust, cheap and easily available at Mouser and/or Digikey.
Throw em in and the unit works like new.
The only Roland rack unit I had to replace tact switches was the D550.
When I sold the 1984 MKS80rev4 in 2012,- all the haptics worked even I toured w/ it,- and I was a heavy smoker for decades too.
Same ruled for the MKS70 I sold later.
My D-110 is like new condition and the U220, even looking somewhat beaten up, works like it should.
For most displays a piece of backlight foil is the solution.

A.C.

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#2921449 - 04/14/18 03:56 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Al Coda]
Moonglow Offline
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If you consider expanding your search beyond Roland, Im a fan of the Korg TR-Rack which was based on the Trinity series. I like it even better than the Triton-Rack. I bet one could be had for around 250-300 bucks.
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#2921451 - 04/14/18 04:42 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Moonglow]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: Moonglow
If you consider expanding your search beyond Roland, Im a fan of the Korg TR-Rack which was based on the Trinity series. I like it even better than the Triton-Rack. I bet one could be had for around 250-300 bucks.


OTOH, the best of the Trinity series isnt available for the TR-rack ...
The "solo" board and/or the (6-voice) Z-1 soundengine board expansions.
AFAIK, these became famous later under the name M.O.S.S. and were also the core of the famous "Prophecy" synth.

So, when I bought some KORG synth "from the past" today, that would be a Z-1 or Triton Extreme w/ MOSS-board built in and even its not a rackmount unit.

A.C.

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#2921455 - 04/14/18 05:00 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Moonglow]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Moonglow
If you consider expanding your search beyond Roland, Im a fan of the Korg TR-Rack

Nice piece, but still basically a 1998 rompler. Some of the Roland suggestions here have been comparable. Nothing wrong with them, they are still very useful, but we're getting pretty far from the OP request of "reasonably modern."
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#2921460 - 04/14/18 06:30 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Al Coda]
Moonglow Offline
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Originally Posted By: Al Coda
OTOH, the best of the Trinity series isnt available for the TR-rack ...
The "solo" board and/or the (6-voice) Z-1 soundengine board expansions...

Yeah that Solo board was pretty cool, and not available for the TR-Rack. The TR-Rack did have two additional banks of Combi programs, but the Trinity-Plus (which featured the Solo section) did not.
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#2921462 - 04/14/18 06:35 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Moonglow]
burningbusch Offline
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Another nice one from the past is the Kurzweil PC2R w/orchestral expansion. I picked up one when they were closing them out cheap, sold it, but would have like to have it back. They are harder to find than the Roland pieces though.

Busch.

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#2921463 - 04/14/18 06:37 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: AnotherScott]
Moonglow Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Originally Posted By: Moonglow
If you consider expanding your search beyond Roland, Im a fan of the Korg TR-Rack

Nice piece, but still basically a 1998 rompler. Some of the Roland suggestions here have been comparable. Nothing wrong with them, they are still very useful, but we're getting pretty far from the OP request of "reasonably modern."

Certainly. The challenge here is trying to balance reasonably modern, decent user interface, reliable, and cheap.
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#2921467 - 04/14/18 07:24 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Moonglow]
GRollins Offline
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Posts: 1203
Guys, I'd like to thank everyone for their input so far, but I went and started this thread last night, then had to travel out of town today. I'm back, but I'm bushed--don't have the energy to give this thread the attention it deserves at the moment. I'll try to get back with you guys after I've had some shut-eye.

In the meantime, keep the ideas coming.

Quick notes:
AnotherScott,
I'm actually open to either pure synths or romplers. Of the two, I'd probably say that I lean towards romplers, but it's not that big a bias...maybe 60/40 for something that has a button that gets me to a sound quickly. That, of course, presumes that the sounds are happy-making, but that's a subjective thing.

Quai34,
I'll try to take a look at that thread.

J. Dan,
For the time being, I've got my D on top of a rack, but I've got my eye out for a Euro rack/19" rack unit (cheap) so I can rack the booger. Once I get that going, then I'll have some leftover space in that unit and can add more. Non-19" and non-Euro stuff? That can get annoying. I've got a full woodworking shop, but am not set up to do much with metal. Drill presses are the same for metal or wood, but metal on a table saw is a messy, noisy, dangerous proposition. Ditto surface planers, jointer planers, etc. That said, I'm open to specific suggestions for units to listen to via my friendly local YouTube.

Losendoskeys,
Yeah, the Fantom XR was kinda on my radar as a possibility. With the caveat that I know little about the Rolands (not having done my homework on them the way I did with Yamaha and Korg [and don't claim to be an expert on those, either]), I have picked up the possibly unfounded notion that the Fantom was the last "good" Roland board. Can someone confirm or deny this [foolish?] idea?

harmonizer,
You bring up a troubling issue: Add-in cards. I don't know what units take cards, what cards are good/bad, etc. It's a whole 'nother realm of research that I'm not sure how to approach. I'm open to further discussion.

