Roland RS-505

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syntheticsolutions
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Roland RS-505

Post by syntheticsolutions » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:16 pm

So I just scored myself a Roland Paraphonic RS-505 :D

She is expected for delivery on Tuesday.
Does anyone have any experience or opinions to shed on this synth?
I have the Opus 3, which I love, and think the 505 will really excel at that classic 70's string sound more so than the Opus.

Most demo's on the net seem to lack the depth and variation needed to show off this classic instrument. I am also looking forward to using the ensemble's external in to process other sounds, has anyone on here tried this?
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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by antilles » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:32 pm

An amazing synth. One of my favorite stringers. Far better than the Opus 3, I think. And the ensemble is brilliant. I don't have one myself, but a friend of mine has one. It's on top 5 of my wish list.

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by Bitexion » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:42 pm

Demos on youtube also suffer from bad compression, so the sound quality is never as good as the actual instrument through your own speakers.

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by Z » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:52 pm

A little late to be asking opinions on an instrument you've already purchased, hmm?

Guess you didn't like the 2 RS-505 videos I made back in 2008, either? I was using the stereo mic input of a JVC HD-7, but what I didn't know is that the camera has an audio auto gain feature that increases the gain when the signal is low, thus producing more background noise. Despite the noise and my lack of editing skills, I think the main video is pretty good and gets a lot of positive comments and "thumbs up".

[youtube][/youtube]
[youtube][/youtube]

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by syntheticsolutions » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:04 pm

Z wrote:A little late to be asking opinions on an instrument you've already purchased, hmm?
I mean, I know it is going to be an amazing instrument, I just wondered what other people's views and experiences were on the keyboard. I have learned to trust the quality of late 70's / 80's synths from Roland. Their string synth offerings combined with a quad SAD512 ensemble can only result in great things
Z wrote:Guess you didn't like the 2 RS-505 videos I made back in 2008, either?
The demo's are cool, I just think the sound engine could be explored a little more. The extensive chords can be a bit overwhelming especially with the inherent compression thanks to youtube. I would love to hear some arpeggiated kind of rhythms and softer strings from the 505. Please don't take offence, It is all down to subjective taste.
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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by Z » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:47 pm

syntheticsolutions wrote: I would love to hear some arpeggiated kind of rhythms and softer strings from the 505. Please don't take offence, It is all down to subjective taste.
String synths do not do arpeggiations very well. Although you can adjust the attack and release times to pretty much instant on and off, it is most common to play stringers with long attacks and releases.

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by bhrama » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:57 pm

Let me just say that it is waaaaay more than a simple stringer, sort of 3-in-1 board really (synth, string, bass). The secret weapon IMO is the bass section, deep stuff there. Quad-BBD ensemble makes is sound rich and alive. Plus you can run other gear through that ensemble making it even more useful. Only con I can come up with is if found it having a tendency to be mix-heavy, in that if not careful it would dominate your song if not properly balanced. One of my all time favorite synths....wish I never sold mine, only a regret on equipment I have TBH.

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by Ned Bouhalassa » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:10 pm

I have had one for a little while now. A few observations (some already mentioned here):

- yes, the Ensemble section is gorgeous and it's easy and great to run external audio through it.

- there's a big drop in dB when you put the Bass and Synth sections through the Ensemble (the Strings are always going through the FX), but dry, these sound fat as can be.

- only the Synth section goes through the filter (LPF, with Res) and the ADSR Env. So the Bass and the Strings sections are limited in terms of colour and amplitude shape.

- the keyboard is very, very solid - you can really go at it and not be worried that you'll break something!

- it's a real blast to play chords with as many notes as you can reach with such an analog sounding instrument.

- since you can't CV in, it's a real player's instrument, and it can be a bit frustrating that you can't program some stuff and use your hands to manipulate the filter and LFO simultaneously.

- too bad the LFO is not slower, as it would be great to use it for long FrCtf sweeps.

- it's a lot like a JP4 on the inside, as it's from the same period.

Coincidentally, I wrote this with it exclusively a couple of days ago:



https://soundcloud.com/ned-bouhalassa/a ... -the-giant
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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by analoglsd » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:37 am

Great track!

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by phesago » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:58 am

analoglsd wrote:Great track!
agreed.

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by garranimal » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:07 pm

Studying stringers has been a deep passion for me the past few years. Especially BBD ensemble synths. The quad-bbd ensemble circuit board on the RS-505 is the exact same one used in the VP-330. The result is a proper stereo output for great psycho-acoustic effect. You don't find this on many other stringers I have found, most of which are simply mono output. IMHO the wonderful ensemble has absolutely nothing to do with the fact the chips used are SAD512. The same architecture could theoretically be replicated with any other four bbd chips of the same stage-count, or even successfully modeled using DSP although this process is very power-hungry. The real mojo of the ensemble is in the modulated delay formula. How Roland formulated this mojo delay formula is far beyond my comprehension. I have also experimented with adding more delay lines in DSP in an attempt to further thicken this effect, but have discovered no real benefit in doing so. The triple-bbd of the Solina, Opus 3, String Melody II, etc are satisfying but the quad-bbd is the optimized ideal delay line ensemble IMHO.

