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Went to LA- checked out the Roland V Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by adrian garcia, Apr 11, 2002.


  1. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    i am goin go paste my post from another board here so i dont have to retype the whole thing- but i should explain-
    in another thread in another forum- i posted that i would be checking out the V Bass- there was a post from a gentleman who warned that we might be dissapointed - i went with my friend Steve Smith- (AlembicKoa on most forums)
    the post stated that there were units already out there and that the Roland was a dissapointment- and that the Line 6 Pod Pro for example was a better sounding unit at less $- - so there will be references to that in my report- the guys at Roland assured us there no other V Basses in the US than the units inn LA-
    i respect peoples opinions and this is in no way a challenge to that post- so here goes..
    the last thing i would want to see is this thread becoming a Roland VBass vs Line Pod Pro battle- i will here admit that i have not listened to the Pod pro- i have listened to the Bass Pod and passed on it- i have not heard the latest revisions-
    so i will not talk about the Pod- or even about the fact that they assured us there were no others V BAss units around- hey, if you say you saw the Roland V Bass and touched it and heard it- im not going to sit here and call you a liar- in fact- on their request- i will email the url of this thread to Peter and perhaps he can address the question himself.
    Ok, on to the V Bass-
    i heard what i heard- and as Steve said- at times we forgot we were listenng to a modeled bass and not the VERY FINE Ken Lawrence - at no time did the bartolinis on the Lawerence come into play- we heard 100% modeled bass .
    Ok, i will say, the reasons i am intrigued by this box are-
    1. I have dreamt of tracking synths with MY bass for years- tracking was always a problem
    2. I want to use a fretless on parts of my gig, but time and space do no allow it- i may need a fretless sound for 16 bars and a slap sound after that-
    3. see number 2 and substitute upright for fretless
    those are the main reasons.
    my take on the V Bass-
    at $1075, consider that any decent preamp will cost you at least $500- then consider a state of the art effect unit- one that is studio worthy and hi quality. Another probable $500- and some hi end pre's and FX will cost $1000 all by themselves.
    Here we have a modeler that WORKS. it models the bass itself- not just amps and cabs- ok, Steve has an Alembic Series bass- i have Fodera and MTD USA- having bass modeling is icing on the cake... we may wanna use it- but we dont have to- however- consider that you CAN put the pickup on a $200 OLP and you have the same sounds Steve and I have - minus the signal from the actual bass itself.
    The modeling is GOOD folks- fret noise, growl, punch, we were impressed. The fretless emulation was very cool- not the most impressive thing in my opinion because of the natural vibrato that only occurs when the pitch raise AND lowers. On fretted - vibrato is only up and down the pitch- not below- hence not the sweet true vibrato you get on fretless. I suspect some type of modulation assigment to the pedal perhaps will create a nice vibrato FX. Also- it's the way you play the bass- i already get a pseudofretless vibe on the fretteds.
    Now the upright.. that REALLY blew me away-
    you can hear the resonace and the "flap" of the strings against the fingerboard- VERY convincing- choosing the resonance levels and body sizes really added depth- when a parameter was changed- you HEARD the change- no doubt.
    I could go on for a day- but ill try to wrap it up- the synth basses- OUTSTANDING!!! finally!! a synth bass that tracks INSTANTLY!! no kidding- like i said- we never heard the real bass- but all i could do was imagine what those monstrous synths would sound like with my MTD or Fodera slamming along!! FAT isnt the word!!!- plus you can detune for piccolo and guitar sounds- at one point i thought i was listening to a Strat getting plucked
    also- each string is processed separately - so .. INSTANT altered tunings!! or tune it in octave to the dry sound- or in fourths!! i dont know- maybe, like Steve said- we are 2 old dumbasses that fell out of a tree today- but i have never seen or heard technology like this for bass before- as far as im concerned- i am doing anything within my power to get the first one available for consumers- i was pretty much blown away- one thing for sure- i will go to Guitar Center and listen to the Pod Pro - if its anything like this.. and Pure Energy says is BETTER!! im not a fool- i will check this out- but in my opinion.. the ROLAND V BASS is a winner!!
    FRIGHTENING!!!!
    another quote for the day
    "IT"S NOT TRACKING!" - Peter Swiadon- Roland USA
     
  2. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    now i want one!!!
    I guess it will be 3000$ here :(
     
  3. Adrian,

    Great report - thanks for posting! Does the unit allow for more than one effect running at a time?

    How do you think it would handle a fretless?

    Jeff
     
  4. I've played the Bass Pod - not the rack mount and was quite impressed. I'm running through an ART rackmount guitar effects unit (I used to use an old Boss BE5 - another guitar effects thing) mainly because I tend to feel ripped off with most of the 'bass specific' tools aout there. But my friend you make the Roland sound too good to be true.

    Is there any news of them making it across to the UK? I would love to put it to the test.

    Great work Adrian :D :cool:
     
  5. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    thanks for sharing Adrian!
    I've got the both POD's in the studio, so I'll be able to compare/contrast the 2 when my V finally arrives...
    and I'll be sure to try the V w/ a fretless, see how it holds up there.
    Now it's all about the waiting game I guess.

    Did you try an octave pair tuning? Credible 8 string tone? What were the models of different basses like? That's the one thing I can't really wrap my head around...how do you model that, if you're modeling p'ups seperately? I wonder what it is that they model for the basses.

    so you didn't try the 1/4 inputs, just the GK2b p'up, right? What were you monitoring with?

    thanks in advance. I know you weren't expecting the spanish inquisition...
     
  6. BassFelt

    BassFelt

    Mar 26, 2002
    Thanks Adrian for that review. I posted a few weeks ago about a brief tryout of the V-bass at the Frankfurter Messe. As it was on a dubious instrument with worse headphones, I could not help being disappointed. But your review makes me want to try it agin under more favourable circumstances.