Moonglow,
I've got a Kronos X. Is it duplication to get a Korg rack unit, or do they have different voices?

And with that, I'm officially kaput. Back later.

Grey
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#2921475 - 04/14/18 08:05 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: GRollins]
Bill H. Offline
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Originally Posted By: GRollins
Losendoskeys,Yeah, the Fantom XR was kinda on my radar as a possibility. X


If you go this route (and as others have suggested) look for one with SRX-07 onboard. That makes all the difference in the world, and was a common pairing.

A Fantom XR is not a bad way to go at their current going price if it works. I just did a quick search. They're getting really cheap.

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#2921478 - 04/14/18 08:40 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Bill H.]
Synthaholic Offline
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Not fairly modern, but I always want to throw the Alesis QSR into the mix. Sounds great, less filling.
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#2921524 - 04/15/18 08:51 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Synthaholic]
GRollins Offline
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Took a moment to cruise Reverb and eBay. Looks like the Roland V-Synth and Integra-7 rack units go for $900 and up. Not a budget item. Looked at the XR. Maybe $3-400, plus another $2-250 for the SRX-07 card...at which point you're not too far below the price of the V-Synth or Integra-7. No XRs available either site (unless you want one bundled with a MOTU). A few V-Synths and Integra-7s.

Haven't taken time to look at the other things people have suggested, nor have I tracked down the thread someone suggested above.

At some point I suppose I'll need to try YouTube to find demos of the units to see what sounds they're packing, but that'll have to wait until at least this evening. It would be nice if Roland (and other companies as well) would post a simple run-through of the sounds in a given unit. Not glamorous, but effective. The demos available are often pretty random; almost never complete.

Grey
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#2921543 - 04/15/18 09:55 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Synthaholic]
Moonglow Offline
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Originally Posted By: Synthaholic
Not fairly modern, but I always want to throw the Alesis QSR into the mix. Sounds great, less filling.

+1

Really dig a lot of the programs in this thing, especially those crafted by our very own, dB. While it does not satisfy all of your criteria, the QS-R might be a relatively economical way to add a new category of quality sounds to your palette.
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#2921617 - 04/15/18 07:59 PM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Moonglow]
newkeys Offline
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If you end up looking at the older Roland rompler modules (1080, 2080, jd990, etc) to save money, be aware that any optional expansion boards added to them are subject to capacitor leakage and possible fire.

This is re the sr-jv80 series of boards, *not* the srx.

Some of the sr-jv80 boards are still beloved, such as Vintage Synth and Keyboards of 60s/70s.

Some people have replaced the problem capacitor; Rolands recommendation is dont use any of those boards any more. My Vintage Synth board is okay but this apparently isnt an if problem, its when.

Lots of info here:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electron...nsion-card.html


Edited by newkeys (04/15/18 08:00 PM)
Edit Reason: details

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#2921632 - 04/16/18 12:23 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Bill H.]
Losendoskeys Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill H.
The problem with Roland modules (and I've been through a lot of them from the D-110 on up) is that the hardware doesn't age well as they get older. Balky buttons and dim displays are commonplace.

At this point, the only Roland module I'd be interested in is the Integra-7, but they're not cheap which perhaps defeats your purpose. Anything else... check out in person to make sure it's functional.


I've got two and both are absolutely like new - maybe people are too heavy with their fingers on the buttons wink

Can't speak for if the Fantom was the last best board from Roland as I have been happy with mine every since!
And I keep buying XP30's.......... like


Edited by Losendoskeys (04/16/18 12:23 AM)
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#2921633 - 04/16/18 12:34 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: Losendoskeys]
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Honestly, speaking specifically 80s/90s, I used a Roland sound canvas - first an SC55 then an SC88. Basically a GS (Roland's expansion of GM) module but with extensive midi imolementation, I used one all the way into the early 2000's and nailed most of the sounds that didn't require a specific sample or something like hard sync or PWM, which I used my Jupiter 6 for (not samples). Very versatile if you're willing to deep dive into midi programming,l. Horrible for any on the fly adjustment. I'll look for old mp3s to post.
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#2921642 - 04/16/18 06:18 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: J. Dan]
GRollins Offline
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Oi! Methinks the gods are pissed at me for starting this thread.
First the out of town thing, then, just when I'm on the verge of getting back under control, we have a frog-strangler storm w/mucho wind and lose both power and internet for most of yesterday. For some reason the internet is not fully back--I can get to some sites, but not others. Go figure.

Today's going to be busy so I'm not likely to get back until this evening, but I will drop in one maintenance-related note. A lot of companies will put a cap in a circuit that's not got a sufficiently high voltage rating. For instance, if you run a 10V part at 10V, then there's no leeway if the part experiences a voltage surge; running a part at 100% of its rating isn't a good idea, anyway. It's better to use a higher rated (e.g. 16V) part, but then the part costs more and is physically larger.

