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Opinions about the Roland Digital Workstations please...

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Bill, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. Bill

    Bill Member

    May 23, 2004
    Here is my dilemna. I currently own a Roland 1680 that I bought years ago and never learned to use very successfully. I found it frustrating and in fairness, I was unwilling to devote too much time to it. It may simply be too much recorder for what I need. I only record at home on occassion and usually by myself. Ease of use is very important to me. Should I try and conquer the 1680 or go ahead and change to some other recorder? I am not so concerned about cost. I want a recorder that sounds good and is easy to use. I typically only put in an hour or two here and there and sometimes go for months without using a recorder at all. What would be a good set up for my circumstances?
  2. randall g

    randall g Member

    May 2, 2005
    los angeles
    I say forget the Roland. I used to have a vs-880 and that thing was so complicated to me I could not stand it. It came with 3 manuals!!!!!!!! And all you get is a tiny screen as a monitor.

    I switched to Sonar on a pc and it is so much easier to use in every way - in fact I look forward to using it. I used to dread using the Roland.

    If you have a pc, I'd suggest checking out a few brands of software and find one that you like.
  3. Norcal_GIT_r

    Norcal_GIT_r Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    Off the grid in South Park Colorado.
    I've used the 1680. It's a clunky unfriendly piece of equipment that makes ok sounding demos.
    Sold it and went with Pro Tools. PT is so much easier to learn and having a GUI is awesome and straight forward.
  4. Flah

    Flah Member

    Oct 14, 2004
    I had a 1680 and sold it to upgrade to my ProTools rig. Right during the gear transition I re-recorded a song I was working on, and it sounded better on the 1680!! I don't know why.

    The 1680 isn't super hard to use but it can get complex depending on what you need to do. Knowing how to bounce the entire mix down to channels 16-15 and 16-16 is a big help. Also pushing the master fader to the highest short of clipping gets your mix hot - it took me a while to figure that one out!!!

    I would say that if you're not doing MIDI or anything, that you're okay sticking with the 1680. Having said that, consider swapping out the hard drive for a 20 gig, since the stock is only 2 gigs.

    Computer recording can get even hairier than something like the 1680.

    Good luck!!
  5. Greggy

    Greggy Member

    May 8, 2002
    The Antipodes To All That is Sacred and Pure
    I've owned my VS 1880 for 4 years. You can get very good results with it if you learn how to use it. First, bypass the built in mic pres and A/D converter. You do this by running your signals into an outboard mic pre then outboad A/D converter. Connect the converter digital out to the Roland digital input jack and record.

    Second, learn how to use the mastering tool kit, both when tracking and when mastering. Insert the master tool kit stereo effect into either the fx 1 or fx 3 effects bus "of the digital input mixer channel" when tracking. This will remove much of the mud from the signal when tracking. You will have to experiment with the settings in the mastering tool kit effect until it sounds right. The key settings are the 3 band compressor and the limiter and output level settings, the latter 2 settings are at the second to last and last parameters in the master tool kit. Re the compressor, at the tracking and mastering stages, keep the attack times in the range of 35 to 50 ms or so, and the release times around 200 ms or so. Experiment. About the limiter, I like to set threshold at -4 db or so, and set the release to 135 ms or around there. Then go to the output level parameter and set the volume so that you are pushing the limiter (althought the output level is the last parameter in the mastering tool kit chain, it actually impacts volume prior to the limiter). No need to brick wall limit, but pushing up against the limiter gives you a mix that is more forward and doesn't sound like listening to a band playing 2 blocks down the street under a wet wool blanket.

    I know the manuals are complicated and almost impossible to understand. You gotta put in the time to learn by doing, or sell the thing and by something simpler. Just in case you are wondering, here is a sample of the clarity that is possible at my current skill level, recorded recently on my 1880: Birth of the Conqueror
  6. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Senior Member

    Sep 30, 2004
    Georgia, USA.
    I still have mine, but honestly, I never touch it since I went to a Mac Powerbook G4/MBox 2/Pro Tools LE setup. For some reason, the audio quality just wasn't there. Maybe the pre's, maybe the playing:jo , but my stuff didn't sound as professional as I'd like, compared to a commercial CD. Still a great unit for setting up a live recording provided you use the VS' preamps.

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