Thursday, 31 March 2011

My main keyboard: The Roland JV-90

The Roland JV-90 was produced in 1994, and is a full 76-note semi-weighted keyboard.
I first started playing it in 1995, when I conviced my brother to buy one of these (and to keep it in my bedroom!).
I had to say goodbye to it in 1997 when I moved to the UK, but managed to buy exactly the same one second hand (from someone in Holland) in 2005. I haven't stopped playing it since!

As someone said:

"The JV90 offers a wide range of Pianos, all intelligently voiced with no muddiness, but just a hint of 'digitalness', in the upper middle region. Over the top octave or so, there's a fixed key 'clunk', which adds considerable realism. The velocity mapping of the keyboard works well with the Rhodes sounds, where the sound gets brighter and harmonically richer when you hit harder. Where the JV90 scores is in the bass end. Bass electric organ sounds, for example, are usually a dead give-away, with buzzing and growling revealing the digital nature of the sound. Not so with the JV90.

The acoustic guitars have an unnerving clarity, and the Pipe Organ, a favourite instrument of mine, is the best I've heard since the D50's Cathedral Organ, or even better, because the sound doesn't get too muddy when holding down a fistful of notes. One complaint is that on this Patch, and others, random panning is applied. Ban random panning. It's a nightmare -- a cheap effect and a gimmick. You need to go through all but the most abstract of patches and remove it (taking up valuable user memory).
Despite the lack of string waves, there is a wide range of string Pads, Solos and Ensembles, though no really aggressive bowed ensemble like the old 'Vivaldi Strings' of the DX/TX7 which was so useful.
Countless more esoteric patches offer yet weirder and more wonderful sounds, which would, I feel, generally record well. And, thankfully, the sounds are somewhat anonymous, so you won't keep hearing tracks and saying "Hey that's a JV90". Don't forget that on the Performance Control panel there is a Presence slider to brighten any sound if necessary!"

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