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Thread: Roland VP-550 Vocal Designer, Realistic?

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    Swords is offline Newbie
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    Roland VP-550 Vocal Designer, Realistic?

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    Hey folks,

    I've seen online that Roland makes a synth that is supposed to make back up vocalists, it sounds too good to be true. Has anyone tried the VP - 550? does it really create a realistic sounding choir that could go with orchestral movements? I would be in heaven if it did.

    I don't quite understand how a keyboard makes choirs and backing vocals other than the cheezy "ooohs and aaahhs" you get on most synths. Can anyone explain how this product works to me?
    Josh Cook

    "I always thought chamber music was just a group of chamber maids getting together and jamming"
    -Dr. Katz

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    dafduc's Avatar
    dafduc is offline B O F
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    This one's more like a vocoder. You plug a mic into the back, sing into it, and it applies your sound to the carrier sounds, presets to make you sound like a gospel choir, men's chorus, women's chorus, classical choir, vocoder, etc.

    In fact, I imagine it's exactly a vocoder. I bought one at my old church, but didn't get to take it with me after Fr. $%^&wad fired me. I was using it to put together practice CD's for the choir, but I had some monitoring latency problems and wound up doing the work in melodyne instead.

    Cool concept, but what pisses me off is that they killed the $200ish VC-2 card to help sell this board. So I got me a Vari-OS module and nothing to use it with, unless I buy the VC-1, which is a D-50 clone or something similar. Ecch.
    She was packed tighter than Vermonters in an Audi. - notCardio

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    Swords is offline Newbie
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    Does a vocoder make actual human words and harmonies or just wacky robotic voices? Can you tell immediately those aren't real voices but some kind of effect? Where does the keyboard come into play in making the vocals?

    I'm being overly cautious I guess cos 10 years ago or more when I was doing music I had bought by mail some sort of Vocal Harmony Processor. I don't recall the brand but it was rackmount, really hyped in the mags of the day, and about $800... and worthless to me. That thing did nothing but make my old druid narrations sound like I was on 1/2 speed. the "4 voice harmonies" just sounded like 4 echos of my own voice, it definately didn't sound like 4 different people singing, and as for making my voice female it didn't do that either.

    Does anyone know if Musicians Friend really takes their mechandise back within 45 days if you're not happy with it or will they only take it back if it arrived damaged?
    Josh Cook

    "I always thought chamber music was just a group of chamber maids getting together and jamming"
    -Dr. Katz

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    dafduc is offline B O F
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    This sounds pretty convincing and choirlike. Unless you select the vocoder preset, lol.

    The keyboard plays the carrier notes, you speak or sing the lyrics into the mic, the chioir singing your words comes out the main. It sounded good, if not 100% lifelike.

    There's a recording of Jordan Rudess putting a vp-550 through its paces that's supposed to be beyond awesome. Haven't seen it, though.

    Daf
    She was packed tighter than Vermonters in an Audi. - notCardio

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    mikeh is offline 2.5K Gold Member
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    I have not tried the Roland - but I owned vocal processors by Digitech and TC Helicon and Antares - I must anticipate the Roland is not significantly better or different than units I've worked with.

    No simulated vocal harmonies sound "realistic". There are obvious mechanical artifacts. Even to get the harmonies to be musically (harmonically) correct you have to have a decent undertanding of scales to either select the correct harmomies or to control via MIDI.

    Now, simulated harmonies can still be a very good tool. I find that if I generate the simulated harmonies, use those as guide tracks to lay "real harmony lines" (since I find it easier to sing certain harmony lines if I have a vocal line to follow) and then mix the simulated lines with/underneath the real harmonies - the end result can be very decent.

    Often only one real harmony (on a key harmony such as the 3rd above the melody) mixed in with the simulated voices can help hide the artificial artifacts.

    A word of warning - I've spent a fair amount of money on voice processors to get "realistic" harmonies and have determined the only way to get realistic harmonies is to use real singers.

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    SuperJX's Avatar
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    Fair amount of info on this synth on the Rolandclan site and the RolandUS home page. I think the Jordan Rudess video is at RolandUS from just after last summer's namm show.

    The VP-550 seems like an interesting board to me, but more as an effect than a real way to do harmonies. If you need a realistic choir, get a real choir imo But if you want synth-choir pads with some control via your voice, then the VP might be a good tool for that.

    From the demos I've seen, the VP sounds like a cross between a vocoder and a mellotron, and is very similar to the VC-2 software. I had thought about getting the VC-2 for my v-synth, but opted out. Prefer hardware and software vocoders for the stuff I play.

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