VR Bugs, Tips & Tricks

[TIP] Periodic Cleaning and Maintenance

VR09/730 are workhorses. They are solid but periodic (monthly/seasonal/annual) maintenance can extend lifetime and avoid e.g. contact problems that (Murphys Law) poppup while you’re in a plain solo in front of 1500 people :). Regular cleaning will also prevent dust to crawl in between the key contacts causing ‘key fails’

Dust, Dirt, Grease:

  • clean: a ‘textile’ fabric (e.g. fleece towel – don’t use paper towels as they cause scratches) and a bit of glass (windows) cleaner (or ‘PC display cleaning liquid’) for cleaning the housing, the display and the keys.
  • dust prevention: use dust covers. A zero-cost solution is a simple plastic tarpaulin (see GEAR)
  • dust cleaning: when you hoover your apartment, spend two minutes on your VR: use the crevice or brush nozzle and hoover “between the keys” to get out dust from the inside
  • dust maintenance: every 2 years (in a dusty environment once a year) open the VR, use a vacuum cleaner to get out dust, breadcrumbs, hair, eyebrows, tobacco, fingernails… carefully whipe-off coke, beer, coffee, etc

Electrics (faders, pots, switches)

Faders, pots, etc can fail by ‘use’, dust or oxidation. For a ‘young board’ like the VRs, use and oxidations are quite unlikely and dust’ is the common reason for electric contact problems. Dust can affect the (drawbar) faders, the potentiometers (‘knobs’) and the key contacts.

WARNING:
N E V E R use aggressive electric cleaners (e.g. for car electrics like KONTAKT-60). These cleaners will initially do a monster clean – followed by a longterm destruction of electrical components. If you accidentally have used aggressive cleaner, flush the involved parts (fader/switches/boards/connectors…) with pure alcohol.
N E V E R use thinners or acetone: these can destroy (printed) electrical boards within seconds and also dissolve plastic parts (exception: ‘VR09 key mod by acetone’…). For cleaning electrical boards, use pure alcohol (Isopropanol) .
N E V E R use spray oils like WD-40: these have aggressive components (for dissolving rust) that can cause corrosion to electrical components. Those oils also ‘wander’ on the boards and finally will cover larger areas.

For cleaning and ‘deoxidating’ petentionmeters, faders, switches etc. only use soft ‘electronic contact cleaners’ (note the difference: not ‘electric’ but ‘electronic’) Good and reasonably priced: Oszillin Teslanol T6. US boys swear on ‘Caig DeoxIT’ products (expensive as golden ‘fabricated-in-donkey-blood-at-full-moon’ Voodoo-HIFI cables)

Once a year you should maintain the drawbar faders with electronic contact cleaner. Use the spray nozzle to push a tiny amount of cleaner through the fader slit into the fader pot
In case of serious contact problems (very dirty faders), open the VR, remove the electronic board with faders, massively flush the fader potentiometers with contact cleaner until all dirt is washed out out. Clean (dry) the boards with paper towels
After cleaning you can lubricate faders/pots: use a tiny amount of electronic lubrification spray (e.g. KONTAKT-61, DeoxIT Fader Lube). Don’t use grease or oil : this will collect and bind dust.

[TIP] Scratchy volume knob

The VR volume pot is known for contact troubles (turning the pot adds a scratch noise to the sound): pull the knob hat off (carefully slide a knife between knob and housing, then lift it slowly without force). Spray a tiny amount of contact clearner (see ‘electrics maintenance’) along the shaft and turn the pot ca. 30 times, switch VR on and test if the ‘scratch noise’ has disappeared. If not, repeat. If still scratchy, open the VR, undo the board with the volume knob, flush the potentiometer with a heavy dose of contact spray (protect the board with a kitchen towel from flooding everything with contact spray)

[TIP] Beer Desaster Recovery

The most celebrated attack to a keyboard is the ‘beer bomb’ (coffee, orange juce, cat wee …):

immediatly switch the key off, if possible unplug the power cord to prevent internal shortcuts
open the VR (see v-combo website specials), unmount the affected parts
clean boards/components in your shower, dab them dry with paper towels
now flush them with destilled water, again dab them dry with with paper towels
finally flush the boards with pure alcohol (isopropanol) which binds and carries away remaining traces of water
let the boards dry for some days
when reassembling spray some soft electronic cleaner into the pots, faders and wire connectors

[TIP] Layer / split with 2 sounds of same group

Howto create a layer or split with sounds of the same group (e.g. layering 2 acoustic pianos from PIANO group):

  • create a layer (split) ‘as usual’ with 2 sounds from 2 groups (e.g. by pressing PIANO + E.PIANO sound selector buttons)
  • use the CURSOR buttons to step in the display to the sound of which you want change the group (here the E.PIANO sound)
  • now press the sound selector button of the 1st group (‘PIANO’) and use the cursors or dial to select the desired instrument (a.g. a 2nd piano)

[TIP] Using ‘PK Pedal’ socket as (addtional) Midi-In for bass

The ‘PK IN’ socket (for attaching a Roland PK organ pedal) works as a normal 5-pin Midi-in socket for the ‘bass’ section of the VR. You can plug any midi controller (midi keyboard, midi organ pedal, sequencer etc) into the socket using an ordinary 5-pin midi cable (this does NOT cause any harm) to play VR organ bass or ‘zone 4’ (‘bass zone’) set up with CTRLR EDITOR.