    Jeffs question about how it would sound with a fretless is very interesting - you'd have the vibrato and slide possibilities of a fretless, but you could also have the fret moises and slap sounds! The more I think about it the more it seems more interesting to play "fretted" on a fretless than "fretless" on a fretted bass. The acoustic upright models will obiously also sound better played with a fretless. Try to imagine a slap sound with a slide...interesting.
     
  7. Adrian,
    How does this unit work--does it process the signal you send it, or does it use the signal to trigger sounds? Also, what are the main strentghs and weaknesses of this unit? Is it strictly a bass modeling unit, or does it have effects as well?
    G
     
  8. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Unless it's actually modelling frets (which I doubt it is), I don't think you'll get the 'fretted' sound on a fretless. I've got the V guitar and drums, and feel pretty familiar with the technology, my hunch is that since the unit is using the string as driver, if there are no frets involved, it won't sound like there are frets.

    It's not sampling, I don't even know if it's literally 'tracking'- you get the exact nuances of the string; harmonics, scrapes, slides, muting. Guess I'll shut up till I actually get the thing, but that's been my experience so far with the VG8.
     
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    it really isn't tracking. tracking is converting the signal to control voltages that then are used to trigger the proper note in a keyboard brain.

    the vg8/vg88/vbass all use the signal from the gk pickup (or rmc if you're lucky enough to have them :D) as the sound source, and just perform complex equalisation upon that sound source.

    there's no tracking delay because there is no tracking.
     
  10. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    exactly- no tracking delay because its not tracking- i cant go into depth about how they do the modeling- i would have to go to school for that and get big fat checks from Roland- John complex eq s ounds reasonable- after all- isnt that just what we hear- a sound?
    I am not gong to sit here nd tell you that it soiunds exactly like a 62 pbass- for example- i would have to have both side by side- but i heard the changes when they demoed the different models- th upright blew me away- maybe im easy. i dunno. It much more than a modeler- its an extensive FX unit and programable eq- its many things..
     
  11. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    So I thunk, but I never seem to have access to my manuals when I want to describe something. Not that they really do that in detail anyway.

    So triggering, tracking, sampling are all inaccurate terms when applied to the V series instruments as far as I understand.

    With the Vbass you've got the 1/4 ins, so if used thusly you're basically modeling amp, speaker cab, mic; or you're using the effects; wah, modeled overdrive/distortion, compression, delay, chorus, reverb, etc, all non-polyphonic.

    use the GK2 and you can model bass, p'up, and polyphonic effects + pitch-shifting.

    to me that helps make sense of what's actually happening with your signal...the GK pickup signal is basically processed like your mag p'up. Not triggering samples, so it's not really like a guitar synth as we're familiar with them.
     
  12. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    john- i am thinking about the RMC- so then - i could use the V bass AND the midi interfaace to drive midi synths? hows the TRACKING on you midi stuff- in the lower registers. i am curious- peace, Adrian
     
  13. Thanks for the review Adrian. I was waiting for your report. Like i said to you in an email, the biggest reason i would get the RMC on my bass is for the V-bass, plus of course though to get the sound the piezos only can give too. So i think i'm definately going to go with the RMC piezos. I really don't want to have that GK midi pickup hanging on the bass. Although using it on cheaper basses like an OLP and such would be real good.
     
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah. the output of the rmc is a 13 pin out, like on the gk2a, but it's driven by piezos as opposed to the mag pickups, and it has a much better performance, ime.

    remember, the output out of the instrument is the 13 pin, not midi. some folks have called it midi, but that's not really right - you can't just plug your instrument into a keyboard, you need some kind of converter that will take c-v from the instrument and convert it to midi notes. i use the axon ax100 sb - this is the best tracking unit available for bass - i've gotten good, usable low b's and even low a's through that unit.

    the existing guitar synths from roland don't track down there very well - i've used the gr1 and gr33 and they both don't work too well on bass. the vg8 doesn't work well either - below a certain fret on each string the sound flakes out on many of the patches. still, though, it has a lot of cool sounds and usability to it - i used my fretless 8 string with the vg8, with one of the 12 string acoustic patches, got the coolest sitar sound.

    i'm stoked over the vbass. that is going to definitely be a necessary addition to my rig.
     
  15. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    thanks , John
    i will contact RMC regarding time, cost- etc.. by the way- the lo bs on the Roland are no problem at all!! YESSS!!!!!
     
  16. BassFelt

    BassFelt

    Mar 26, 2002
    You're probably right and I should have realised it as I have a VG-88 myself. Got carried away I guess.
     
  17. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    one other thing to remember with the rmc's is that, if you want the piezos to work without the 13 pin cable in, you need to install a 9v battery just for them. the 13 pin has phantom power to power the synth stuff that will also power the piezos, but when that's not connected, they need their own battery.
     
  18. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Thanks John- i spoke to RMC- i am unsure if i have the cavity room for that and we just dialed in the MTD at the show so sending it out would suck right now-( VERY picky soundman) i may go with the divided pup for now until i decide if i want to do that much modding.. especially on the MTD- but i see it in the future- just by looking inside the control cav, though- i dont see much room for anything there!!- peace!- Adrian
     
  19. peker

    peker

    Jun 3, 2003
    Near Chicago
    Howdy, all. For those of us, er, keyboard-types, can the V-Bass be played from a MIDI keyboard via the MIDI input to the unit? I haven't been able to find a definitive answer to this anywhere.
     
  20. Davehenning

    Davehenning

    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    There are other V-basses out there. I played the Roland V-bass @mannys in NYC a few weeks ago. I thought it was ok. There were some tracking problems here and there, but then again I did not have the time(or the manual)to tweak it.