Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Battery 3 is half price

Ends may 31st. Get Native Instrument's Drum machine sampler for 50% off.
$99 is a pretty good deal if you don't have something comparable.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

V-Synth Vs. JX8P Roland Shootout

UPDATED: I have now sold the JX-8p and re-aquired the V-synth. For purposes of production, and synthesis it is a better keyboard. Playing it is fun too. I miss being able to play the JX-8p, and its sound only a bit, but not its synthesis capabilities compared to V-synth for producing the type of music I am into nowadays.

 Images V Synth Top Gal


Who will reign supreme for the title of "Super Synth"

You might be wondering what these two have in common. They use completely different technologies, different design, and came out decades away from eachother. One would think these Roland boards would sound completely different. Theres the thing you can't forget: they are designed to do the same thing: Synthesis. But which is better?
Today we'll be testing both the V-synth and the JX-8p in a feature shootout. Instead of focusing on what makes them different, we'll be focusing on its similiar features, the OSCs & filter sections. Yes, the V-synth is a sampler, with many more features and effects, but they still decided to call it the V-Synth. In these tests we'll be having each instrument do the exact same thing, recreating the same patch. Since the JX-8p is limited in options we do have to make the V-synth work to try and sound the same. This might be futile, and completely narrowminded but lets find out which won!

The OSC Setup:

The initial OSC test was difficult to set up. I started each synthesizer on a virtually blank patch and introduced the saw waves. This was fairly easy to do with the V-Synth and JX-8p. However, to make the V-synth sound like the JX-8p we set both its virtual OSCs to +1 randomize pitch, and used the LA-SAW type. Randomize pitch was the best way to simulate the analog-ness, as detuning a virtual oscillator does not equate to "analog" as you may think. It just makes it go out of sync. Even the JX-8p is close to dead perfect in tuning. Adjusting the the relative volume of each OSC to match the other instrument's was a harder process. Set up this particular way, I tested the notes both high and low, and used chords.

In the end I couldn't tell the difference between the JX-8p and V-synth with my eyes closed! Both instrument's dry OSCs are excellent, with maybe a negligible difference in the convertors.
OSCs: Tied!!!

This was a bit more difficult. You do have to make the V-synth work a bit to get a good chorus. These are the settings I used: Chorus Effect 2, with the rate set to .40 , and full depth you get a similiar sound. It wasn't enough however. There is a huge volume boost in the JX8p and what feels like a sub OSC when the chorus is engaged. I failed to get the V-synth to get that quality, even after trying bass EQ. It comes extremely close in tone, but that extra "awwwrrorr" sound isn't there, and neither is the exciting "shine."

Don't let this persuade you from getting the V-synth. It's chorus sounds very roland-ey and I was impressed.

Chorus: JX-8p wins


The JX-8P has a smoother resonance filter that can't be beat. The V-synth actually resonates alot harder with all its digital information. The cutoffs seemed similiar, but V-synth digital filters work almost too well by design. They should try to program flaws into it or EQ changes to give it more character or refined smoothness. I know its possible, and you can definitely try more controls in the V-synth, but in the end the basic filter was the fastest. The V-synth's TB-303 filter is also good, but doesn't compare to the JX-8p for this test. Real world filters are just too smooth!

If you like hard resonance filters, the V-synth can be your board. This might be the only category in which I am willing to be biased though. I like a smoother quality.

Filter: JX-8p wins.


Okay the V-synth won this, and I'm not going to bother to explain why. The nice thing is that you can delete the factory presets.

Memory: V-synth Wins


With the PG-800, the JX-8p had a clear advantage. Its just simply faster. The V-synth has onboard OSC & envelope controls, which are highly appreciated, but to get the depth that the JX has, you must go through some menus. It would actually be interesting if they made a hardware programmer for the V-synth 3. That would be the most kickass thing ever. Roland should go back to making full hardware control on their synths. Yes the knobs could break down over time, but you could just buy another programmer if one knob went bad. The modular setup of seperate controller & keyboard is genius and Roland would be best to go back to it.

They are both fun to program and I didn't feel like the V-synth wasted my time, but if you just need to grab a particular sound without thinking, the 20+ year old synth won.

Speed: JX-8p wins


The JX-8p has a smoother aftertouch thats easily enabled with an on/off switch on top. It seems like its on slightly even when your not pressing it, and while I'm not sure thats normal, I find it cool and useful. The V-synth also has aftertouch, but they designed literally as an AFTER-touch. You have to press down in to the point of your fingers going concave.

