I would have to say that this is one of the best virtual organs avaialble today. Not only do you get great organs, you also get tons of other sounds that are exclusively available from Sweetwater. They're layered, split, and effected to Sweetwater specs.
This has gotta be one of the sleeper hits of this year. It looks so easy to use that you just might miss how powerful and musically useful this keyboard is for live playing. For starters, the feel of the waterfall keys and drawbars is just right. And having 76 keys and a per-patch programmable split point means that you really can play multiple parts on a single keyboard without feeling "handcuffed". And it's so easy to add an extra MIDI keyboard and pedals to create the full beast.
All of the B-3 qualities you love are represented here with the ability to adjust and save them for each patch: Key Click On/Off, Leakage, Upper/Lower Rotary Volumes, Rise/Fall Times, Slow/Fast Speeds, Mic Spread/Distance, Cabinet/Amp Types, Distortion Types/Amounts, Chorus/Vibrato, Reverb Types/Depths, as well as Perc Loud/Soft, Fast/Slow, 2nd/3rd, and even Recharge Times and Hi-Bar Levels. All of these choices let you nail the famous drawbar sounds from every genre and recording era.
Then add Grand Pianos from the legendary RD-700 with true 88-note stereo multi-samples along with hundreds of Electric Pianos, Strings, Orch, Brass, Winds, Vocals, Synth Pads and Leads, Guitars, Basses, Drum Kits, and FX from the Fantom series and you've got a powerhouse of sounds ready as fast as you can press buttons and pull drawbars.
And finally, the ability to play back WAV, AIFF, MP3, Rhythm Patterns, and MIDI Files means that you can have an incredible-sounding backup band with as many studio-quality songs as you want. Get down with your bad self!
Oh So Good!!!
I've had this keyboard for a month and I'm STILL on the honeymoon!!! The BEST all in one keyboard out there, and I've been looking. It's replaced my Hammond XB2, Kurzweil PC2 and a couple rack modules. Plus, it fits in the case I used for the Kurzweil!!! I LOVE this thing!!! Except....
The biggest improvement would be a decent size display with more info. It would be nice to be able to read what patch is called up instead of trying to remember numbers (QUICK- - - #176???)
Another improvement would be an 11-pin Leslie connector. I have a Leslie 147, 145 and 860 that I would love to hook this to, BUT NOOOOO!!!
All said, I still love this thing (replacing 2 keyboards and a rack is enough). It has all the meat and taters I need (for now).
Not your father's VR 760...
Having worn out 2 of the VR 700's predecessors, (VR 760), I bought the VR 700 sight unseen. It has been religiously reliable and has great usable gigging sounds. The keyboard (waterfall) doesn't suffer from the 'displacement' problem of the VR760 and is more robust.Several things that were great in the 760 not on the 700: ability to switch leslies speeds with the v-beam, having a screen(?WTF) ability to change effects (phase, chorus, delay) on the fly, ability to alter rhodes sounds, and access to transpose easily(again WTF). Better on the 700: Piano sounds much better (but not as good as the RD700nx which we just bought) it is a tad lighter (one handed carrying is a breeze) the organ seems a bit better (hard to quantify why?!) but still lacks alot of the editting capablilites of the VK or VR760, again WTF...
All in all, still my favourite single go-to keyboard for bar gigs. (I used a Kurzweil PC3 after I killed off my last VR760 and HATED the action on it[PC3]-probably the reason my carpal tunnel flared up again...) If you are looking for a robust lightweight organ, with adequate piano , rhodes, and clavinet (for those Stevie Wonder covers) this does it in spades, and it has balanced XLR outs which is wonderful for QSC speakers or going right into your mixing board! Roland nearly got this one right. 4.5 stars (PS-Roland, call me if you need me to help design your next 'do everything' gigging keyboard...)
Roland VR 700
I have had this for 5 days and I love it! The organ on this thing is at least as good as the one on my KORG CX-3, without the screechiness in the higher notes! The overdrive function is superior as well. Add to that the remarkable RD pianos and the ton of other sounds and Roland has a winner here. As with any keyboard, there are some drawbacks....the EP's and brass could certainly have been better, individual EQ on the sounds would have been very helpful, and more controllable parameters would have been welcome as well. But this board is so awesome otherwise I would buy it all over again! It is handsome and rugged, in a total metal case...top and bottom, with the exception of the wooden endcaps.
Almost perfect... Almost
I've had my V-Combo for over a month now and have used it quite a lot live. The organ is dead on, period. Rotary and percussion are quite good and extremely tweak able to your liking. Electric pianos, especially variations 1 and 2 are very nice. Strings and pads are ok, as a theorist of the built in tones. The Other bank is a nicety with a healthy choice of meat and potato sounds if you choose to only use this board live. The reason I give it 4 stars and not 5 are the piano sounds. They lack the brightness I have heard in other Roland piano samples. I run my stuff through the Bose L1 Compact and every other sound I put through it sounds crystal clear other than the VR pianos.
