Real vs Virtual Roland VP-330 Compared

VSP-330 r2 VST plugin Sound Test (Roland VP-330)

Here’s a comparison, via gstormelectro, of an upcoming version of the virtual VSP-330 and the original vintage classic Roland VP-330:

For r2.0 I’m re-developing the VSP-330 from the ground up. The VSP-330 VST plugin is based on the vintage Roland VP-330 choirs and strings. This time around my goal IS to provide a faithful emulation replacing the instrument itself.

The difference that sets this emulation apart from all others out there: absolutely no samples are used in this plugin. I have taken great time and effort emulating the exact same synthesis and effects-processing architecture as the original vintage hardware.

The sounds you hear are testing the plugin against a real MKI VP-330. Which is the real one and which is the plugin? You might hear sustaining notes getting robbed….um yeah that would be the MKI (because it is PARAphonic, the whole key range sharing a single envelope) – a problem not encountered on the POLYphonic plugin.

No release date has been announced. See the G-Storm site for more demos.

22 thoughts on “Real vs Virtual Roland VP-330 Compared

  1. This article about a VST is sure to stir up a heated discussion like the IOS “bag of hurt” article did.

    Just kidding 😀

    Nice vid though, I love analog vs virtual comparison.

  2. Interesting – I don’t think anybody’s going to be able to identify which is which. More important is that it doesn’t really matter, because they both sound so good. Especially interesting that someone that owns one of these beasts still sees value in creating a virtual version.

    Some purist will probably diss this because it’s polyphonic!

  3. This sounds amazing. Always fancied a VSP 330 but havn’t yet bought one because i’ve seen no way to midi it, and as i’m not a ‘player’ I really need midi to get the best out of synths. This sounds totally brilliant and for the limited use i’d have for a VP 330 this would be all I need. I see its VST though, as i’m running Logic, like many people, I wont be able to use this. Wonder will be do an AU version of it?

  4. Great work. It is clearly a shame that all that hard work is in vain cause computers are unreliable, have serious, sync issues and when ‘one ‘ has bought the master keyboard ,top spec shit computer, you might as well have tracked down the original instrument.
    I visit friends with soft synths and it makes me laugh. They are fully aware of how lacking their set ups are. Hardware is faster to use and will not get messed when you include another piece of gear, unlike the way software clashes and new operating updates are needed. Hardware doesnt need constant upgrades to its structure unlike soft synths.
    Good luck and when you create a hardware version post that then the musicians will be interested.

    1. I’m going to have to disagree with you on a few points there, and I’m going to do it calmly and without swearing. Feel free to continue the debate without flaming everyone.

      >Computers are unreliable
      Mine have always worked just fine, but I use them just for working on – so no unnecessary background processes/viruses going on to slow it down.

      >Serious sync issues
      I don’t know what kind of computer you’re using, but syncing can either be totally automated or adjusted with literally one control. I’ve never found sync to be an issue even with slightly stupid setups.

      >”When ‘one ‘ has bought the master keyboard ,top spec shit computer, you might as well have tracked down the original instrument”
      There’s a vintage Minimoog Model D on eBay – the cheapest I could find at around $3000. If I were to spend that money on a computer and VSTs I’d have some serious (virtual) gear. Most of it would sound great. The Arturia Minimoog V sounds good. It’s not flawless, the filter response is a bit weird and the soft clip control actually makes the sound louder. The hybrid triangle/saw wave is totally wrong. But in a mix, how many consumers would notice the difference? Analog warmth can be emulated – not perfectly, but it can be. I’m NOT saying that a VST is better than the real thing, but arguing that a computer and MIDI controller costs more than a vintage synth is just wrong.

      >Hardware is faster to use
      It may be faster to tweak with, but there are also hardware synths like the Memorymoog which are all menus and one knob. I’d like to see you automate all of the parameters of a VP-330 at the same time during a song. I’m not saying that’s a necessity but being able to do it sure opens a hell of a lot of doors.

      >[hardware] will not get messed when you include another piece of gear
      Depends what it is. If you want to swap mixers that’s a hell of a lot of messing.

      >Hardware doesnt need constant upgrades to its structure unlike soft synths.
      I think it’s more that most hardware is simply not upgradable – unlike a computer.
      Not enough RAM in your computer > Buy more RAM, $100 tops.
      Not enough voices in your poly synth > buy another synth, you can pay as much as you like.

      >Software clashes
      Again, I’d love to know what kind of software you’re using – perhaps if you detailed us some of your experience with software synths and DAWs and the problems you encountered we could assist you in fixing them.

      >When you create a hardware version post that, then the musicians will be interested.
      I really don’t understand your argument here. This is what I think it’s meant to mean.
      Analog synth (for argument’s sake) 3xVCO to 1xVCF to 1xVCA to output. This is expandable (by purchasing another synth with different architecture or using a modular)

      VST – exactly the same signal path, only that if the musician wants to expand his horizons he can have as many oscillators, filters, amps, effects as his computer can handle – You’re saying that this is worse.

