Roland Boutique

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by pflosi » Fri May 27, 2016 10:37 am

knolan wrote:I don't believe anyone buys a synth to noodle.
Clearly, you haven't spent time on modular fora :mrgreen: :lol:

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by knolan » Fri May 27, 2016 12:12 pm

desmond wrote:
Possibly they are also holding back the "full" voice count for a later, better product, based on the JP-8 emulation stuff, at a higher price point, or at least, think that the Boutique with 8-voices might cannabalise another product.



However, everyone in Japan *loves* small and cute, and seeing as the trendy area of EDM production seems to have moved back to using loads of small boxes rather than a DAW
Good points there Desmond. I really do hope Roland release the Boutique synth engines in better implementations. There is no denying that the TR8, Plugouts and Boutiques really do sound good. Roland have 'nailed' the underlying virtual emulation engines. I've being playing the Juno 106 for decades and know it inside out - and I have to say, the JU06 sounds nothing short of uncannily like the original. There are particular quirks (good ones :-) ) that come with a DCO-VCF combination as found on the J106 and I for one thought Roland would not be able capture those using virtual technology alone. But they did. The JU06 sounds, to my ears, essentially indistinguishable from the original.

Rather, it's the lack of controllers (and as you point out the lack of MIDI implementation control wise) that's SO frustrating - and means that many of the Juno106's unique capabilities cannot be achieved in this practical implementation. Furthermore - providing only 4 voices is just 'wrong'.

I take back what I say in the last post when I say it looks like Roland are trying to annoy (that was just me griping!). Rather - it really does seem that they are, genuinely, VERY disconnected from the likes of us - the users. They really do _never_ take on board user input, or desires, ever! Other companies, from Moog and DSI to Yamaha, warts and all, DO ultimately listen to their user base (to an extent). But Roland seem VERY disconnected and do not seem to know how to interact with today's musician desires or needs in so many of their products.

It seems that it's all insular, executive, corporate-market driven. They seem to me like the many Italian companies like GEM and others who always seemed to be one step out of sync with the user base and suffered accordingly; and I genuinely see a possibility that Roland will be gone within a few years. At least, I can't see them survive in the synthesizer market. They are too annoying to too many people, and seem to be perpetually out of touch. From the 4-octaves of the JD-AX to the Aliasing problems on the Jupiter 80, the lack of DAW connectivity of Integra-7 to the puny controls on the Boutique range; basically every product Roland releases these days has significant problems that critically inhibit them from gaining traction in the estimation of users. There are too many poor decisions in their products for it to be just 'griping' by us. The issues are real and tangible from within Roland.

They may sell bucket loads of junk today, but there's no longevity, customer loyalty, company loyalty, or vision - characteristics needed in a company banking on 'the future of music' as it's core business.

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by madtheory » Fri May 27, 2016 12:31 pm

I dunno Kevin, my local music shop (the only one in the city) does manage to sell quite a few. Especially the Yamahas because the keyboard is integrated and they're a bit more immediate. Seem to sell better than the Aira stuff. Another synth they sold a lot of was the Kronos (to wedding bands I guess). And they sold an awful lot of microKorgs! So ya, they sell buckets of junk :(

I don't see how Roland are disconnected- they've made a modular synth! But I'm with you otherwise. One of the big strengths of the JP-8 is the lovely user interface, and layers and splits. 4 voices layered is definitely luxurious and special. Whereas the current implementation is just fiddly with the tiny controls. And NO LAYERING.

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by knolan » Fri May 27, 2016 1:03 pm

I'm probably just getting old and grumpy :-)

But actually - glad to hear those are selling well. And actually - indeed - System 01M is excellent - but for one issue - no class complaint drivers - meaning that as soon as Roland stop supporting the drivers, you won't be able to connect it your computer any more. Hence - they have a limited life span (regarding Plugouts). And this is my point. MOTU deliver class complaint drivers that mean I can use 10 year old interface with a brand new one. Why isn't ARIA supported in the same way (and indeed all of Roland's devices with USB connectivity).

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by madtheory » Fri May 27, 2016 2:36 pm

Yes, this is a consistent problem with Roland and USB down through the years. VariOS, VP9000, the V-Producer system and the V-Synth. At least with V-Synth you can get around it using a PCMCIA to SD card adaptor. Otherwise, I'd just buy a VP9000 instead of gassing for a V-Synth! :)

This point has been made before, but it's worth repeating. The V-Synth GT had everything we could wish for- a great easy to use and immediate UI, a decent VA, brilliant effects, unique sampling. Not perfect, but overall a very innovative and effective instrument. Of course they didn't sell enough of them at the time, so now used prices are very very steady. Unlike, say, the Korg Wavestation, it's a synth that still has a lot of potential and will probably never sound dated.

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by knolan » Fri May 27, 2016 4:38 pm

I agree with you - I adore my V-SynthGT. An amazing synth. Could you expound a bit on that PCMCIA - SD card adaptor point you make - what's that all about??

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by madtheory » Fri May 27, 2016 4:49 pm

Instead of doing patches over USB, I would still use the Roland editor but save the files to an SD card. Similarly with audio files for the sampler. IIRC the SD card must be FAT-16 format. The other issue was loop points. If you have an audio file with the loop point set, the Roland can't read it. So you have to read the loop point manually from another sampler (like Kontakt). This suited me fine as a lot of the time I was using existing samples and porting them over to the V Synth.

