Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
knolan
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:42 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by knolan » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:32 pm

I've had a GAIA for a while without using it at all; but am incorporating it into a new setup. I like it, but as said don't know it too well yet. It seems to have buckets of potential, flexibility and capability - 3 distinct layers per program and 64 voice polyphony, great user control and D-beam for unique mod control. A descent sound and looks bright, colourful and overall 'optimistic'. I'm looking forward to using it - I suspect it'll become a bit of a work-horse.

While I don't know how well it has sold or how well it's regarded particularly among synthesists, it certainly never seems to grab the headlines and I suspect serious synthesist look down their noses a bit at it(?)

Anyway, without getting heated about it, I'd be interested in peoples opinions on it. Do you own it and if so what do you think of it? If you didn't buy it but considered it- why didn't you buy it?

As said - good insights without over heated debate / comments would be appreciated (accepting fully that I've thrown in my own fair share of over-heated comments on occasion in the past - we're a passionate bunch :-) ).

Thanks,
Kevin.

commodorejohn
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:39 am
Real name: John
Gear: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, Oberheim SEM
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by commodorejohn » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:36 pm

I tried one out, and it sounded like water that's been left in a plastic bottle in the sun until the plastic starts to dissolve into the water tastes, so I didn't buy it. Bleargh. It's kind of the evil twin of the D-50 in that both of them (minus the ROMpler side) are quasi-"analog" subtractive synths that don't actually sound a thing like real analog, but where the D-50 is lush and strange and spacey and wonderful, the Gaia is gross and static and plastic.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73

User avatar
zmd
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:32 am
Gear: ion, djx, su200, fb01, sk50d, dotcom, kodyssey, volcas, minibrute, minilogue, tg33, 522, streichfett, monotrons, cp35
Band: Shrimp ring/usse/wrote/usurper
Location: saint john NB canada
Contact:

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by zmd » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:01 am

I'm ok with mine, for va's, I prefer the ion. Reason being, the gaia always seems to be a bit polished as opposed to raw
that's not dirt, that's chili sauce!

squatski
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:53 pm

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by squatski » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:43 am

I don't even know how to pronounce it!

commodorejohn
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:39 am
Real name: John
Gear: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, Oberheim SEM
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by commodorejohn » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:52 am

squatski wrote:I don't even know how to pronounce it!
"Hgahyah sha'zerowan."
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73

knolan
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:42 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by knolan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:55 am

squatski wrote:I don't even know how to pronounce it!

Guy-a

User avatar
Alex E
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2235
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:07 am
Gear: Virus C, Super Bass Station, M1r, TX81z, S760, Nord Rack 2, Nord Lead 3, JP-8000, JV-2080, SY99, Trinity Plus, EMX1, TB-03. Live 9, iMac MC309XX/A
Location: Anaheim, CA

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by Alex E » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:28 am

I tried it once and didn't like it... Hated the sound.
soundcloud.com/vectron


User avatar
Broadwave
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:50 am
Real name: Andy
Gear: Kronos 2-88, System 8, MODX6, ARP Odyssey, BroadWAVE ARP 2600EX, BroadWAVE Modular, BroadWAVE Sparta, BroadWAVE Minimoog, oh... and some guitars.
Location: Manchester UK
Contact:

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by Broadwave » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:48 am

I had one for a week - Great interface with high hopes, but in the end it just sounded dreadful. Aliasing on PWM, supersaw is distorted at higher frequencies, mono mode when you switch in sync(!!??) what were Roland thinking?

The waveforms themselves are not Modeled in the traditional VA sense as in the JP8000 (The synth I *wish* Roland had gone further with) - they appear to be sample based with a bit of VariPhrase mixed in (Switch to legato mono with high glide rate - you can hear the sample stretch).

Of course it's not just the Gaia, the JP80 and Integra 7 uses the same SuperNatural Synth engine and suffers from similar problems. I ended up getting a second hand V-Synth, which also has a few glitches, but is still far better than recent Roland VA's.

I've been really disappointed with several Analogue synths recently too - Korg's Odyssey would be great if they fixed the LFO/ADSR/AR re-trigger problem, and the Minilogue constantly retriggers the envelopes from zero (not typical analogue behavior, and very annoying).

It's a shame that Yamaha hasn't expanded on the ReFace concept, they could take it so much further.

I've gone back to building my own synths, it's time consuming but at least I get what I want/need.
Last edited by Broadwave on Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5157
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by madtheory » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:33 am

Broadwave wrote: and the Minilogue constantly retriggers the envelopes from zero (not typical analogue behavior, and very annoying).
So does the Gaia, according to Paul Nagle's SOS review.

User avatar
meatballfulton
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5776
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:29 pm
Gear: Live 9, Logic Pro X

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:55 pm

It's not a "real" VA, it's based on waveforms in ROM, not modeled oscillators as in the JP-8000 and SH-201. The sync issue was also found on the earlier SH-32...guess it takes too much CPU to make it work with sample based osciallators which is why very few ROM based synths have sync!