      Look at the price of the Arturia Moog modular, or even NI Reaktor. There’s just so much creative headroom there – maybe at the expense of sounding sample-accurate to analog hardware synth X, Y or Z. But the open canvas to create literally anything, to make any signal path or effects chain with just one mouse click and a swipe to the side, is what computer musicians love.

      Now, I’m a hardware nut too. If I had the money, I’d love to buy all the analog kit and a 4-track machine and all the mics for the drums and make “The Pleasure Principle” all over again. But what I really love is having the door open to make something totally new, unheard, bizarre, disgusting, annoying, upsetting, amazing. I’m not saying you can’t do that with hardware, because you can. But to discount all computers and plugins like you have is just wrong.

      So, feel free to reply – I’d love to know what your setup is and has been, both hardware and software, maybe we could work some kinks out. Obviously I’m not saying the analog way is wrong, or worse than software. Just that software could go anywhere.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Hello .
    First of all I have had synths for 28 years. Ataris when they came out , stfm’s ste’s etc.
    Used cubase since it sort of began. My first synth was a Jen, first midi one a CZ 101.
    I make techno , have had over 20 12’s out in the uk, america and europe. I have a teaching certificate and have taught MIDI, Sampling and sequencing to adults and also young people.
    Ok I think you start of in a flawed way choosing a model d has the opening to discredit my point about the price of equipment. I have never owned a Model d nor would pay that amount for a a synth. I have owned moogs, ( a rogue and a voyager) The model d is a comical synth to choose about costs. Sorry but that is daft way of trying to engage in a discussion.
    I was with two friends the other night , both acid and electro producers, we where in a purpose built studio room , one of the guys is a Beta tester for a top music software (he has just bought is first hardware modular), the other a music tech tutor.They and myself included have current vinyl records to our name , with releases in three different countries. We make music and have a big interest in it and between us have a lot of equipment and experience. We have found and do find computers and syncing up equipment , more hit and miss today than we did in the days of ataris. We see latency problems time and time again. Drifts in timing . Clashes in software etc If you don’t experience that I am so pleased for you . Why are you in isolation from the rest of us ?
    ‘ exactly the same signal path, only that if the musician wants to expand his horizons he can have as many oscillators, filters, amps, effects as his computer can handle – You’re saying that this is worse’ how do you arrive at this as been something I said.
    For your defence of soft synths , the market is turning to hardware. So maybe you are behind quite seriously on currents within music technology.
    Music is a priority not endless experiments trying to get computers to perform what they are supposed to do for us.
    I would like to wish you well with your set up.
    PS Why would I want to automate all the parameters of a hardware device live? A few maybe not all?

    1. > the market is turning to hardware. So maybe you are behind quite
      >seriously on currents within music technology.

      This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard all month! Thanks for the laugh.

  6. @Audio Hooligan, not everyone can afford vintage hardware, so why dont you relax being so dismissive of computers and those who either choose to use them, or have no choice but to use them. I own a large vintage synth collection, including a JP8, JP4, System 100, Multimoog, Pro One, MonoPoly, Juno 60, Mopho Keyboard and Sh-101, so i know and thing or two about the real thing and I find soft synths, when used correctly, can be brilliant. I’ve never had sync issues, no idea what your talking about, but I have had major headaches in the past trying to sync up various manufacturers drum machines with various midi and non midi synths. Software clashes do happen, but so what, its always been that way and its almost always fixable. Its called progress.

    And you comment “‘one ‘ has bought the master keyboard ,top spec shit computer, you might as well have tracked down the original instrument” makes no sense. You dont have to buy a master keyboard and computer for each of the virtual instruments, you buy them once. Even if you bought all the good vintage emulations out there, of which there are probably around 20, plus a macbook pro and a soundcard you might have spent enough to cover a couple of vintage synths, but thats it. You wouldn’t even have spent enough to buy a JP8.

    So I don’t really get your point. This sounds like a very good emulation, not sure why your suggesting otherwise and if it were available as an Audio Unit i’d buy it, because I love that sound but I don’t want the hardware, I have enough hardware.

    Theres a place for everything.

    1. One second, who used the word vintage hardware? I didn’t.You can pick up lots of good cheap synths second hand the ones not in vogue but are solid machines, Novation stuff is cheap and good and lasts a long time. The model d reference was someone elses. Computers and software can be way more expensive than getting a desk, a synth, and some outboard effects. That is fact. I do not use vintage gear , even though I have some analogues. I think your angered by what you think is being said rather than what I clearly say. Read thru my points and you will see vintage is not used by me.

