V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

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V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby jim777 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:13 pm

I play a bunch of instruments but have been neglecting my keyboards for a while now. I just sold a nice fretless bass, and have about $2200US to splurge on toys. My keyboards are old (not 'good' old - an original Motif 6 and and ION) and in need of a good kick. SO....

Looking at the Roland V-synth I see they go for about 1200 or so for the non GT version and maybe 2200 for the GT version. I always wanted a Microwave XTk (and they seem to be less than 800), so the question is whether or not the V-Synth GT by itself would be more fun to mess with than an older V-Synth and a Microwave XTk. I really have no interest in software synths, I started playng in the 70's and still dig that Rick Wakeman vast array of keyboards if I have the room for them :)

Bottom line here, if you really wanted to kick up the available palette at your control which way would you lean?
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby Pro5 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:27 pm

the ORIGINAL V-Synth is 'more fun' than the GT if anything (IMO). It's much better designed, better laid out, more editing oriented and doesn't have the awful tone/patch system of the GT which I've never liked in synths that use it (Ie you change a tone your patch changes and you can't remember which is for which). The simplified nature of the original V when it comes to patches means it's more fun to use. Simple.

The on board knobs and buttons on the right of the original V are much better than the GT. It lets you not only see instantly which blocks in your structure are activated but you can turn them on/off at the correct location - on GT it has one set of 'on/offs' and an overview light for the structures - not as intuitive, less fun. It also lacks as many dedicated editing knobs, while some MAY prefer the soft knobs under the screen, I don't - because it makes you look at the screen - pointless! You can just use the touch screen and dial if that's your bag!

There's a few more quirks to the GT - read the sound on sound review for both - the same reviewer is a massive fan of the original but got really annoyed with the GT IIRC. And the extras on the GT, some are nice, but stuff like AP synthesis is pretty much unloved by anyone who's tried it (i.e the extras are not worth the extra $1000 and loss of fun/better interface).

Anecdotally, Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran has THREE Original V-Synths (obv backups) and only USED GT but no longer owns one or only had it on loan in the first place, who knows, but he chose original over GT for prob the same reasons as above. He knows his Rolands.

That hopefully answers your V-Synth Q.

Can't comment on the Microwave XT never had one but the V-synth original is easily one of the best synths ever produced, it can do so much you wont have enough ideas to wear it out!! :mrgreen:


oh and yes - an original V + MicrowaveXT is definitely going to be overall more fun and more varied than just a GT. IT's a no brainer imo.
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby pflosi » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:06 pm

Yeah, go for the V-Synth + MW XT.

I personally wanted to have the V-Synth XT out of the three versions, since it has the VC1 and VC2 cards installed already (and you can switch between them without power cycling the synth) and because I got more than enough keyboards already... IMO you'd be seriously missing out without the VC2...
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby jim777 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:57 am

Thanks for the responses :) I think I'll grab the V-synth, and if I cannot grab another MW XTk (I missed the one I was after) I may get something else and grab an XT in a few months.
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby Z » Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:29 am

jim777 wrote: I always wanted a Microwave XTk (and they seem to be less than 800)


If you're lucky! I sold mine last year for $1400, but it acutally popped up on eBay last week being sold by a pawn shop with quite a few more physical blemishes than when I sold it a year ago (the scratch near the LCD screen was a dead giveaway, see my XTk video on YouTube). I think it ended up selling for under $1k, but I see them sell all the time for $1200-$1800.

I thought the XTk sounded way to digital. I'll take the original MicroWave over the XT any day.
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby CfNorENa » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:11 am

Z wrote:I thought the XTk sounded way to digital.


Blasphemy! The XT is unapologetically digital, and revels in its digital beauty!

Of course, I wouldn't mind a Microwave myself. Or a PPG Wave... 8-)
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby jim777 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:03 pm

Z wrote:
jim777 wrote: I always wanted a Microwave XTk (and they seem to be less than 800)


If you're lucky! I sold mine last year for $1400, but it acutally popped up on eBay last week being sold by a pawn shop with quite a few more physical blemishes than when I sold it a year ago (the scratch near the LCD screen was a dead giveaway, see my XTk video on YouTube). I think it ended up selling for under $1k, but I see them sell all the time for $1200-$1800.

I thought the XTk sounded way to digital. I'll take the original MicroWave over the XT any day.


