Roland’s epic V-Synth – one of the releases that defined 21st Century Roland – is now twenty years old. Paulee Alex Bow is here to take us on their Magical Synth Adventure in a gripping video. It might even win over V-Synth naysayers, and it’ll certainly please fans and bring the rest of us up to speed.
There’s some hilariously good demo footage edited here. Paulee you’ll recall already introduced us to the wonders of Commodore Amiga synths; we get that same approach here with hands-on V-Synth action. And if you do have access to the original instrument, there are some free patch downloads for you, too.
If that isn’t enough Sounds of V-Synth for you, there are even more where that came from.
So, Bad Gear argues this is cheesy “uncanny valley” stuff but ultimately gets won over by how it sounds. And sure, it’s an “awkard” instrument, but Bad Gear also gets some amazing sounds out of it. I mean, yeah, he leans into the cheese factor, but this is some awesome “nachos dripping with cheese” vibe, on the preset side.
It’s also worth noting that you can do some weird and interesting things with vocals with this range:
I should also mention the V-Synth owes its branding at least to the V-Guitar System – think the VG-8. The product itself Roland positioned as a successor to synths like the JD-800 – the one with all the faders and its own hybrid layered architecture for producing sounds. (The latter instrument got a nice history recently; Eric Pershing’s impact on the sound design for the JD-800/900 is well known, but that article also tells the less-heralded impact of the Japanese team and how the Japan-California conneciton worked.)
Also, speaking of things starting with “V-” – V-Synth also supported V-LINK, Roland’s audiovisual integration schema of the era that worked with then-Edirol products like the V-4 mixer and (externally developed) motion dive .tokyo. They were demoing the V-Synth with those capabilities, though I can’t find any videos online. (Uh, big in Japan, maybe?) V-LINK grew into the MIDI Video Control spec with a larger roster of instruments.
So, sure, the V-Synth GT for instance has its detractors – uh, I guess there are some tweaks you have to do to get the delay running properly with external sync on the GT variant. But it’s hard not to be enchanted by some of the sounds when people get creative with it.
Richard Barbieri still uses one. (thanks Paulee for the spot on that, too!)
And someone likes these, as they’re holding their value, as you can see on Reverb:
If you buy something from a CDM link, we may earn a commission. Also if you buy a lot of them you could potentially make Peter do something stupid like buy a V-Synth.
I am alarmed that instruments that are roughly the age of CDM now qualify as vintage. But I don’t think we’re done with the 20th anniversary year of V-Synth yet. (Sorry, that sounded vaguely threatening.) There was an official V-Synth book … the story of the prototype … and more.
Oh yeah, and if you want more vintage Roland – the highs, the lows, in obsessive detail – check out the hardcover edition for Bjooks I contributed to:
You may notice I now will start sweating and my pupils dilate if you mention 90s Roland model numbers.