Aftertouch: JX-8p


The JX-8p has a nicer sheen when you enable its mods & waveform sync. It has a better sounding ring modulator. The V-synth sounds perfectly fine & digital, which isn't really a downside, but the JX-8p has an extra edge. At this point I was still creating the same patches and comparing them side by side. You can hear the electrons "light up" almost when your using real components to mix the waveforms. I do believe its possible for roland to program mods and syncs that do a little something extra, but they haven't yet.

Mods: Jx-8p wins

Pitch Bender: V-synth

The pitch bender on the JX-8p felt old and plastic, like it was breakable. The V-synth was stronger in regards to its action and plastic feel. Both worked fine. Another comparison I find is Korg's pitchbender design, which feels a little sloppy and hard to control. Keyboard manufacturers go cheap on the pitchbenders I guess, but the V-synth's is clearly better in every way.

Pitch Bender: V-synth

Key Action:

The V-synth has everything you want in a synth action keyboard. Its fast and feels amazing. The JX-8p isn't bad and I know some people might like its spring feeling but its going to be a little worn after 20 years realistically. When you press the keys the V-synth and JX-8p they both make a THUD sound at similiar volumes. However there is some difference in this thud sound from the keys. The V-synth's is more bassy and feels like its vibrating the entire case and the inside electronics. Thats a little cheap. The JX-8p's is more like a higher pitch KA-CHUNK. I'm not sure which is better...maybe the JX-8p has higher quality keybed, but the thunk might interfere with hearing the high frequencies of your music. I prefer the V-synth's direct feel, but the JX-8p's worn out spring bed doesn't feel cheaply attached to the rest of the board.

Key Action: Tied

JX-8P WINS!!!!


I was told that the V-synth would a replace the JX-8p, a 20 year old keyboard. I think this is not entirely correct. If you test it blind, its really damn close, with a special "shine" on the JX. The JX-8p won the tests by a nudge.

In conclusion, it is possible to program similiar patches and at times I couldn't tell the difference. Going with the JX-8p your trading away extra OSCs and better memory to gain a slightly more special sound and better programming speed. If you want a straight out synth the JX-8p is still a killer and does its job a little better. The V-synth also sounds very Rolandey, and you must keep in mind that without hearing both side by side, I might not care at all!!

They both are winners. The JX-8p would keep the "super synth" title by a nudge. If you like variety and want harder filters get the V-synth. I'm keeping V-synth because I love its sampler.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Propellerhead Releases Record Software

"We figured it was time that someone took a fresh look at recording from a musician's perspective. Not needing to bolt music features onto an aging audio application, we truly started from scratch with full knowledge of today's computer architectures and capabilities. Record is the result," says Ernst Nathorst-Böös, CEO. "In short we wanted to do what we've always done — help people make more and better music."

 Productimages Propellerhead-Reinvents-Recording-Music-With-Record Large-Recordsequencer
 Productimages Propellerhead-Reinvents-Recording-Music-With-Record Large-Recordmixingconsole
 Productimages Propellerhead-Reinvents-Recording-Music-With-Record Large-Recordrack

It looks like Record is a seperate app from Reason, but contains some of the same modules, like the RV7000. Mixer section looks improved. Something cool is that it contains Guitar FX from Line6, so people will be already familiar with it. Other modules are all designed to aid in the recording process.

I would like to review this and compare it to the Reason sequencer, which could sometimes be confusing. The price seems right at $299.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Korg MS-10, Vintage Analogue Synth

 Albums Qq143 Bloater Korg3-1

 Albums Qq143 Bloater Korg1-1

 Albums Qq143 Bloater Korg11-1

KORG MS-10... a classic, rare monophonic synth. SWEET! Excellent condition: everything works, everything is intact, no noisy pots, all keys operate smoothly. No operational issues. A few trivial scratches in the paint, which all seem to be on the back side (see pics). Still has a two prong plug.
Harmony Central Link

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Billy Mays repeatedly gets high

Billy may's voice is the new 909 Kick Drum. Perhaps they need to manufacture a special drum machine with his samples.

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You saw the Juno Tabletop? Have a MicroKorg.

 Fotos Mkorg-Mod7

 Fotos Mkorg-Mod6

Kinda cool if you need to save the space! The microkorg tabletop mod. I'd like someone to create a mega module which fits multiple modern synths into one unit with filters, effects, and other routing options. They must have Slap Chopped it.

John Bowen Solaris: LCD No Overdose

6 LCDs, One Keyboard :)