GEAR

Recommended Gear for VR09/VR730


Dust covers

  • Higly recommended: Gewa Economy keyboard cover (and comparable brands):
    easy to put on (no fiddling with stretch), thick fabric protects against liquids and impacts (stores, amazon etc, ca. 13 €/$):
       VR09: Gewa 275160 (102x40x6cm)
       VR730: Gewa 275120 (122x44x6cm)
    bargain: (identical) covers from ‘Music Steinbach’ Germany (7 €):
       VR09: Steinbach Abdeckung (102 x 40 x 8 cm)
       VR730: Steinbach Abdeckung (122 x 44 x 8 cm)
  • Rockbag (Warwick) dust covers:
    Nice (stretch) covers leaving the rear jacks free (stores, amazon, ca. 15 €/$)
       VR09: (too large)
       VR730: RB21718B-122

Gig Bags

  • VR09:
    Gator G-PG 61 SLIM :

    THE BAG for VR09: not cheap (watch for offers, e.g. gear4music), fits like a glove, best quality and best padding on the market, semi-rigid (cannot be plied!), ca 3 kilos

    Gator GKB-61 SLIM : compared to P-GP: same perfect fit, half price, a bit lighter, flexible, no shoulder straps. Will do the job also very well.

  • VR730:
    CNB KBB1600/76: good low cost gig bag, well made with decent reinforcing, 15mm foam padding, the keyboard fits neatly inside & as it has backpack style straps it’s way more comfortable to carry than most bags. There’s a 61 key sized bag as well for VR09s. It’s not the Rolls Royce of bags but for the price it’s pretty damn good. The CNBs are sold by smaller shops, prices vary from 70-100 Euros, actually (May 2021): ‘Van Ginkel Muziek’ (Holland), ‘Anchor Music’ (Germany – via Reverb.com), ‘Jimmy Market’ (Slovenia), ‘Music Direct Shop’ (Germany), ‘Musik Lenz’ (Austria).
    STAGG KTC-128: rigid Trolleybag with wooden support pannels, good fit (inner dimensions 125x42x13cm and can be adapted by included foam pads). Heavy (ca 10 kg). Price ca. 140-150 Euros. Very popular bag in Europe that can easly be found 2nd hand.

Flight Cases

  • VR09 and VR30:
    Thomann ‘Thon’ series
    highly affordable flight cases ‘made-to-measure’ for VR09 and 730 can be ordered from Thomann Europe.
    Options can be added to the wooden base package (coloured panels, lightweight honeycomb plastic, trolley/wheels, ‘play-in-the-case’ option, additional ‘gear compartement’).
    Depending on your VR, go to one the links, eventually change language –
    then select manufacturer ‘Roland’ and model VR09 or VR730 and chose your options:

    VR09 ‘Standard case’: wood 9kg (130€), plastic 7kg (145€)
    VR09 ‘Special case’: wood 10kg (150€) , plastic 8kg (160€)
    VR730 ‘Standard case’: wood 13kg (140€) , plastic 10kg (155€)
    VR730 ‘Special case’: wood 14kg (185€) , plastic 11kg (200€)

    ‘Special’ version is slightly reeinforced and has big self-lockable fastenings as shown in the pic

    Music rests

    • VR09:
      VR09 (VR09B) has 2 holes in the housing for plugging a music rest into:

      Roland plexiglas stand for BK5 / E-A7 keyboards fits (Roland No. 7782807000 ca. 90 USD/Euros, Aliexpress: ca. 60 USD).
      Music stand for Thomann SP 320 (cheap, light) fits plug&play (ca 10 USD/Euros): www.thomann.de/de/thomann_music_stand_for_sp_320.htm
    • VR730:
      VR730 does NOT have any mounting system for a music rest. Either you modify the chassis or you place e.g. an ‘orchestral music stand’ behind the VR.