I didn't buy it for the pianos. I bought it for the organ primarily and the electric pianos secondarily, so I'm not overly concerned. What does disappoint me is the lack of controller functionality. I also use a Fantom, V-Synth GT, V-Synth XT, and a Receptor. It would be wonderful if I could have the VR control the rack mounts and also turn the Fantom I to a Fantom XR, but I have yet to get the VR to be able to control different patch arrangements on different favorites buttons because the midi assignments are system wide, not per patch as they should be.
Maybe I am missing something. If so, would someone please set me straight?!
what happend to the Leslie speaker output
I think that the VR-700 is a great unit but it lacks the very thing that makes a organ become a organ. It misssing the 11 pin hook up that the VK-8 and Vk-88 have. Roland needs to go and add the 11 pin connector so you will be able to hook it up to a leslie speaker. Some people still like to use their old and new Leslie speaker. Again, what they use of building such a great instrument that does not allow you to connect a external Leslie speaker. The other thing is that they left off the Pipe organ and theater organ patch that belongs between piano and string.
A Lot of Quality Stuff in this Roland V-Combo
I received my new Roland VR-700 keyboard nearly two weeks ago, so I have taken the time to get to know it. I still need to learn more about it. I am a Kurzweil player, so I am very particular about the quality of the piano sounds. I tried a Korg SV-1 and did not care for it at all. Also, have gone through two Nords, both the Electro 3 73 and the overly expensive/over-rated Nord EX Stage 76. The new Roland VR-700 has much more keyboard "bang" for the Dollar$. I really like the Acoustic Piano Patches and now have found all of the Electric Piano Patches - some are hidden in the "Other" Patch Set. Having drawbars is the only way to go if you are going to want a Tonewheel Clone. It has a split keyboard for left handed key bass playing, but if you have a bass player - then you have all kinds of possibities in spliting the Ensemble Sounds and the Organ. However, out of the box - it required some pretty serious adjustment. The Rotary Effect in the Fast position sounded even worse than the Korg SV-1 - the speed was maxed so it sounded like a cheezy fast vibrato. The wonderful rythm patches were entirely too loud over the organ and ensemble patch sounds. I found the owners manual to be somewhat difficult to figure out - I have never liked the owner's manuals of any Roland Product. Instead of bothering people at Sweetwater, I decided to call the Roland US Tech Support Department. Wow - the tech was right in front of another VR-700 and he really got to know the manual. It really requires working with two totally different pages to understand and make any mods. He was surprised about some of the problems that I had encountered because they were not at so called factory default settings. He explained how to go about reducing the volume of the rythm patches first - I would have never figured it out from reading the manual. It was maxed at 100 and I took it down the 70 and that was perfect. The next problem was to adjust the Rotory simulation - which required 4 separate adjustments all saved into the User Patch 1. Once I did all that - it sounded pretty much like the new Roland VK-8.
The nice thing about the Roland VR-700 is that you can just about chage any parameter you want, but you will have to tie up a User Patch to Write and save that change. The rythms are very easy to work with and the tempo can easily be changed. My one real disappointment is that once I had set up a user split with left hand bass and right hand acoustic piano or Elec Piano and then came up with the perfect rythm with tempo, I could not save it all in a new User Patch - this needs to be corrected by Roland - apparently the rythms cannot be saved. So, if I am performing live as a solo player or with a vocalist and I go to that User Patch, I still must scroll through the Rythm Patchs because there is no Keypad (another needed addition) to dial it right in and the change the tempo if needed. I think I can do that pretty fast, but too bad that I need to go through all that trouble between songs.
Bottom Line - I could not give this keyboard a perfect 5.0 for the reasons mentioned above, but it is far better than the Korg and Nord Keyboards that I also mentioned above - I still own one of the Nords and I may be asking myself WHY? As a piano player, I was a little concerned about the Semi-weighted keyboard, but I think it is going to be OK - I guess if I had my way, I would stick with the waterfall keys and have an action somewhere in between this semi-weight and the fully weighted action that Roland now uses. I will be going out on shows with this keyboard with a Roland FantomX6 on the 2nd tier, mixed and played through a Hartke KM200 Keyboard Amp. Friends will be really surprised to not see a Kurzweil keyboard on stage. I think this is a great keyboard and I recommend it, especially to solo players - Roland has great tech support for their new products so that is something else worth the purchase consideration. Roland has a winner with the new VR-700, but with a few suggested Mods - it could blow everthing else out of the water. I would also like to see a fully weighted Special Edition of this same keyboard - now that would really be sweet.
Lightweight and great feel on the keys
I was worried about the feel of the waterfall keys but really like them for the piano.It has a very good sounding piano and piano with strings.The organ is great. I have played out a couple of times with it and is a little hard to get use to but not much.Pretty simple,I like how you can set your sounds up on favorites.All and all it is a great stage instrument.
i sold a Korg M3 61 and juno di for the purchase of this key. not impressed. rhodes weak, organ ok ..the weight is excellent. on decent sound is the scat voices..as a senior citizen i know what I like. I would prefer the Kronos or SV-1 however, I understand they are weighty. i still play weekend gigs.