V-Combo History

The following lists Roland ‘transportable combo organs’ (in old days, 60 kilos were regarded as ‘transportable’…).
Initially ‘pure Hammond clones’, more and more ‘non-organ sounds’ were added from the beginning of the 1990th

Acetone (first company of Mr. Kakehashi, founder of Roland):

  • Top1-Top9 (1965-1969): single manual, 49-61 keys
  • GT2 (1971): single manual, 49 keys (synth-type). Later also sold as ‘Hammond X2’
  • GT5 (1971): double manuals (spinet), 2×49 keys (synth-type), bass short pedal. Laer also sold as ‘Hammond X5’
  • GT7 (1971): double manuals (spinet), 2×49 keys (synth-type), bass short pedal, more sound features than GT5 and builtin 25W ‘practice amp’ (GT7 is the better equipped predecessor of Kakehashi-build Hammond-X5)

Roland VK-series

  • VK-6 (1977): double manual (spinet), 2×49 keys (synth-type), bass short pedal, only organ sound
  • VK-9 (1977): double manual (cabinet), 2×61 keys (synth-type), 2 octave full bass pedal, only organ sound
  • VK-1 (1979): single manual, 61 keys (synth-type), only organ sound
  • VK-09 (1981): single manual, 61 keys (synth-type), only organ sound
  • VK-1000 (1991 – Roland-Rhodes): ‘organ synth’ based on famous SA-synthesis: one of the first ‘combo organs’ in modern understanding and predecessor of VR760: single manual, 76 touch sensitiv keys (synth-type), drawbar organ, APs, EPs, synth-sound, ‘moddable’ with the drawbars, effects, mod-pitch-joystick.
    (side note: also in 1991, the famous SA-1000 piano and JD800 saw the daylight…)
  • VK7 (1997): single manual, 61 synth-type keys
  • VK77 (1997): double manual (cabinet) version of VK7
  • VK8 (2002): single manual, 61 keys (waterfall)
  • VK88 (2003): double manual (cabinet) version of VK8

Roland VR-series:

  • VR760 (2003) single manual 76 keys (Roland waterfall action)
  • VR700 (2010) single manual 76 keys (Roland waterfall action)
  • VR09 (2013) single manual 61 keys (Roland synth-type action)
  • VR09B (2017) single manual 61 keys (Roland synth-type action), only optical changes to VR09
  • VR730 (2017) single manual 73 keys (Fatar waterfall action)

Roland ATELIER ‘Combo’ series:

  • AT 350C (2011) double manual 49+61 (synth + waterfall) keys ATELIER COMBO

The V-Combo/VR series in detail:

VK-1000 (Roland-Rhodes) – we added this ‘VK’ as it is more Combo than pure organ:
76 synth keys, split/layer + bass
8 basic sounds (waveforms): organ1+2, pipe organ, organ bass, rhodes, lead synth, vibraphone, chimes
Organ with ‘real drawbars’
Envelope for amplitude (ADR) and pitch
MFX: Wah, Reverb, Delay, Overdrive, Rotary, Phaser, Flanger, EQ. FX are customisable (e.g. Leslie ‘parameters’)
Joystick for modulation/pitch and ‘leslie switch’
assignable controllers (3 faders, 3 pedals)
64 user patcher + 64 on external card
5-pin DIN Midi
todays buyers guide: VK-1000 can be regarded as the ‘mother of modern Combos’ – we added it for historical reasons – and maybe for collectors 🙂

VR 760:
76 waterfall keys (Roland action), split/layer + bass (organ cannot be splitted)
3 sound sections: Organ / Piano / Synth
VK-8 organ engine with ‘real drawbars’, 4 organ types, 5 amp/Leslie types, etc
Envelope (ADR) and Filter (cutoff, resonance)
40 Cosm MFX, fully customisable
Joystick for modulation/pitch and ‘leslie switch’, D-Beam
64 user Favorites
5-pin DIN Midi
USB thumb drive for backup
Compatible to Roland SRX extention cards for more sounds
todays buyers guide: VR760 has the famous Roland Waterfall keybed that could be seen as the ‘perfect hybrid action’ for playing both organ and piano. Most controls are accessible on the keyboard panel which makes the 760 an excellent live tool.
Tonewheel organ with very good and versatile base sound and ‘tube-ish’ overdrive: it can do ‘sweet jazzy smoke’ but also cry like John Lord (excellent octave foldback). Leslie-effect is usable but not on par the top tier of modern stage-organs.
Acoustic pianos are a bit dull with short decay (sustain) and no sympathetic resonance – but 760 can load the high quality SRX-11 ‘Piano’ extension board.
E-Pianos are nice, realistic and ‘vintage’.
Bread&Butter sounds are outdated but have ‘oldschool’ charme
With envelope, filter and the mighty MFX section there is much room for sound creation
Roland SRX-cards can provide additional sound – but the most popular cards (‘Piano’, ‘E-Pianos’, …) have become very expensive (> 300 USD)