  7. Can’t we all just move on from this…It’s 2012 and there are tons of brilliant hardware options out there for anyone lucky enough to use to make music with. Also, in this wonderfully resourceful time there are some really smart people capable of creating software based tools that are totally unique and inventive and useful to anyone with an open mind and the creative instincts to utilize these tools in a fresh way.
    Anyone who dismisses ANY one way of creating art in this day in age is basically at least a little behind and facing the wrong way. I can create a fucking track with nothing but a single 58 if that were all I had at hand. My point is that no matter what “one” uses to create, the most important ingredient is always gonna be talent followed by taste with at least a little bit of redundancy. Simple.
    Enough with the snobery already.

  8. It is not snobbery, to be critical of software . I have a modest hardware set up , and get more music released that anyone I know pissing about with software . I see upgraded comps after upgrades, every time I see mates with soft synths it is hilarious , they produce v little and show you this great software and that great software and then you say , what have you finished? and they say they are working on it. I go along with the less is more concept. I have not money to waste but more importantly time is an issue .So less distractions more work.
    For me also it is about sound quality. If all those soft synths where coming out of seperate outs they could be mixed better on a mixer, they are not!! The lack of physical out puts is another weakness in my opinion. Many people sold hardware only to wish they hadn’t.
    I was being shown an I pad recently , and it could hardly play any content of you tube, the machine looked great ,but it was utter rubbish, loads of music apps but it isn’t even touch sensitive.When I asked that the guy if it was he went quiet. I think he knew it was a case of style over content. I reckon if you had five hundred quid for an I pad, you could use that five to buy a small mixer, synth and effects .
    Being critical is what creates change. You see someone who gets there hands on hardware gear after soft synths and you see them get fired up about music.
    Check all the shit I pad videos, then see the same guys review hardware.It is evident on their faces the way they are inspired by realtime control (and no fuckin latency issues)

    1. If you’re not gonna stop arguing with everybody, can you please stop tooting your own horn? You sound like one of those douchebag DJs or hip hop “producers”, “I have 20 12’s in 3 countries.” We get it, you’re some crazy purist like those classical musicians who still dont consider the electric guitar an instrument.

      On the vst, very well done. I really hope he doesn’t charge for it.

    2. >It is not snobbery, to be critical of software .

      Dude, every word you type is dripping with snobbery! LOL

      You are very small-focused on your views. You seem to be forgetting all the sound designers and musicians who make film scores, television shows, content for games, etc. Tons of that stuff comes from software, because there isn’t always a full orchestra at hand, or room to store all that ethnic percussion. And guess what? People who consume that content love it, and never once whine about the filters not sounding “analog”. I would dare say all those content creators know enough about sound design and studio production to get things done with high quality. And I would be big money that most of the music you rave on about as being done with hardware, really wasn’t.

      So you want hardware for your techno filter sweeps? Fine. Knock yourself out. But don’t think for a minute that just because you do it, and possibly make money with it, that everyone else has to be just like you. There are lots of ways to do things these days, and that’s a good thing. Back in the 80s and 90s I dreamed of having tools like we do know… no way in hell I’d ever bitch about them. 🙂

  9. @audiohlooligan.

    In your pot you say “you could have bought the original instrument”. The original instrument in question is a rare and expensve vintage string machine. So I think it was you who planted the idea of vintage, so thats your fault. If you had meant hardware in more general terms you should have been more specific, you certainly wrote enough.

    Your mates sound like losers. The most prolific ‘releaser’ and finisher of music in my group of friends currently does it all on a laptop that he got for free, using free plug ins because he can’t afford to buy a quality set up. He has released 15 albums in 10 years, 3 of which were done in the last 2 years on this basic soft synth set up.

    On another note, can you tell us about the music you’ve released?

  10. Too bad the real vs iPad version wasn’t made clear in the video. Kind of gets the point across while totally not getting the point across. Looks like a good job otherwise on the interface and sound quality.

  11. Just curious… what about the actual vocoder section? Does that work? btw, I have used softsynths and hardware. Softsynths for 10+ years and hardware for 20+ years. Really prefer hardware these days. Haven’t touched a softsynth in over a year… wait you can’t touch a softsynth. Hmmmm.

  12. Using hardware and software for 35+ years; and I wrote the first magazine review of a MIDI hardware sequencer for Polyphony, blah blah. Love hardware. Love software. Software is great when either one cannot afford the hardware, the emulated hardware is unreliable and may not work when turned on at all (um, more reliable than computer… um no). Fact is, hardware and software are BOTH musical tools in the right hands. Plenty of hardware geeks can’t play a note, create an original melody, or play a four note chord. Plenty of so called musicians know how to sample their vintage vinyl but couldn’t create the original lick on the disc for all their vaunted gear. Meanwhile in the real world, plenty of folks using software are playing gigs, winning a Grammy, write original and lasting music, and don’t belittle others for their choice of tools. And then there are the people who are obviously jealous of what others can do and have either a golden ears or golden gear syndrome. The rest of us can make music and not just denigrate and belittle the work and efforts of others. Without naming names, one guy on here is a total tool, and a rusty old broken one at that. Peace out.

Leave a Reply