Jens Johansson: Stratovarius keyboardist
Interviewed on May 3rd 2006
"When I was invited by Roland Corporation to come to the Roland studio in Akihabara Tokyo to check out the Roland V-Synth, I was much honored but still a bit skeptical. I have felt that electronic musical instrument development has stagnated a little the last couple of years. But after checking this machine out in detail a few hours, I am convinced that this will be a very useful workhorse instrument for me.
  "The first thing that impressed me immediately was that when you play it, this instrument has the latency of an old-school "analog" synth. As someone who grew up with instruments from the 70s this gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart.
  "Later, when I got my hands on a V-Synth and had a bit more time to play around with it, pretty soon found myself addicted! Roland has put a LOT of effort into the core wave generating unit, the oscillator. In addition to the normal and not-so-normal analog waveforms, the PCM "oscillator" has a lot of very transparent programming "magic" built into it. This is what is referred to as "VariPhrase" but in truth, that name does not really convey all the possibilities of a PCM "oscillator" in this instrument. For instance, in one PCM oscillator mode, one PCM sample can be transparently played across a wide range -- the formants are shifted automatically and the sample sounds the same, irrespective of transposition. The other PCM modes are just as intuitive and useful, for loops etc. It all just... works. Somehow.
  "When it comes to the rest of the signal chain after the oscillators, there are some really innovative ideas here as well. Some people probably think I'm some metal dude that chews the heads off bats and has had my brain fried by too many stage bombs and beers, but I am actually a hacker at heart. And the V-synth is in some ways a hacker's machine, because there really are a lot of posibilities.
  "And as we all know, "unbounded possibilities" usually translates into "impossible to program", but what makes this instrument interesting is the way the user interface is laid out, especially the idea of having a touch screen.
  "As usual for Roland the final effects section has very useful and nice-sounding algorithms. This is something which is so important.. to me it's sometimes as important than the sound generation that come before the effects. And it's something that most synth manufacturers just tend to neglect.
  "So in short, I think I will be using this instrument A LOT in the future."