Roland’s keyboards, digital pianos, synthesizers and other instruments with virtual sounds have earned a reputation for excellent sound quality, durability and ease of use among musicians over the years. The VR-09 is not an exception, and it delivers the high standard of quality users have come to expect from the Roland name.
This machine was designed with the professional and performing musician in mind, and it delivers realistic sound and instantaneous control. The machine also features a looper and drum rhythms, essentials for the performing musician.
An LCD interface makes it easy for users to see what sounds and rhythms they’ve selected, and it aids users in adding effects quickly or splitting or layering. This machine offers the same 88 key layout as a piano and allows the user to combine seven DSP effects at once to create nearly any unique sound he or she desires.
The LCD interface displays information like the tone, rhythm pattern and effects in use, while 9 slider bars allow users real-time control over shaping the tone.
Players can add DSP effects to their tones as well, such as distortion, delay, reverb, chorus, compressor and more.
The machine also features knobs on the front panel dedicated for use with the DSP effects so players can make adjustments on the fly without having to navigate through menus. Moreover, the interface allows players to split the keyboard or to layer sounds with the touch of a button, making it ideal for performers.
Gigging musicians made up the bulk of users and reviewers, and most reviews of Roland’s VR-09 were extremely favorable. Musicians loved this machine’s ease of use on stage as well as its versatility with regard to sound.
Users typically loved not having to search through menus in order to find their desired sound or split the keyboard, and many found it ideal for playing rock, funk, blues, electronic and pop music.
Users frequently also loved the sound quality of tones available, especially the electric piano, synth and organ sounds, and many stated that the VR-09 was a great value for the money in this regard. Reviewers also found the unit relatively portable and light for a machine featuring 88 keys and the variety of sounds it produces.
Players’ main complaints about this machine were that it lacked an arpeggiator and that it could not split the keyboard into more than two sections.
Users who play classic rock suffer the most by the inability to split the keyboard into multiple tone sections since a lot of classic rock music features multiple tones often all played by the keyboardist.
Likewise, those who play electronic music, which often features heavy arpeggiation, would miss out the most on the lack of arpeggiator. Users who absolutely must have these features may want to consider Roland’s Juno synthesizer instead of the VR-09 or in addition to it.
The Roland VR-09 is still considered and excellent bang for the buck, especially for pro musicians looking for a machine to gig with. Musicians looking for a machine they can tweak quickly while performing won’t be disappointed with the VR-09, and its sound quality matches or exceeds similar machines in the same price point.
The instrument’s sound versatility is nearly limitless, making it easy for users to get exactly the sound they want. This instrument works extremely well for almost all gigging musicians except for those looking for an arpeggiator or the ability to split the keyboard in to more than two sections.