      ‘orchestra music stand’: cheap stands (ca. 15 €/$) are currently available anywhere. They are sufficently robust for using with a stationary keyboard setup

    Damper (sustain) pedals & foot switches (Leslie)

    As all Rolands, the VR needs ‘momentary foot switches’ with inverted polarity (the contact opens when the pedal is pressed).
    It’s recommended to use pedals where the the polarity can be switched (so that they also can be used on other keyboards)

    If the pedal is mainly used as piano damper/sustain it’s recommended to use ‘piano type damper pedals’ which give a better feel for piano playing
    Good pedals are:

    • Fatar FVP1-10 (opener) and FVP1-25 (polarity switch)
    • Fatar FVP2 double pedal (opener)
    • Miditech MP-1 (polarity switch)
    • Roland DP 10 (opener): quite heavy, anti-slip ‘rubber foot plate’, half-damper (not usable on VR)

    If place / transportation is an argument, slim ‘foot switches’ (from guitar corner) can be used as damper or (leslie) switch:

    • BOSS FS5 U (polarity switch): full metal ‘all time classics’. Multiple FS5 can be clipped to each other for a ‘board’
    • Lead Foot LFD-1: the BOSS-clone: plastic but sturdy. Very good pedal for a fraction of the price of Boss (Thomann, 8 (!) Euros)
    • Zoom FS01 (opener): super flat (the ideal ‘pocket-pedal’), full metal. Very precise action

    A mighty ‘pedal board’ is the Behringer FCB 1010 midi-board equipped with ‘UnO2 upgrade chip’: The ‘UNO2’ eprom allows the pedals to send midi SysEx which is understood by the VR and allows triggering of any VR function (e.g. changing MFX, setting a Delay etc).

    Expression pedals

    A real ‘organ expression‘ pedal should at least have 8 cm of ‘physical travel’ (min-max measured at pedal ‘toe’ side). Pedals usually have 5-10 mm ‘idle’ at min/max, reducing the ‘effective travel’ (where the VR reacts to the movement).
    ‘Real organ expression’ pedals are big and heavy, for stage use you might prefer a light ‘short travel’ pedal – but you’ll run into trouble because of the ‘VR expression pedal bug’ (see next questions)

    1. Compact ‘short travel’ pedals: when used on the VR they provide only ca. 1 cm of ‘effective travel’ and act like on-off switches. Travel can be ‘normalised’ by modifying the pedal (see Expression Pedal Fix).
      Examples: Roland EV5 (‘branded’ $20 pedal), M-Audio EX-P, Bespeco VM18L, Nektar NXP
    2. long-travel-pedals (‘organ’ expression pedals) : when used on the VR they provide only ca. 3-4 cm of effective travel. Travel can be ‘normalised’ by modifying the pedal (see Expression Pedal Fix).
      Examples are Behringer FCV 100, Yamaha FC7, Roland EV-7 (not sold any more)

    Simple build ‘short lift’ pedals. Construction and materials are nearly identical. Supercheap M-Audio will work as good ‘you pay trice for the name’ Roland or Line6:

    Pedal price (EU) polarity switch volume offset remarks
    M-Audio EX-P 17 € + + very light, all plastic with metal base plate
    Bespeco VM18L 20 € + all plastic with metal base plate
    Bespeco VM19L 25 € + + all plastic with metal base plate
    Nektar NX-P 22 € + + identical to M-Audio but different ‘foot plate’
    Roland EV5 65 € – (fits VR) + all plastic with metal base plate, branded 20-€-pedal
    Line6 EX1 70 € + all plastic with metal base plate, branded 20-€-pedal

    Quality build ‘short lift’ pedals.

    Pedal price (EU) polarity switch volume offset remarks
    Behringer FC600 V2 65 € + + full metall, heavy, ‘pedal pressure’ adjuster
    Moog EP-3 50 € + reinforced plastic casing
    Boss FV-500L 100 € + full metall, heavy, ‘pedal pressure’ adjuster
    Boss EV-30 100 € + + DUAL expression controller (e.g. for 2 keyboards)

    ‘Long Lift’ pedals:

    Pedal price (EU) polarity switch volume offset remarks
    Behringer FCV100 25€ + Plastic but sturdy, very heavy. For VR, TRS polarity must be swapped
    Behringer FCV100 V2 30€ + + Plastic but sturdy, heavy
    Yamaha FC 80€ Plastic but sturdy. Spring for working point adjustment, brace for ‘arraying’ pedals. For VR, TRS polarity must be swapped

    Wanna pay for ‘premium brand’-names? Come nearer, look closer … prices in Europe (no typos !) :
    from left to right: Roland EV5 (65 €), Line6 EX-1 (70 €), Bespeco VM18L (20 €), … pedal unit of Behringer FCB1100

    Bass pedals

    VR09/730 work with ANY MIDI BASS PEDAL (including the Roland ‘PK’ series).