SD to PCM card adaptors are around €15 on Ebay. The biggest advantage is that you can easily change banks of sounds- the internal memory on the GT is no longer a PITA.

So when Roland made one of the best synths ever with no real limits, it didn't sell very well! I think the same thing happened with the JD-800 which I think is still a very nice synth.

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by desmond » Fri May 27, 2016 7:08 pm

I also use SD cards with my XV-5080 - much less hassle than rigging up SCSI devices and so on... ;)

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by madtheory » Fri May 27, 2016 8:44 pm

Lovely synth, with accesss to all those cool Roland llibraries. Have you tried S550/ W30 era library with it? Is that even possible?

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by desmond » Fri May 27, 2016 8:50 pm

madtheory wrote:Lovely synth, with accesss to all those cool Roland llibraries. Have you tried S550/ W30 era library with it? Is that even possible?
I'm not sure it loads those libraries, and I no longer have a SCSI CD drive either - lent it to someone and never got it back. It loads the S760 era stuff I think, not the earlier generation, but I'd have to go refresh my memory on that, it's been a while! I do have the full 128MB sample ram in there.

I've loaded some Akai stuff, and have done some custom samples (which load off the SD card). One of my "one-day" things to do is to create an XV library of multi-samples from other synths and natty home keyboards to have available and to run through the engine, as well as make a custom control software environment to let me edit it with hands on controls, so I can make more use of it (it's a really good engine, but having it buried in a rack under my desk is not conducive to intense programming, which is a shame and a waste).

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by knolan » Fri May 27, 2016 11:09 pm

What's the difference (on the V-Synth GT) to using an SD Card to using a normal USB Stick?

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by madtheory » Sat May 28, 2016 12:55 pm

Oh can the GT use a USB stick? I was using the XT. It has USB so it mounts as a drive, or PCMCIA. You can't use a USB stick.

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by knolan » Sat May 28, 2016 1:24 pm

Ah - thanks! (and phew!! don't have to buy a converter).

Yep - the V-Synth GT uses USB sticks so can backup / transfer to computer that way.


But - even here - this is an example of the nonsense Roland engage I'm talking about. On all of my V-Synth GT, GAIA and Jupiter 80 - they all use USB sticks - but - incredibly - you can only save one instance of the internals of the synth, per USB stick. And that's it!

On the GAIAI - it take a whopping 64 Kilobytes - yes - that's 64 Kilobytes - to back up the GAIA - yet - you cannot buy a USB stick under about 4GB these days. But - Roland format it to store - you guessed it - 64KB ! You can't save any more on the USB stick.

So to have access to different banks of programs rapidly, I've had to buy 10 or so USB sticks! It's the same for the V-Synth GT and Jupiter 80. They each allow only one instance of their internal memory to be stored per USB stick!

The three areas where Roland are horrendous are:

1. Bug fixing and OS upgrades

2. Drivers and computer connectivity

3. Backup / storage device usage.

These are ALL relatively recent Roland issues (post XV5080). I agree with Desmond - my XV5080 uses SD cards and is excellent regarding storage. The XV5080 also has SCSI, R-Bus, S/PDIF and plenty of analogue outputs. For it's day, the XV5080 was VERY well equipped for storage, connectivity and I/O (Overall the XV5080 is still today amazing in every regard).


Whatever happened to Roland post the JD/JV/XV days and onto the Fantom/V-Synth and later days; their 'integration' of digital technology into their devices has been nothing short of pathetic. I suspect their is a division in the organisation that's just plain 'bad' in this regard!

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by ninja6485 » Sat May 28, 2016 4:01 pm

Those are all really annoying issues for sure, although it's funny: compared to my other Roland gear, the JP-08 is pretty well equipped.

The 303, 808, and 606 have ONE sync port that's not even midi, and The Juno 60 has DCB which can connect to the jsq-60, but it has to be the master clock, and only has two sync outs, so you're left trying to rig tape sync or feeding the arp a trigger. If you want the 303 to both receive sync in and send sync out, you have to pull the plug halfway out and trick the machine. I have an msq-100, which helps, but only has one sync in/out combo, so you have to be really resourceful. Basically, you can either get all of them working together in a complex network (fed by a sea of 500ma adaptors, and minus one of the sync machines), or you can record them individually. And of course the sh-101 has no midi at all, but is probably the most useful because of it's onboard sequencer that can accept a trigger from one of the midi'd drum machines. The jx-8p has midi, but no sequencer or arpeggiator, so if you want it playing along side something else, it needs to be connected to the msq, or the mc500 (the latter has no sync of course).

So for me, just having a sequencer with a simple midi in/out on something that sounds that close to a Jupiter 8 with all of the controls, that doesn't rely on another box to play in time with it's friends, is a luxury. The best by a mile though is the 909. Sync, midi, trigger out, and a small rhythm sequencer all in one! Every other piece of gear I have has a simple midi in/out/ through, and just hooks up to everything else seamlessly (aside form the Odyssey which has great cv/gate implementation). So I guess the moral of this story is this whole Roland integration problem is nothing new! :D I will say though, in the case of the Juno 106, not being able to sequence the controls via midi seems like a major difference from the original! I don't think you can do that with the original Jupiter, but I might be wrong.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: Roland Boutique

Post by madtheory » Sat May 28, 2016 4:04 pm

knolan wrote:It's the same for the V-Synth GT and Jupiter 80. They each allow only one instance of their internal memory to be stored per USB stick!
Jeez that is horrendous! On the XT, you can save as many instances as you can fit on the SD card.

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