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by syntheticsolutions » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:34 pm

garranimal wrote:Studying stringers has been a deep passion for me the past few years. Especially BBD ensemble synths. The quad-bbd ensemble circuit board on the RS-505 is the exact same one used in the VP-330. The result is a proper stereo output for great psycho-acoustic effect. You don't find this on many other stringers I have found, most of which are simply mono output. IMHO the wonderful ensemble has absolutely nothing to do with the fact the chips used are SAD512. The same architecture could theoretically be replicated with any other four bbd chips of the same stage-count, or even successfully modeled using DSP although this process is very power-hungry. The real mojo of the ensemble is in the modulated delay formula. How Roland formulated this mojo delay formula is far beyond my comprehension. I have also experimented with adding more delay lines in DSP in an attempt to further thicken this effect, but have discovered no real benefit in doing so. The triple-bbd of the Solina, Opus 3, String Melody II, etc are satisfying but the quad-bbd is the optimized ideal delay line ensemble IMHO.
I am fascinated by the enhancement of the psycho-acostic stereo image. I recently got the Roland SBF-325 stereo Flanger and the imaging produced is incredible.

I can also say the same for the Opus 3 ensemble, however, only 2/3 of the chips are working in mine and the whole chorus board needs re-capping so it isn't quite as desirable as it once was. The whole string section also suffers from a certain lack of tone and presence, I am not sure if this is down to needing a recap also or maybe it is due to the lack of a 3rd chip in the chorus circuit.

Anyhow, getting back on subject, I have heard fantastic things about the 505's ensemble and string engine. I would also love to get my hands on the VP-330, however I think the 505 is certainly more value for money and can easily compete in the string section. Obviously you lack the vocoder but the 505 seems somewhat undiscovered in relation to the VP-330, or at least it was to me.

The courier has been booked and delivery is expected on Tuesday :D Super Excited
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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by bhrama » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:52 pm

syntheticsolutions wrote: Anyhow, getting back on subject, I have heard fantastic things about the 505's ensemble and string engine. I would also love to get my hands on the VP-330, however I think the 505 is certainly more value for money and can easily compete in the string section. Obviously you lack the vocoder but the 505 seems somewhat undiscovered in relation to the VP-330, or at least it was to me.

The courier has been booked and delivery is expected on Tuesday :D Super Excited
The VP-330 also has a unique choral section, which Garren can expand upon hopefully, making it a much different synth from the RS-505. I've been told the strings are similar, but have yet to land a VP-330 to compare personally. In a perfect world you could have both! 8-)

Congrats on the RS-505, you won't be disappointed.

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by garranimal » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:26 am

syntheticsolutions wrote: I can also say the same for the Opus 3 ensemble, however, only 2/3 of the chips are working in mine and the whole chorus board needs re-capping so it isn't quite as desirable as it once was. The whole string section also suffers from a certain lack of tone and presence, I am not sure if this is down to needing a recap also or maybe it is due to the lack of a 3rd chip in the chorus circuit.
The BBD chip is a possible point of failure and replacing any bad ones will definitely put the sound back in good order. I had two bad TCA350y chips when I got my String Melody II so I replaced all three with TCA350z chips.
bhrama wrote: The VP-330 also has a unique choral section, which Garren can expand upon hopefully, making it a much different synth from the RS-505. I've been told the strings are similar, but have yet to land a VP-330 to compare personally. In a perfect world you could have both! 8-)
The functionality of the Strings on the VP-330 are stripped down. You get only basic controls for toggling on/off the strings for the upper and lower halves of the keyboard plus envelope attack release. The strings sound uses a basic sawtooth wave going through a lowpass filter. The filter cutoff can be attenuated using the 'tone' control. The RS-505 has a finer degree of control allowing to mix between 4' and 8' for both the upper and lower. Add to that the synthesizer and bass sections plus varying amounts of ensemble. As bhrama said before, the RS-505 then becomes much more than a simple stringer.

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Re: Roland RS-505

Post by syntheticsolutions » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:19 am

garranimal wrote:
The BBD chip is a possible point of failure and replacing any bad ones will definitely put the sound back in good order. I had two bad TCA350y chips when I got my String Melody II so I replaced all three with TCA350z chips.
I have been searching for the dead chips (originally only 1/3 was functional) for just over 2 years now. In that time, I have managed to find one in an old chorus pedal that cost around £40. I am yet to find another one for less that £70+. I do not think there are any alternative chips that could be used in the Opus' chorus section. The BBD chips used are the SAD512D (8 pin) and seem incredibly hard to find. A tech in London suggested ripping out the old chorus board and fitting an entirely new one based on the popular Juno chorus using MN3009's and MN3101's. He did say that mapping the new chorus to the set controls on the Opus' faceplate could be difficult/impossible.

This did not fill me with confidence :lol:
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