Cable modems frequently do this. Ever notice how often they have to be replaced? Ofttimes it's the caps being run too close to spec. They give you one for free, knowing that it will die in a year or two, then charge you for the replacement. Sneaky tactic.

Could someone with experience with the Integra-7, V-Synth, and XR give me a quick contrast and compare of the three? My planned YouTube extravaganza last night fell through because of the aforementioned weather crisis. I was literally putting buckets under the eaves to catch rain water for sponge baths (we're on a well, no power = no water). Pretty fucked up evening.

Yes, I'm more-or-less concentrating on Roland, but still open to other brands and models. Honestly, there's a decent chance that I'll end up getting a Roland something-or-other and another doo-dad later on. Since I can use the Edirol to switch from one to the next, might as well fill some slots, you know...only three filled--five open for business. I'd probably even take a DSI if it was cheap enough.

Grey
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#2921670 - 04/16/18 08:28 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: GRollins]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: GRollins
Could someone with experience with the Integra-7, V-Synth, and XR give me a quick contrast and compare of the three?


* Fantom XR = 2004 rompler. 128 mb of wave data (which I think *might* consist of the 64 mb of the XV-5080 plus a newer 64 mb, maybe someone can confirm?). The last of their straight rack romplers. Holds a bunch of SRX cards, though that can get pricey. Probably the best rack source of the Roland sound library short of the Integra. Can also work with custom samples (though they can take forever to load). IIRC, it has 3 insert effects that can be used simultaneously on a patch, which would differentiate it from the XV-5080 (and Integra) which can only use a single insert effect on a single sound (though you can still layer multiple sounds that each have their own effects).

* V-Synth XT = 2006 synth. The last of their straight rack synths, and arguably the most interesting non-analog synth Roland ever made. "Elastic Audio Synthesis." Also includes VA synth modeling, D50 emulation, vocal modeling, processing of live and sampled audio input, COSM effects... definitely not a "me too" product, a one-of-a-kind. But not the source for the classic library of Roland rompler sounds.

* Integra 7 = rompler + SuperNatural VA synth + Roland's most complete library of modeled (or semi-modeled) SuperNatural acoustic sounds + clonewheel (merely adequate). The rompler includes the 64 mb wav set of the XV-5080, plus all the ones from the 12 main SRX cards (up to 4 sets can be loaded at once), plus new 256 (?) mb library of new high quality PCM sounds (can' be used simultaneously with the SRX sounds). Also a surround sound audio processor to use with a DAW. The most extensive library of Roland sounds in a rack. That said, it's not complete. There are numerous Fantom and other sounds that did not make it into this collection (and it does not include anything like the V-Synth synthesis, D50 emulation, vocal processing, etc.). And getting back to effects, the 5080 and XR have 3 insert fx total, the Integra has 16 (so you can split, layer, or multi-timbally drive up to 16 sounds, each with its own effects).

I think that's right, and those are the high points that come to mind.
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#2921698 - 04/16/18 09:59 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: AnotherScott]
GRollins Offline
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Thanks,
Let me see if I'm getting this straight:

So there's no overlap between the Integra-7 and V-Synth? If you want whatever they've got, you need to buy both? (and a bigger rack...)

How much overlap is there between the XR and the Integra-7...a little, most, all?

Grey
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#2921723 - 04/16/18 11:48 AM Re: Rack mount synths--Roland...other? [Re: GRollins]
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 12977
Originally Posted By: GRollins
So there's no overlap between the Integra-7 and V-Synth? If you want whatever they've got, you need to buy both? (and a bigger rack...)

They both have a VA synth, so I wouldn't say no overlap. (I can't tell you how similar or different the two VA synths are, though.) But the VA synth is only a small part of the V-Synth, and it's also only a small part of the Integra.

Even buying the two won't get you whatever they've got, Roland's got a lot of stuff! But of their rack units, Integra gets you their best acoustic instrument emulations, V-Synth gets you their best "true synthesizer." They may both be from Roland, but they are about as different from each other as your Yamaha and your Moog. If you want the "classic Roland" rompler sounds, get the Integra. If you want their most interesting synth and want to make your own sounds, get the V-Synth.

Originally Posted By: GRollins
How much overlap is there between the XR and the Integra-7...a little, most, all?

As I said, I think both include the XV-5080 sound set... that would make up about half the XR, and a small fraction of what's in the Integra. So very broadly speaking, I guess you could say an Integra has about half of what's in an XR, and an XR has a much smaller amount of what's in an Integra. The part they share is, on one hand, a lot of what are really classic Roland sounds, but on the other hand, are also the parts that are going on 20 years old.
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