One of the more interesting announcements from the MESSE sort of slipped out at a "We're Great!" Roland press bash. When showing the VariOS module, the Japanese gentleman presenting, showed a couple of possible applications they had put together to demonstrate the power and open endedness of the VariOS system. These were effectively Jupiter 8 and TB-303 emulations. Quite a bombshell and a very interesting development when you consider the rich history of Rolands vintage past. Indeed given the simultaneous news that Korg were to be introducing vintage emulations of their own (MS-20, Wavestation and Polysix) in plug-in form.
Now some time has passed, Roland have announced these two items as hard products.
The VariOS-8 and VariOS 303 are essentially a polyphonic Analog Modeling Synth (which can re-create Roland's vintage Juno and Jupiter
synths) and monophonic Analog Modeling Bass Synth (to re-create a Roland
TB-303 Bassline synth) respectively, but with modern conveniences like
onboard effects and more.
As we all know, Roland's analog polysynths have been used by countless musicians
worldwide. Now these sounds are available in the new VariOS-8. This
analog-modeled softsynth includes two oscillators with a choice of several
analog waveforms and sub-oscillator emulation?plus low-pass and high-pass
filters connected in serial, envelope generators, LFOs and an arpeggiator.
New features include the ability to configure the oscillators for
intermodulation and waveform sync, plus professional-quality effects and
detailed editing screens. And since the VariOS module can work stand-alone,
you can use the VariOS-8 like a preset analog modeling synth, all with zero
The second firmware update is the VariOS 303, an analog-modeled bass
synth reminiscent of Roland's vintage TB-303 Bass Line. All of the original
controls are provided, including the step sequencer and "Slide"
parameter, plus an impressive collection of effects that give the VariOS 303
even more aggressive sounds. These effects include a compressor,
overdrive/distortion, chorus, delay and 3-band EQ, all connected in serial.
There are also two ways to create patterns. Users can choose from the
classic step sequencing of the original, or they can use the new Slider
Pattern screen for easier programming.
The VariOS firmware can always be reverted back to its
original audio manipulation functions. In this configuration, users can
independently manipulate pitch, time and formant, add effects and even
build complete audio-based arrangements, all in a realtime environment. Best
of all, since all processing is handled by the VariOS module, users can
take advantage of the original V-Producer software and the new VariOS-8 and
VariOS 303 without tapping into their computer's CPU resources.
By June 1, 2003, VariOS-8 and VariOS 303 will be bundled with all new
VariOS modules shipped from Roland, and will be available to registered
users via download.