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.

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 (overpriced ‘branded’ cheap $15 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:
    – Yamaha FC7: heavy, sturdy. Has a spring for working point adjustment and a brace to attach several pedals to a build a multi-pedal array. For VR, polarity must be inverted (by crossing tip and ring in the cable).
    – Behringer FCV 100: heavy, sturdy, 1/3 of price of FC7. No spring, no ‘array-ing’ but dual mode (expression or stereo-volume). For VR, polarity must be inverted (by crossing tip and ring in the cable).
    – Roland EV-7: not sold any more

Bass pedals

Roland PK-9 is an ‘enhanced’ bass pedal but any midi bass pedal can be used

  • Roland PK-9 is a bass pedal unit with pedals, expression pedal and switches
    If connected to the PK-jack the VR will recognise it automatically. Unfortunately the PK9 is not produced anymore and only available 2nd hand
  • Midi pedal boards can be plugged to the VR. You can use the PK-IN jack of the VR: a 5-pin midi plug fits into the PK socket and will NOT DAMAGE anything. The PK jack detects bass note signals on all midi channels so there’s no need to configure the pedal board. VR has to be in MIDI MODE 1 or 2. The VR bass drawbars are not shown in the VR display, but you can change them with the CTRLR or IOS editors. NOTE: with CTRLR editor you can also load other sounds to the bass !

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)

An alternative to a Roland original spare is to power the board from a USB (great idea from David Webster!). Search the internet for 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

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 !