March 1, 2012
Orchestra Hits: Compairing the Roland RS-09 & RS-505 String Machines
As I told you in my Church Synthesizer post, I've had an RS-09 since I was quite young and I've truly loved it for about seven years now. I recently acquired an RS-505 (I think one would also consider it a church synthesizer), which I had assumed would be just an expanded version of the 09. This is not so. I do like the 505 and I'm very glad to have it but I think it will still take some time to grow on me. One of the big differences between the two is the string sections. The RS-09 string section is meant to (or maybe just does) sound like a solo stringed instrument. Ran through some reverb I think it actually sounds like a pretty convincing violin (probably not to the trained ear, but, you know, at a passing glance -- what is the listening equivalent of a glance?). The RS-505's string section can't really sound like a convincing solo stringed instrument, but then the 09's string section in my opinion can't sound like a convincing ensemble. So neither is technically inferior, just different and for my own sensibilities I prefer the 09. But the 505 does have those bass and contra-bass sounds that are pretty great. Over all though the 505 has a much duller sound than the 09. The filter on the 505 just doesn't seem to open up as much as the 09. They are both wonderful though and I'm sure that before the end of the age comes to these slopes I will tell you much more about them. I haven't even mentioned their organ or synthesizer sections.
Also: Those organ-style rocker switches on the RS-505 take some getting used to. Which way in on, which way is off? I don't know! Unless you're some nice, old lady who's used to playing the organ. Of course there is a version of the 09 that also has rocker switches, but this is not the version I have. I have the other version. The version with those lovely buttons.