[BUG] Pitch Bend stepping

VR has a ‘resolution’ bug in the pitch bend by VR joystick and D-Beam: for each direction, ‘joystick-bend’ is split into (maximal) 14 steps, ‘D-Beam-bend’ into 35 steps – the correct standard resolution for pitch bend would be 16383 (!) steps
   – Joystick: 14 steps for pitch up, 10-14 steps for pitch down (number is not constant)
   – D-Beam: 35 steps for pitch up, 35 steps for pitch down
For a halftone or tone bend range, the steppping is noticable when listening carefully but can be ignored in a live context
For lager bend ranges the stepping makes the joystick unusable: for +/- 1 octave, a pitch sweep is broken into quasi halftone steps

The annoying thing is, that the VR is very well capable of high resolution pitch bend: pitch bend send via midi ((“En ll mm”-message) works flawlessly…

WORKAROUNDS:

  1. D-BEAM: D-beam ‘pitch’ resolves into 35 steps for each direction – a bit better than the joystick. Note:
        – ‘pitch bend RANGE’ setting ( VR Menu ‘CONTROL’) also applies to the D-beam pitch
        – D-Beam ‘standard’ has only ‘pitch down’: to perform pitch up:
              – cover the D-Beam, press the ‘final note’, then lift the hand
              – or use CTRLR EDITOR to set D-Beam ‘pitch up’ (‘hidden setting that saves to VR registrations)
  2. PORTAMENTO: in certain cases, VR portamento (from VR Menu) may be used instead of pitch bend. It is ‘continuous’ and can shift any interval (several octaves)
  3. MIDI: e.g. the pitch lever/wheel of an external key or midi controller midied into the VR

[BUG] Organ ‘note retrigger bug’:

When playing the same organ tone on different keys one key retriggers (restarts) the other (both on lower key press and release). This generates ‘false key-clicks’ and gets extremely disturbing when playing with both hands, adding a kind of ‘clatter noise’ (like dirty key contacts on vintage organs). It’s not much of a problem when playing simple chords or ‘monophonic solos’ but becomes serious for any jazz or ‘enhanced rock’ playing (n.b. this bug already appeared in previous VR organ engines)

The most simple ‘constellation’ is e.g. using drawbar 8″ on lower and upper manuals and playing the same note (e.g. C4) on each manual: while holding note C4 on upper, each time of pressing and releasing C4 on lower restarts (retriggers) the upper tone which produces ‘non played’ key klicks
The effect appears with any combination of ‘equal tones (frequencies)’, eg. between drawbars 4″ and 8″ played with 1 octave difference or with harmonic drawbars (e.g. 5 1/2 + 8) as long as the same note is played. It happens not only between lower and upper manual but also within a single manual – where it is less pronounced.

WORKAROUNDS:
Most simple solution: you’re one of those that don’t hear the ‘clicking’ – or even if, don’t feel pertubated.
If you are not the simple solution, try to limit ‘overcrossing’ drawbars between lower and upper: avoid ‘higher harmonic’ drawbars in lower manual and play it in a different tone range than upper (rather like an organ bass). Avoid ‘soloing’ on lower (as each ‘lower key hit’ will retrigger upper manual tones or entire chords)

[BUG] Organ volume is not saved in a ‘mixed registration’

When organ is part of a split registration with non-organ sounds, its volume always falls back to the ‘default’ volume when recalling the registration

WORKAROUND: use both ‘organ Low/High Gain (VR menu ‘organ’) to in(de)crease organ volume – be aware that this has some impact on the sound itself

[TIP] MONO vs. STEREO amping

The VR is NOT GOOD at mono-sounds. While some high spec keyboards switch to specially recorded ‘real mono samples’ when only the ‘Line-out L/Mono’ is used, the VR just adds the 2 stereo R+L signals to mono signal.
The problem is that stupid adding of stereo R+L produces so called ‘interferences’: frequency ranges can be wiped out wheras others are overemphasized, and also so called ‘beats’ can appear (like a chorus effect).
So when running the VR only through Lineout L/Mono, e.g. the acoustic piano sound is worse than a pure ‘mono recording’.
Unfortunately the builtin “MONO PIANO” is not a mono recording neither: obviously Roland just summed a stereo-piano.
For this reason it’s highly recommended to use the VR always in STEREO – with 2 speakers or with a ‘twin amp’. See Amps, Monitors, etc for examples