Roland Organ/Strings 09 (RS-09)

Roland RS-09 Image

The RS-09 is an analog string and organ synthesizer (similar to the Saturn-09 which only produced an organ sound). It's old, it's cheap and they're usually worth finding! The string sound and organ sounds are nice, fatty analog sounds. The organ and string sections can be played simultaneously or individually. An ensemble/chorus effect and external sound input are welcome features. But aside from all this, there isn't much else left to this synth. A simple 2-vco architecture with simple and limited editable parameters, no patch memory and a small keyboard.

Roland RS-09 Image

There are three versions of this unit. The one shown above is a V.3. The differences are mainly cosmetic and in the control surface; the V.3 uses touch-switches, the V.1 uses rockers and tends to be more reliable due to that. This instrument can be found for around $100, and they could add a nice flavor to any modern analog-electronic keyboard studio. It has been used by Jimi Tenor, UB40, and The Cure.

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29 Visitor comments
DsquareD
May 18, 2012 @ 7:27 am
When I try to tell myself "no midi or cv" so you should sell it, I remember

1)The fat, fat strings. Especially with a nice slow attack, just unbelievable. I disagree they sound much like a Juno60-- I think the RS strings are unique, especially with the chorus.

2)The external input. I use my RS09 all the time just to process external audio through its "ensemble" / chorus. Works awesome for vocals, guitar old drum machines-- stereofies mono synths!

3)Gate out + external in means you can moogerfoog / cv process the heck out of it. Gate to phaser, etc.
Dragon
March 5, 2012 @ 4:58 am
I bought one of these guys a few months back for $230, and it's become my lead synth. I own a Juno-60 and a Moog MG-1, which sometimes are my lead, but this guy is just great. The issues with the amount of attack // decay time on this synth [there's still some attack and decay on it when you have both settings ramped all the way down, like some other string // organ synths] really don't matter after you get used to it, and get into how analog it the sound is. Mine crackles considerably, but man. I'll be darned if I don't like it. [don't worry, I'll clean it soon. :3]
Mwaa
November 21, 2011 @ 12:10 pm
Jason Lytle of Grandaddy uses one of those!
Jack Floyd
June 24, 2011 @ 9:33 pm
Indeed. Fripp used a Roland RS-09 in 1981 for the Discipline Tour.
johannes
June 9, 2011 @ 1:29 am
I loved my RS-09 for its beautiful strings! But having a Juno 60 as well made me sell it off not too long ago! Strings on the Juno 60 are very similar. Oh deary but this thing was so ANALOG!!! And the fact that the Cure used one in the early 80s too was good enough for me!!! :)
 
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Duo/Polyphonic
  • Oscillators - 2 VCOs (String or Organ)
  • Effects - Ensemble/Chorus
  • Memory - None
  • Keyboard - 44 keys
  • Control - Gate Out only
  • Date Produced - 1979 - 1980
  • Resources & Credits
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