    To connect a midi bass pedal, one can use either VR MIDI-IN or PK-IN (which is compatible to 5-pin midi plugs !)
    By ‘VR default’, bass pedals play the VR organ bass. Using ‘CTRLR EDITOR’, any VR sound can be used for pedal bass

    For details (midi connection, using ‘PK features’, etc.) please read chapter “Connecting a MIDI BASS PEDAL to the VR”

    Pedal models:

    A selecton of midi pedals. Roland models PK-7, PK-9 and PK-25 can be considered as ‘integrated plug&play’ units for VR-organs (unfortunately they have been discontinued), but any other midi pedal will work. Very interesting units come from Studiologic (Fatar): light, sturdy, and flexible.

    notes: approx. prices in EU 2020, “vel” : velocity sentitive pedals (velocity is not recognized at PK-IN)

    Pedal price
    (€)
    notes vel weight
    (kg)
    description
    Roland
    PK-7/PK-7A
    20 13 ‘complete’ bass pedal unit: 20 notes pedals, expression pedal, sustain switch, 2 lateral ‘pedal-switches’ for PK-controls. If connected to PK-IN socket it runs instantaniously, including PK footswitch options’ and ‘power supply’. 7A is slightly improved over 7. Discontinued / only 2nd hand
    Roland
    PK-9
    20 13 enhanced version of PK7: 20 notes pedals, expression pedal, sustain switch, 2 lateral ‘pedal-switches’ for PK-controls, 2 ‘free control switches’. If connected to PK-IN socket it runs instantaniously, including PK footswitch options’ and ‘power supply’. Discontinued / only 2nd hand
    Roland
    PK-25/PK-25A
    25 ? 30 ‘full pedal’ unit: 25 notes pedals, expression pedal, sustain switch, 2 lateral ‘pedal-switches’ for PK-controls. If connected to PK-IN socket it runs instantaniously, including PK footswitch options’ and ‘power supply’. 25A is slightly improved over 25. Discontinued / only 2nd hand
    Roland
    PK-5/PK-6
    13 8 13 notes, programmable foot switches. Discontinued / only 2nd hand
    ELKA
    DMP 18
    18 + ? A vintage ‘all times classics’: 18 notes velocity sensitive pedals, foot switches for control changes etc.
    Very capable board, but ‘ageing’ has to be considered (30years+)
    Studiologic
    MP113/ MP117
    450-500 13
    17
    + 6
    7
    13 or 17 notes, velocity sensitive, can send control changes
    Crumar
    MojoPedals
    450 20 + 9 13 notes, velocity sensitive, can send control changes
    Ketron K8 390 20 + ? 13 notes, velocity sensitive, no further options, only pedal < 400 euros
    Hammond XPK 100/200 700
    1200
    13
    25
    9
    13
    13 or 20 notes pedal board with expression pedal
    Nord Pedal Keys 27 2000 27 16 27 notes bass with expression pedal. Fixed midi channel 3 (works only with VR PK-IN)
    Viscount
    Pedalboard 18
    1200 18 11 17 notes ‘full pedal bass’ with expression pedal. Fixed midi channel 3 (works only with VR PK-IN)
    Doepfer
    MBP25 ‘kit’
    160
    250
    13
    25
    ? DIY kit for 1 or 2 octaves: includes midi electronics, cabeling and 1 (13 notes) or 2 (25 notes) Fatar pedal units. The kit can be mounted into a selfmade case or even a ‘split case’ for easy transport. Prices: 1-octave: 160 €, 2-octave: 250 €
    DIY ‘midifying’ n.n. ? DIY “midifying” an ‘analog’ pedal unit is not complicated. Ebay provides us with (old) ‘analog’ pedal boards in all sizes. The easiest way is to ‘butcher’ a cheap small midi controller (ebay, 10-20 $/€), extract the circuit boards and connect the pedal contacts to the ‘contact board’. Using Arduino is also very inexpensive (~ 20 USD/€)

