An advanced polyphonic digital synth, produced by Roland in three versions spanning from 2003 to 2009. The V-Synth brought together a number of synthesis technologies that Roland had worked on and marketed in various forms through the 1990s, including Variphrase and their D-Beam controller.
The synth's signal flow follows the conventional VCO-VCF-VCA paradigm, but takes it to an extreme using a host of technologies. In signal generation, the user has a choice between virtual analog and sample playback; the latter can use the Variphrase techology to control pitch and time independently. The most striking visual feature of the synth, the Time Trip touch pad, can be used to "play" a sample using a sort of turntabling, where moving the finger around in a circle on the pad causes the sample to play forward or backward at the speed that the finger moves, while the output sounds continuously. Formant control is also possible with some types of samples. The V-Synth is capable of recording samples, and can also exchange samples with a computer over a USB connection.
The voice architecture consists of two oscillators, two COSM filters, a mixer, and a Time Variant Amplfier per voice. Each significant parameter in each component has its own ADSR envelope generator and its own LFO. Three choices of "structure" provide some routing options with regard to where the COSM filters are place in the signal flow. On the output side, effects are grouped into three blocks: chorus, reverb, and "multi effects", which includes flanging, pitch shifting and various forms of wave shaping and distortion. An arpeggiator, with both preset and user-programmable patterns, can be added to any patch, and can drive any of several parameters in the patch.
Three types of oscillators are offered: virtual analog, sample playback, and external input. The virtual analog oscillator contains about 10 choices of waveform, including some models that simulate waveforms produced by the Jupiter-8; it also includes the infamous Roland super saw. When both oscillators are switched to virtual analog, oscillator 1 can be synced to oscillator 2.
The most versatile oscillator type is the sample playback oscillator. The V-Synth includes the ability to pre-process samples in various ways; the synth will detect and pull out information about the formant characteristics of the sample, and also detect tempo and find likely loop points. Loop and break points can be chosen from the processing screen, and a variety of loop modes are offered, including one that advances the sample playback to the next break point each time a key is played. The formant information is used by both the Variphrase and the formant filter. The Variphrase allows the performer to control the rate of playback, using the Time Trip Pad or other controllers, without effecting pitch, or do the opposite; depending on which processing mode was used to pre-process the sample, it is also possible to control time and pitch via control signals from LFOs or other sources. The formant filter can modulate formants based on a control signal, or "freeze" formants across a range of pitch (the so-called "robot voice"). The V-Synth has sampling capability built in; it can also accept samples from a computer in WAV files via a USB connection.
The external signal input accepts a signal from a stereo pair of jacks on the rear panel. These can then be processed through the COSM filters, the amplifier, and the effects.
COSM Filters Edit
The COSM filters are Roland's implementation of modeled filters, based on the response characteristics of both traditional filter circuits, and acoustic / natural resonant objects and spaces (such as instrument bodies and speaker cabinets). A large variety of filter types are offered, including comb and sideband filters, as well as traditional low pass, bandpass, and high pass filters.
As stated, the V-Synth was produced in three versions. The original, the V-Synth keyboard version, appeared in 2003. After the first year, Roland updated the operating system to the 2.0 version; these are known as the V-Synth 2.0. (The update can be uploaded to earlier units; most have been updated to the 2.0 standard by now. A point to note is that patch files from the earlier versions are not compatible with 2.0.) The V-Synth XT was a rackmount version released in 2005, upgraded with a color touch screen but lacking most of the performance controls from the original. The V-Synth GT, introduced in 2007, is a keyboard version with an updated panel and featuring Roland's Articulative Phrase synthesis, which adds some physical modelling capabilities to the synth. Sales of all versions were low by Roland's modern standards, but all versions are now regarded as classics by most synthesists.