VA-7 arrives at last!

Posted by: BrianUK

VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/15/00 01:21 PM

Weeks of waiting are finally over. The VA-7 is sitting here in front of my very own eyes.
I suppose I'd better get it out the box and go play the damn thing!

Posted by: Alex K

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/15/00 08:50 PM


Congratulations on your new instrument. Hope

I expect a 3000 word review posted here in the morning , with a more detailed one in three days

Posted by: Melto

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/16/00 04:53 AM

Congratulations Brian! Looking forward to hearing your impressions


Posted by: eyal

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/16/00 06:44 AM

hi brianuk....

how lucky you are....

Looking forward to hearing yours impressions

every impression will be update also at....

va-7 home page !

i'l hope i get mine in 2 weeks from now
like roland said....

Posted by: Ilija Petkovski

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/16/00 08:20 AM

Wow man super!

Waiting for a BIG REVIEW soon!

Posted by: BrianUK

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/16/00 07:18 PM

Hello again,

I've had the VA-7 for just over a day now and although most of today was spent reading the manual, the last 6 hours have been spent playing. It's now 3:05am here.

I'll get straight to the point. This keyboard is even better than I thought it was going to be. It's simply amazing! (Eyal, you were totally right about this machine!)

The internal styles are fantastic, the musical arrangements are the best I have ever heard. The guitar strums actually sound like guitar strums. Top it all off with jaw-dropping drum parts and it can't get much better! The v drums sound amazing even on there own.

The arranger has only one intro button however there are technically 3 intros depending on whether you start with a major, minor, or 7th chord, each one very different but still the same quality. The involvement of the intro also depends on band size setting.

One thing that did annoy slightly was the one fill button only.
This means for a fill from ORIGINAL to VARIATION or vice versa, you press it once. For a fill to previous again you need to press it twice! This isn't that easy to do, as you can probably imagine. However, a good way round this is to assign the 'fill to previous' to the aftertouch controller in the left hand so you can activate the fill by playing a chord with more key pressure. Your hand doesn't need to leave the keys!

The new tones are excellent. Within seconds I had selected a fat organ sound and was applying swirling rotary effects with the M-FX knob. I could actually feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!

At first glance I thought there were only 8 organs to choose from, but by highlighting one and pressing 'Variation' you get up to 30 variations for each sound, and yes they are all different!

The 3649 sounds are split into 4 sections called tone maps.

Tone Map 4 contains 1616 new tones developed for VA-7/VA-5.
Tone Map 3 contains tones found on G1000, EM2000 and SC-88 PRO sound canvas.
Tone Map 2 contains tones found on G800, RA800 and SC-88 sound canvas.
Tone Map 1 contains tones found on E86 and SC-55 sound canvas.

Now for VariPhrase. Even though the styles are fantastic, when you play a few variphrase chords on top of that......WOW!!
Every time I even think about it, I can't stop laughing. I even recorded my own within minutes, and it actually sounded like me at those different pitches! Astonishing!

Just when I thought the smile on my face couldn't get any wider I was delighted to find another 62 VariPhrases on zip to add to the 48 factory ones. Brilliant.

To finish up, the VA-7 is very user-friendly, the touch screen allows access to most things within a couple of presses. Well
laid out and the graphics are very easy on the eyes.

I need to go get some sleep now, and I'm already excited about waking up to the VA-7. I just hope you don't have wait much longer to experience this.

Any questions I'll try to answer in the meantime.

Posted by: DannyUK

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/17/00 04:09 AM

Thanks for your mini review (i am sure we will hear more from you hopefully).

The VA-7 sounds great, and it gives me great confidence in what you personally have said because its sounds totally genuine and unbiased.

But how does it compare to the X1? I would really like to know some views on how it compares because the X1 to me sounds so realistic, its hard to match let alone beat it! Of course, the Variphrase is a Roland exclusive, im not comparing the features.

If the VA-7 has better styles and sounds than the X1, then Roland have one totally amazing keyboard on their hands.

I cant wait to hear the comparisons (unless I get to hear one first)!!

Interesting times.

Posted by: BrianUK

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/18/00 12:27 PM

The speakers are surprisingly loud. I had the Superman theme SMF thumping out full whack earlier on with no distortion whatsoever.

You can layer 2 sounds in the left hand and 2 in the right plus a VariPhrase sample on top of these. The parts can be accessed in one touch of a button although for performing purposes it probably would have been better to have actual buttons for the parts.


P.S. Danny, try and get a shot of this keyboard if you can. You need to experience it for yourself.
Posted by: Shakil

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/19/00 08:16 AM

Thanks for the review of VA-7
I will appreciate if you let us know about the sound editing, sequencing, sampling abilities of VA-7.
What synth engine does it have? is it a real XV engine?
Can one use VA-7 as a workstation AND arranger keyboard?

Posted by: Shakil

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/19/00 08:23 AM

and how $$$ was VA-7?
Posted by: BrianUK

Re: VA-7 arrives at last! - 06/19/00 03:04 PM

As far as sound editing goes, modulation, TVF and envelope seem to be the only variables. Personally, I think there are more than enough sounds and fx to sift through.

I have yet to get to grips with the full 16 track seq. however, after studying the manual it seems reassuring, all the usual facilities are there, although I couldn't find a Quantize 'Undo' function!?

As for the sampler, I've played around with this alot.
With 56 secs of sampling time I decided to capture the beginning of a song ('Wonderwall' by Oasis) to see how it coped. FYI This track comprises of an acoustic guitar intro (strummed) where the lead vocal joins in.

After brief truncating and encoding I played it back.
Normal pitch OK. Next try 1 tone up. The guitar intro was tring to repitch but resulted in much 'noise'. Amazingly, when the vocal came in it had been 'Variphrased' perfectly and could be transposed and speeded no problem. Really freaky, pity about the guitar bit.

That led me on to sampling my own guitar strums. Again, it didn't quite come off. It sampled OK but couldn't repitch a chord. It seems it can only 'variphrase' one note at a time. It's still pretty amazing though.

Maybe the next revolution will be involve repitching chords instead of single notes.

I had to try it!