VR 700:
76 waterfall keys (Roland action), split/layer + bass (organ can be splitted)
2 sound sections: Organ / ‘Ensemble’ (more than 300 sounds)
VK-8 organ engine with ‘real drawbars’, 4 organ types, 5 amp/leslie types, etc
80 Cosm MFX, fully customisable via CTRLR VR700 EDITOR
Joystick for modulation/pitch and ‘leslie switch’, D-Beam
64 user Favorites
Midi 5-pin DIN + USB-Midi
USB thumb drive for backup, audio play, midi play
With CTRLR V-700 EDITOR: 80 Cosm MFX
todays buyers guide: VR700 has the same famous Roland Waterfall keybed as VR760. For 700, the superb handling of the 760 had been changed to a ‘stylish’ but user unfriendly preset-concept with heavy menu diving in a ridiculously small display which makes sound and patch creation a torture (see below, ‘EDITOR’)
Tonewheel organ/Leslie are identical to 760 with additional parameters (e.g. ‘mic position).
VR700 has the best acoustic pianos of the entire VR series (including the new models): APs have a bright but not too aggressive timbre, long decay (noticable looping sounding artificial on headphones but ‘disappears’ on PAs) and, as a big plus, (customisable) sympathetic resonance which adds a lot of ‘richness’ to the APs.
E-Pianos are nice, realistic and ‘vintage’. Other Bread&Butter sounds are outdated in quality but have ‘oldschool’ charme
Each sound has a hard wired MFX – that limitation can be overcome by using CTRLR V700 EDITOR which makes MFX freely assignable and fully customisable
Compared to VR760, VR700 has more sounds, improved layering, way better acoustic pianos and CTRLR V700 EDITOR allows comfortable patch editing and ‘hidden features’ like ‘free MFX’

VR 09 (VR 730):
61 synth keys (73 waterfall keys FATAR TP/8O) , split/layer + bass
3 sound sections: Organ / Piano / Synth
SuperNatural-Organ with ‘drawfaders’, percussion, organ types, amp types, etc
Virtual Analog Synthesizer (requires Roland iPad app or CTRLR EDITOR)
Joystick for modulation/pitch and ‘leslie switch’, D-Beam
100 user Registrations
Midi 5-pin DIN + USB-Midi
USB thumb drive for backup, audio play, midi play
With CTRLR V-COMBO EDITOR: 4 zones, 9 parts (layers), hundreds of hidden sounds, hidden features…
5.5 (10)kg
todays buyers guide: VR09 has the standard synth action from Juno G/Gi/D/Di, FA06, JDXa, etc. VR730 has the FATAR TP/8O Waterfall action – a good action but not on the level of Rolands Waterfall in VR700/760
The handling returned to VR760ish ‘on-board controls’
From a ‘Hammond players point of view, the SuperNatural tonewheel organ (which has been taken from AT-350Combo) is a step back compared to VK-8, with a ‘sinodial’ (cheesy) base sound, reduced parametrisation and ugly harsh overdrive (‘bitcrusher’). Leslie-Effekt is excellent and is one of the best simulations of those days.
Acoustic pianos are also a step back: they are standard pianos from Roland-XV sound engine, shrill, short decay, no sympathetic resonance
E-Pianos are ‘modern’ with a lot (sometimes too much) of ‘bark’. Bread&Butter sounds are a nice, synth sounds are of ‘modern’ Juno/FA/DS type
MFX are limited with basically no customisation.
CTRLR V-Combo EDITOR ‘hacks’ a lot of hidden features, adds ‘hidden sounds’, multi-zones and more timbrality

AT 350C (ATELIER Combo)
Dual manual: 49 + 61 (synth + waterfall key), bass (pedal)
Sound sections: Organ / ‘Orchestral’ / specific sounds
SuperNatural organ engine with 2 full ‘real’ drawbar-sets, percussion, organ types, amp types, etc
Rhythms, Accompanigment
User Registrations
Midi 5-pin DIN + USB-Midi
USB thumb drive for backup, ATELIER sound file replay, audio replay, midi replay
Built-in speakers (stereo)
25 kg
todays buyers guide: AT 350c has the touch of a ‘double manual VR09/730’: they share the same ‘SuperNatural’ Tonewheel engine (AT350 has Jazz/Rock organ, Leslie Type 1/2, parameters) with the same ‘timbre’ – and the ‘harsh overdrive’. AT350c has no MFX or VA-Synth but ‘styles’, rhythm-accompaniment and some gizmos that are not functional on VR09 (e.g. AEX sounds, ATELIER SuperNatural ‘N.sounds’, etc). With 25kilos, it’s still portable and can serve as a valuable organ for traditional Jazz (Swing), Pop standards and one-man entertainment



“VR09 is a copy of Nord Electro”
pure facts:
1991: VK-1000: dawbars, organ/rhodes/synth, envelope, MFX, split/layer, mod+pitch, …
2001: Electro 1: ‘LED draw-buttons’, organ + some APs/EPs, some basic FX, ‘organ split’, no layers, no mod/pitch wheel
2002: Electro 2: software upgrade to NE1 – no big changes though
2003: VR760: real dawbars, 3 sections Organ-Piano-Synth, envelope+filter, 40 Cosm FX, split+layer, mod/pitch ‘joystick’, D-beam…
2005: Nord Stage: 3 sound sections: ‘Organ Piano Synth’ (ahaaaa…), synthesizer, split/layer, and … ‘LED draw-buttons’
2009: Electro 3 (6 years after VR760): ‘sample library’ for Bread&Butter sounds – still on ‘LED draw-buttons’, split only for organ, no layers
2012: Electro 4D: updated with draw-faders! Split is still restricted to organ, no layers…
2013: VR09: colours+’sections’ like VR760, ‘box-design’ Juno-G era, components like VR760: organ, APs/EPs, synth, mod/pitch, D-beam…
2015: Electro 5: keyboard-split (wow! … restricted though, still no layers). Bread&Butter section renamed to ‘Synth’
2018: Electro 6: yepeee – finally it can layer! (wow-wow-wow!)
2020bis: People still claim: “Roland copied Nord Electro” 😉