    Rotary/Overdrive pedals for VR organ

    Some pedals on the market:
    – NEO Instruments Ventilator II/mini Vent II: THE reference, but very expensive (start thinking of buying a Nord Electro or SK1 instead …)
    – Electro Harmonix Lester G/Lester K
    – Nux Roctary (inexpensive, nice sounding)

    Power supply (replacement)

    VR09 / V730 do work with ‘standard’ 9V supplies (for e.g. FX pedals) available from your local music store, online-store, Amazon, ebay, etc, with the following specs:
    9V DC
    minimum 500 mA (tested value)
    – 5.5mm/2.1mm ‘centre-negative’ plug

    9V/500mA ‘FX supply’ from german MusicStore (7.50 €)

    An alternative to a ‘wart’ is to power the board from USB (great idea from David Webster!) with a Ripcord USB to DC power cable AA927MS (9V centre negative)

    potentially a much neater solution than dragging a transformer around
    In the UK available from https://myvolts.co.uk

    Wlan (wifi) transmitter for iPad

    Connecting VR ‘wirelessly’ to an iPad with ‘Roland Editor app’ requires a wlan tranmitter (wifi dongle)
    The ‘official Roland dongle’ (a rebranded Netgear dongle) is out of stock, but any dongle based on the ‘Qualcom Atheros AR9271’ chipset works with VR. Tip: ‘clever people’ are selling those dongles as ‘Roland replacement’ on ebay for 2-4x the normal price – which is ca. 10 $/€. Compatible dongles:
            Netgear WNA 1100 (out of stock)
            Roland WNA 1100-RL (overpriced branded Netgear WNA, out of stock)
            Onkyo UWF-1 (overpriced, out of stock)
            TP-LINK TL-WN721N
            TP-LINK TL-WN422G v2
            TP-LINK TL-WN722N
            D-Link DWA-126
            Unex DNUA-93

    Amplifiers, Speakers and Monitors recommended for VR

    See Amps & Monitors

    Stage pianos recommended for VR

    See Stage Pianos(for a list scroll down to ‘Buyers Guide’)

    Hardware controllers & master keyboards recommended for VR

    To trigger only keys you can use any controller. With exception of some standard Control Changes (e.g. vibrato, pitch etc), parameters of the VR can only be changed by midi system exclusive (sysex) messages.
    The number of hardware controllers able to handle sysex messages including the Roland checksum is limited:

    Midi Controllers (hardware-controller w/o keys)
    Available (2021) on market:
        Actually not available
    Discontinued (available 2nd hand):
    – Behringer BCF2000 (2011): pots, 8 motor(!)faders, usb
    – Behringer BCR2000 (2011): a lot of pots, no faders, usb
    – Novation ZeRO SL MK1, MK2 (2009) : pots, 8 faders, usb, windows editor
    – CME Bitstream 3X (200?): many pots, 8 faders, Roland checksum with firmware 1.8
    – Doepfer Drehbank (200?): 64 pots, only pots, complicated programming
    NOTE: Behringer BCF/BCR are one of the most versatile controllers ever built. Even 2nd hand units are quite pricy. Freeware ‘BC Manager’ (from MountainUtilities, for Windows/OSX) can be used to config them, eg. defining the Roland checksum formula

    Midi Master Keyboard (hardware-controller with keys)
    Available (2021) on market:
    – Roland A-Pro (A300/A500/A800) : 32, 49 or 61 keys (same keybed as VR09!), 9 faders (drawbars!), 9 pots, 8 pads
    Discontinued (available 2nd hand):
    – Novation Remote SL Mk2 49/61:    49 or 61 semiweighted keys, pots, 8 faders, 8 pads
    – Novation Remote SL (Mk1) 25/37/61: 25, 37 or 61 semiweighted keys, pots, 8 faders, 8 pads
    – Novation Remote SL COMPACT 25/49:: 25 or 49 semiweighted keys, light variant of the SL, e.g. no faders
    (Note: Novation Remote SL Mk3 DOES NOT HANDLE SYSEX !