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In-depth Feature:  Roland XV-2020
Albert Potts writes: .

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...continued

Get Connected
On the rear panel are stereo outputs on 1/4" and RCA connectors, MIDI In/Out/Thru jacks, and the DC input for the external power supply. The stereo outputs are parallel, meaning the same signal is sent to both 1/4" and RCA jacks. This is quite handy, as in a live show setup the 1/4" connectors could feed direct boxes going to the house system, while the RCA outputs feed an onstage keyboard monitor. This said, I wish the four outputs could function as two independent stereo pairs, as in the XV-5050. While I am not normally a fan of wall wart power supplies, in this case it makes sense, as the XV-2020 is gloriously small without an internal power supply. Also, after using the XV-2020 in a hot orchestra pit for several hours the case was cool to the touch, with no evidence of any heat build-up.

Patches and Presets
The XV-2020 has four banks of patch presets, half the banks available in the XV-5080/5050. However, I never felt there was a shortage of patches to choose from, and Roland has done a great job of including a large number of useful sounds from the XV library. There are also 256 GM patches, plus the two banks of preset patches corresponding to the SRX cards when they are present. There are also 64 preset performances and eight rhythm presets. Finally, there are 128 user patches, 64 performance, and 4 user rhythm slots.

Patches can be easily accessed - by selecting the bank then scrolling through the patches via the Value knob. The Value knob is speed sensitive, so that faster turning zips through the patches more quickly. The action of the knob felt natural to me and I was happy that I didn't have to spin the knob overly much to select sounds at opposite ends of banks. Unfortunately, only patch numbers are visible on the 3-segment LED. Because of this it's important to have a hardcopy of the patch list nearby, or run the XV Editor software. Roland's patch category system makes finding patches easy, however. Like all XV patches, they can be assigned a category and are then sorted into those categories. For example, by selecting the "Piano" category with the Category/Bank knob, it becomes possible to quickly audition only piano related patches. Other categories include: Keyboard/Organ, Guitar/Bass, Orch/Brass, Synth/Pad, Ethnic, and Rhythm/FX. While Roland has designed this interface beautifully, I found it a bit daunting in a live setting to come up with patches quickly without viewing patch names on the display. This is when the XV Editor software and a laptop really become important.

Editing
Front panel editing is limited, although Roland has done an excellent job of making the most essential patch and performance parameters available through various combinations of knob presses and selections. For example, to edit the pan position of a patch you press the Volume and Value knobs at the same time to enter edit mode, then turn the Category knob one click to the right to get to the pan menu. Displayed on the screen will be the pan position, as in "L18" or "45R", or whatever it is. This is adjusted using the Value knob. Once the knob press sequences are memorized it's easy to negotiate the XV-2020. Instructions are silk-screened on top of the unit, which is a big help. I wish more instructions were included though, as there is space for them. In particular, the knob presses required for writing patch/performances to memory and the various system functions would have been helpful.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • XV-2020 pages at Roland
  • XV-2020 User Reviews@ Synth Site

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       1 Comments...  
    DMorrow    Said...

    Thank you for this great information. I now have this discontinued item and it is still revalent.

    08-Mar-09 11:12 AM


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