Synth Site: Roland / Rhodes: VK-1000 : User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Brad a part-time user from USA writes:
Roland breifly purchased the Rhodes name from Fender around 1989 and made an excellent organ emulator with 76 keys that still sounds good given its age. There are also a couple of decent Rhodes and Wurly tones, very nice vibes, a chimes patch, and some decidedly harsh analog wave sounds that are only useful slathered with effects in my opinion...more about that later. The sampled wave forms are assigned to 9 Hammond-like drawbars for the tone wheels (the clicky kind with 1-8's) and 4 more drawbars for the percussion (hammond type metallic tinks...not beat box). The percussion can be adjusted legatto (like a real Hammond) or triggered with every key press. The 4 drawbars give you the normal chime and the 1/3rd up, plus two more lower ones. Those bars are designated left to right: 4'white, 2 2/3'black, 2'white, and 1 3/5'black. It is handy to be able to adjust the volumes of the tinks with the drawbars as opposed to to just on/off and normal/soft as on a Hammond. There is a button labeled "Percussion": lit is "Soft", un-lit is "Normal". Oddly, rather than making the percussion softer, lighting that button actually gives the tone wheels a volume boost over the perc. There are decent effects on board. Choices include Wah (auto or pedal control), overdrive (a little goes a long way), EQ (settings in each patch memory), Rotary (switchable to flanger or phaser and a button to change the pitch bend stick into a fast/slow/stop control), and reverb (switchable to delay but not both at the same time). There is very deep editing available for a remarkable amount of parameters...the multi-tap delay being one of my favorites. There are also 3 assignable faders; my favorite settings include Tone (sweepable dark to bright), Overdrive gain, and Reverb level, but they have a vast selection of other parameters available. The rotory emulation is just okay at best, but still usable even though it seems more like just vibrato speeding up and slowing down to my ears. I much prefer to use the Boss RT-20 pedal when there's no real Leslie available. The phaser is awesome on the EP's, and there's a nice vibrato available for the very real sounding vibes.

MIDI control parameter options are amoung the deepest I've seen, even for dedicated controllers. Being able to transpose the MIDI out differently from the internal sound is handy. Easy assigning of any patch change to any bank number on the VK-1000 means you don't have to reprogram the order of sounds on the slave synths to match a particular internal sound. Lighted MIDI defeat buttons at the far right are very handy.

Aside from the 'not quite' rotary effect, there are a couple of big uglies about this board: 1) The buttons break very easily...mine primarily due to the contacts getting dirty and faulting and then my frustrated pressings and wrigglings are more than the tiny little plactic thingies can take. 2) The black keys break very easily from exuberant glissandos. I'm amazed how poorly the keybed is designed and the tiny 1/32-inch sliver of plastic is all that holds the black keys in place. SHEESH! I have super-glued several busted peices and moved them to the far right, top of the keyboard as those are the keys I use the least. Three of them have since broken again...ERG!

The keyboard does not have aftertouch and the velocity sensitivity seems very abrupt with the EP's and is very noticable controlling external synths via MIDI despite the several velocity switching parameters. Actually it can be very expressive once you get used to the light touch.

The VK-1000 physically is a very large box 50" long x 20 1/4" wide x 4 1/2" deep, but probably weighs in below 40 lbs. It has a 9 1/2" wide, flat deck where another keyboard or a laptop and small controller may reside. Nice!

Overall I still use it and still love it, but when the right priced replacement clone wheel comes along...

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jul-30-2011 at 19:34
frank Savino a professional user from USA writes:
Killer keyboard. If you need a B3, but don't have 3 roadies, this is the one for you.

The B-3 sound, overdrive and leslie sim sound great just as it is running through any good stereo stage setup. I run it through 4 souped up leslies, and it kills. Also the extra octave comes in handy if you want to split the keyboard into 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 octave.

If you can find one buy it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jan-26-2006 at 04:44
michiel de malsche a professional user from belgium writes:
i found a vk 1000 by accident and paid 500euro s for it, I love the organ sounds, and the leslie simultor is the best I ve ever heard. I use it as well for jazz, rock, reggae, funk,...It s a realy good, interesting instrument...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Aug-23-2004 at 10:08
steve murray a part-time user from canada writes:
This is my baby. This is simply one of the greatest keyboards ever built. The organ sound is amazing with the overdrive & leslie effect. I always have this organ on stage with me. I think, this is the best organ since the B3.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-May-17-2004 at 23:24
Tanner a professional user from Switzerland writes:
I was searching for a B3 like sound for the stage.

The VK-1000 is very impresive and I like these drawbar keyboard very much.

But it is not only a superb Organ and E-Piano sonding keyboard! It comes also with nice Synthlike sound that you can change with the drawbars. And a nice effects section is also here.

I use also the Chrimes tones with som reverse envelopes for new electronic musik parts!

And I also use the Masterkeyboard features. I can control two soundmodules with programmchanges, 3 pedals and 3 faders!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-02-2004 at 04:53
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