You are right as rain on that one - I saw that one go for ~$750 and assumed it was a fairly average price but the others out there are a lot higher. I did grab a V-synth which was my priority, so I still have a few nickelss to play with. I'll likely see how it fits into what I've got already, and either grab something else or sell my Motif and ION and grab a Kronos or something. I really don't know at the moment; I've been doing a lot of reading and music shop visiting thought here doesn't seem to be much in the stores between the Kronos type $3K+ keyboards and $200 controllers.
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby robotunes » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:40 pm

Pro5 wrote:the ORIGINAL V-Synth is 'more fun' than the GT if anything (IMO).


to each his own, my friend.

i know the OP has cast his/her lot with the original vsynth (great choice! check out jp-80.com for thousands of free sounds!) but i can't let pro-5's opinions of the gt go unanswered.

imho a used original v is way undervalued, making a used gt appear overpriced. the original is good enough, but for a couple hundred more than an xt, i think the gt is a must-have for sound designers (if space allows).

the "awful" tone/patch structure makes the gt a direct descendent of the D50. similarly to that classic, the gt treats a tone as a 2-osc synth, and a patch is merely 2 tones (i.e., synths) layered, split or crossfaded, each with its own multieffects. what's so hard to understand? lol. surely that kind of sonic flexibility is worth the effort?

as for programming speed, after a couple of weeks, you get quick at programming the gt (as with any synth). soon your fingers know which soft knob to grab without looking at the screen.

pro-5 dismisses the gt's "overpriced" extras:
— better effects routing
— AP synthesis, which when used as an oscillator and not the main feature, gives your sounds a human, "alive" feeling. definitely not "unloved by anyone who's tried it." lol
— vocal harmonizer/vocoder: ditto, especially on backing vocals and vocoding different passages to provide texture
— audio/midi interface for playing/sampling logic/reason/live, merging hardware and software if that's your thing
— an arp that sends midi, for transforming your hardware and software synths

depending on what else is in your studio, those extras might be worth the extra dough.

on the other hand, no matter what vsynth model you get, you could cover similar ground with a novation sl61, an ipad, and some well-chosen apps (crystal xt, voice synth, genome sequencer, and sunrizer will get you most of the way there).

to each his own. that goes for nick rhodes too. lol!
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby Hugo76 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:35 am

Interesting comments, robotunes. Just wanted to note that the original V-Synth's arp also transmits midi.
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby Pro5 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:02 am

Some misinformation robotunes!

No it's not like the D-50 at all it's more like the JX-10 - a SHARED POOL of tones that are not PER PATCH and you can easily lose track of which belongs to which.

On the D-50 each patch is self contained, completely different.

And yes the Original V does transmit ARP over midi - I use it into my JX3P all the time :D

Look, obv we'd all like to have THAT extra power of the GT but for upto £1000 MORE just for those few things? NO FREAKIN WAY :)

Esp when you consider they nerfed the programming surface on it AND added some annoyances like the tone/patch system previously mentioned.

Am sure it's still a great synth but as great as the original is for the price it costs? nahh
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby robotunes » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:27 am

touche. i humbly accept this rhetorical defeat.

i repeat from my original post that the original v is a great choice.

my analysis was based on getting a used gt for under US $2,000, which is a few hundred more than the xt rack (which is the vsynth that can spit out midi, if i recall correctly).

i stand by my opinions that the original v is undervalued, that it is an awesome synth, and that is only slightly more fun to program than the gt.

i've had all 3 verions (even bought the vp9000 when it was new), and i get more from the gt. but in retrospect, i agree that the differences between the two are not worth the money. the original v offers much more bang for the buck.
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Re: V-Synth + Microwave XTk vs V-Synth GT?

Postby Pro5 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:03 am

Yes - I'd possibly like the colour screen from the xt/gt (mainly for contrast not colour) but I do prefer the more 'classic' design of the original, the GT looks a little overdone with all that bling imo. Not that it's a good reason to avoid a synth. Hey if someone wanted to give me one for free i'd get used to it's looks (still looks great anyway :) )

XT spits out midi? what do you mean? the original also spits out midi - assuming you mean arp data or CC from the performance side (and sysx from the programming knobs/sliders that can be converted with a translator to CC) you need to enable them to transmit midi in the menus (the programming knobs) but everything else sends out MIDI afaik - arp etc.

Original V is easily the best bargain on the market under £1000 right now. It has enabled me to basically say 'ok other digitals - bye bye now' :) - that's because it is a Keyboard too. XT is also a massive bargain based on included D-50/Vocal Designer alone.

I had those cards for my V-Synth and they were fun, but I needed some cash so have let them go. In fact i sold the cards for more than the V cost me :lol:
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