Gaia was not well accepted by the experts on release for a variety of reasons, one of which was it didn't compete sonically with a lot of other VAs on the market.

Still, it's very easy to program (each "layer" is essentially a Juno-style voice) and has a built in USB audio interface which can be useful.

My thoughts? If you like it, use it. Who cares what other people think ;)
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

knolan
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:42 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by knolan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:26 am

Thanks for your replies - pretty interesting and most pretty damning!

I accept it's not the strongest synthe which is why it has remained leaning up against a wall for the past few years, and while broadly accepting the criticisms levelled at it I have used it over a few evenings and do like its flexibility with three synths per program, and also find its modulation possibilities though D-Beam exciting ( I admit to liking D-beam (please don't ban me from this forum :-)).

So this GAIA will be used for what its strongest at - bright rich sawtooth based polysynth and pad sounds, swirling noises and realtime LFO control via D-beam - so I'm already finding useful function for it ( FYI I've set it in a new setup with 'left over synths from other setups": a Moog LittlePhatty, an Eminet310, Prophet T8, JD800, CS01 II, Monotribe and Mooferfooger Ring Modulator - all fed into Logic - an eclectic mix so it's going to be interesting to see what comes from it. It might get replaced by a Maxibrute in the next few months :-)


Just to set the record straight - the Oscillator on the GAIA ARE Virtual Analogue. I accept the supersaw may indeed be a PCM sample (and the GAIA does have a GM PCM sample set onboard as it can act totally separately as a GM module - but - Roland strictly separate that function and indeed are at pains to stipulate that PCM samples cannot be fed into the main synth engine. But in any case I can tell the oscillator waveforms are VA).

Finally, the "Envelope" issue flagged is not really an issue - it's a very common difference between analogue and digital synths - namely - for sounds with really long attack and release, a new note (in mono mode especially) will trigger from the start of the attack level with every new note and not from the existing release level of the previous note (as on typical analogue mono synths). So it's not a 'flaw' - it's a difference in implementation ( common on many digital synths - i.e - each triggered note being its own unique entity starting from scratch). So there are no other 'artefacts' with the envelope and as said is a 'feature' noticeable only with rarely used very long attack and release sounds.


cheers,
Kevin

User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5157
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by madtheory » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:02 pm

:mrgreen: leftovers? Sounds like a super setup. You're right- after all the reason to have more than one VA or whatever is that each synth has quirks that can be useful. Your approach reminds me of what Aphex Twin seems to do- treating the quirks/ limitations of the gear become creative boundaries. Enjoy!

knolan
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:42 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by knolan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:52 pm

I suppose the phrase "left overs" sounds a bit "upity / pretentious" when I read back over it. I've set up another 'setup' taking ages - I've been buying synths and not selling them for over two decades - so didn't have room for these synths in the mains setup and have decided to put these together. Actually, as you highlight this eclectic collection, it points out to me how "overly" comfortable I've become with my main setup - and for sure know those instruments well - and that's a good thing, but I just don't know how this new setup is going to hang together.

In truth I've never even powered on my Eminent310 - I bought it about 6 years ago from a Dutch company and it sat in its crate in my garage till last August - thankfully not in any way looking the worse for ware - while similarly I barely know the LittlePhatty, GAIA and Moogerfrooger. So we'll see if anything come of this - ironically it's the GAIA that's exciting me the most ( I really do like D-beam - not joking - I've played around with it on the GAIA and a few other synths and feel like it's a cross been the Thermin and a VCS3 - and if you practice with it a bit you can begin to manage / control whatever it's affecting in reasonably coherent ways. Like that controller a lot.

As an aside I expect to power the Eminent on and hear a static sound - as it stand I've no "mental picture" to make such an organ "sing" in the ways Jarre did. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised by an inherint strength of tone (and I shouldn't be revealing this here - too much 'info' - but I never just "power" a synth on until I intend to use it earnestly - I can't explain why - I also own a prophet 10 I bought about 8-9 years ago and have never been able to bring myself to power it on. Next year perhaps! We're an odd little bunch us synthesists (perhaps just I am ??).

knolan
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:42 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by knolan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:58 pm

On reflection - the "not powering it on" is also a symptom of: I bought this second hand - and until I need it it's not going on because if it doesn't work, it's another 2-grand and a 6-month repair wait!

Try restoring CS80's - that happens a lot and I think it's gotten into my psyche :-( !!

User avatar
Bitexion
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 4230
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 7:43 pm
Gear: Alesis Andromeda A6
Roland D-50
Creamware Minimax
Yamaha DX7s
Analogue Systems modular
Ensoniq SQ-80
Waldorf Blofeld
Location: Drammen, Norway

Re: Your thoughts on the GAIA?

Post by Bitexion » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:14 pm

I quite liked my Gaia, had it for about a year. Filled up the user memory bank pretty quickly with own stuff.

I liked the variations on the waveforms, and the little "boost" button that overdrove the filter just enough to get some extra fatness. Also liked the juno-ish layout with sliders instead of knobs. But alas, had to get rid of boards and that was one of the first to leave.

Post Reply