Re: [GR-30] GR-33 Review
- more Info on the Gr 33 Pls you give it to my level
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2000 2:29 AM
Subject: [GR-30] GR-33 Review
Sorry about the length . . .
I got my GR-33. I've had it for a couple weeks now, so I'll
give you some first impressions.
Before I make comments, however, I should let y'all know what my
shtick is so you can take it in the proper context.
My current gig is as the guitarist in a 60's 70's 80's 90's rock
cover band; the lineup is guitar, keyboards/singer, fretless bass,
and drums. I use Strat Plus Deluxes through a SansAmp PSA-1 Amp
simulator and a Digitech RP-multi-effects direct to the board. I've
played in many different types of bands and ensembles, and I enjoy
all genres of music. I also compose, sequence and record via PC at
home. I'm driving my GR-33 with the external
"Borg-assimilator" GK-2A, bought as a package with the synth.
The GR-33 is, for all intents and purposes, my first guitar synth
experience; I dinked around on a GR-30 in a music store for about 10
minutes several months ago. So I'm sorry that I can't give you a
good comparative analysis. I also have some decent general
synthesizer & MIDI module experience. But my keyboard playing
stinks - hence one of the main reasons for my GR-33 purchase.
Roland delivers what they promised: the sound quality matches the XP
& JV Roland Synths I've played with before. Like most modules,
some of the tones on the gr-33 are kinda lame, while others are
incredibly lush and/or realistic. The guitar tones are okay -
they'refine if you don't have anything else. I will probably
only end up using the 12-string & 6-string as acoustic
"emulators" when I play live, and the electric tones are a
waste of digital space, IMO. The string patches and pads are VERY
high-quality, with many different ones to choose from. A few of the
tones are combinations, like Piano/Choir or Ac. Guitar/Strings, so
the patches can become quite thick. On the downside, I also noticed
some latency problems on some tones/patches, especially the horn
section tones; but nothing that can't be overcome with experience.
To Andy Frantz (and any other Rush fans): you're in luck - there's a
tone (and subsequent Patch) called Saw Yer Bass. It's a decent
replica of the descending saw-flanger (or whatever it is) sound of
the bass synth on "Tom Sawyer".
Some of the patches seem to be pushing the complexity and richness of
the XV-series modules. It's probably because of the effects (see
Using the patches allows the advantages of the guitar synth to really
shine. Any patch that emulates an instrument with a lot of potential
variation in pitch & timbre, like stringed instrument and horn solos,
really comes alive. Bending and sliding the Fretless bass patches,
in particular, elicits some very rich and realistic sounds.
Most of the preset patches are pretty good, but the real power of
this unit, as expected, lies in its flexible programmability,
especially with layering tones and applying effects.
EFFECTS & STUFF
I haven't messed with them much, but they seem very good so far.
There are almost too many to choose from, actually. I especially
like the "Space-D" effect, which is, according to the manual, "a
multiple chorus that applies a two-stage modulation in stereo. It
does not produce a sense of modulation, but creates a tranparent
chorus effect." Unfortunately, you can't just put a bunch of
these effects in series - you can only use one per patch.
However,some of the effects are already two in a series, like
Flanger -Delay and Overdrive - Chorus.
The big downside is that you can only apply the effects to the SYNTH
sounds, not the mixed guitar sounds. The effects are applied to the
synth sounds BEFORE they get mixed with the guitar. There goes my
idea to use the GR-33 as a general effects unit . . .
The harmonizer is pretty cool, but I can't see using it much,
except maybe as an octave doubler. Every time I try to use a non-
octave harmonizer, the tune has tonicizations (temporary key
changes), so the harmonies aren't quite right. There's a
preset patchcalled Cmaj-Strings that uses a +3 harmonizer, which
gives you nice 7th chords by just playing power chords native to Cmaj.
The pedal is a very powerful tool. Its default setting on most
patches is as a volume pedal. However, you can assign different
parameters to the pedal, such as a variable mixer between the two
tones in a patch, or the speed of the arpeggiation, etc.
I was pleasantly surprised; the interface is actually quite
intuitive. Better than the GR-30, I would venture to say, and much
better than my Roland XP-10. If you want to edit the effects, press
the Effects button. If you want to edit the string settings, hit the
String button. The manual is much better than I expected - my XP-10
manual is pretty difficult to wade through, and I've heard others
complain about Roland interfaces and manuals. Since it's my first
guitar synth experience, using the buttons on the GK-2A in
conjunction with the pedals is a little awkward, but I'm getting used
to it pretty quickly.
The onboard tuner is a great feature. Now I can use that rack space
in my rig for something else.
Btw: I'll be using the GR-33 live for the first time this
weekend, after two rehearsals using it with the band.
Let me know if y'all have any specific questions, and I'll write
more if I can come up with anything interesting.
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