Synth Site: Roland: Sound Canvas SC-8850: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.8 out of 5
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Simon a part-time user from USA writes:
Don't know where the first reviewer came up with the sound ratings... %50 percent for strings? The SC has some of the best strings (and best of just about every other accustic instrument) short of a lovingly crafted sample set or a $3000 Motif. Besides nicer (and much wetter) effects on the XV5080 theres no difference between the SC8850's strings (and many other accoustic patches) at $500-ish bucks and the $1800 monster. It's not going to be a meat n 'taters module for someone who's idea of variation is ten minutes of LFO sweep on the same 5 note melody (though it has kick ass pads) or a hip hop DJ, but for someone who wants the best all around simulations of real instruments without sampling it's hard to impossible to beat in one package.

The SC8850 has all the sounds of the SC55, 88 and 88pro and it's own of course. This translates into a bunch of sounds that ARE duplicates (or very subtly different) but it also means that you get variations of a lot of the basic patches from subtly different to very different. So if the 8850's tremmelo strings aren't right for the part, you can try the SC55's which sound more tremulous.

Or you can try the 8850's or SC88pro's "variations" MANY of the variations are more convicing and sonically accurate than the main patch (which of course is a product of the fact that EVERYONE hears things differently and thus has different ideas about what is realistic), many have a serious untility (mutes on the horns, or french horn rip for instance) that are hard to recreate with midi. Orchestra hit is a good example, want one that doesn't sound like you just walked into a rave? there are a bunch of variations (some that are specifically intended to sound like you just wAlked into a rave). This may be the modules strongest single point; great bang for the buck.

Once you know this module inside and out you'll start recognizing it's patches in movie soundtracks, comercials, TV intros (been hearing the SC's in discovery channel tracks for years now), and especially game soundtracks.

Even if you're into spending hours creating convincing sample sets, the Soundcanvas's make great compositional tools for when you'd rather be making music than sounds. The sounds that are weak (guitars, most of the non-orchestral wind instruments) are weak on every other synth out there as well.

Highlights: choir aahs (hands down the best), French Horn rip (love that) fantastic strings, and orchestral brass/winds. Great Saw and Square leads, basically if don't require patch cables and knobs for your main tone generator you should check one out.

I will admit that I have a definite brand loyalty towards Roland gear, that comes I guess from their gear being better sounding and better made than other stuff I've bought that does the same thing.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jun-12-2002 at 05:27
Jonathan B. a professional user from NY writes:
Absolutely superb. So much things in such a small box. Great sounds, great FX, 64 part, 128 poly.Go and try.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Aug-08-2000 at 16:54
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