Roland Gaia LOVE Thread!
vierge99
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#1
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #1
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Thread Starter
Roland Gaia LOVE Thread!

I just spent an hour at the local music store sitting in front of the Gaia. I don't have a lot of experience with actual synths (closest I had was an Electribe EMX) but I found it extremely easy to build sounds on the Gaia.

I hear complaints all the time here about how poor the thing sounds but I thought it sounded good. The FX are kinda so-so but the synth itself was fun and warm.

I was able to put together sounds with tons of motion very quickly. To me, this is HUGE. Spending more time hearing pleasing sounds and less time diving through menus is a huge plus.

I've heard people say that it sucks to not have a screen to look at. But I retort with "screens are distracting! a synth is for audio, not video." Taking time to hear what you're creating instead of scrutinizing percentages on an LCD is what making new sounds is all about.

It has its quirks but for the price and what it offer, I think it's solid and I'll definitely be adding it to my home setup soon!
#2
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #2
Gear nut
 

If you like it, and it unlocks your creative potential, then it is a good synth for you.
#3
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #3
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danielb's Avatar
 

I've played a Gaia exactly twice, also in music shops.

It seems to be a very decent synth to me. Sounds fine, nice UI. Don't really understand the hate that it generates round here.

But then I don't really understand the hate that any instrument generates round here.
#4
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #4
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seen-da-sizer's Avatar
 

I don't think it is pure hate. It has more to do with disappointment. Once more Roland has released a toy! But having said that, I do like the Gaia. It is an excellent starter synth, and it offers a lot in a small package. Sure there's a lot that can be improved on. Anyhow, I am planning to get one, just for crafting ideas outside of my studio.
#5
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #5
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One of the things that I will continue to praise the Gaia on is the fact that it is not like many of the synths released these days in that price range in terms of its control layout. The Microkorgs, the Venom, even the Ultranova all piss me off because they have this minimalist setup. With the Gaia, everything is there, no problem, no having to hit multiple things to change one bloody parameter. This is also good because it, in a way, teaches you synthesis.
#6
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #6
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i have a Gaia, i think it's great..people were disappointed that it wasn't a real analogue synth mainly or that it's mono timbral.

personally i'm more disappointed that korg, yamaha don't make syhtns with enough knobs/sliders be they VA or whatever.

Gaia is a retro styled synth but uses a VA engine.
#7
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #7
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flat earth's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cresshead View Post
personally i'm more disappointed that korg, yamaha don't make syhtns with enough knobs/sliders be they VA or whatever.

Gaia is a retro styled synth but uses a VA engine.
....er, MS2000 (very retro looking), Radias and now Monotribe look distinctly knobby to me???
#8
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 

The gaia is pretty cool for a va synth. Plus the amount if knobs to price ratio on this synth is pretty high. Honestly I do get why people freak out about the amount of effects a synth has. If you want good effects get some outboard gear.
#9
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #9
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SonicBern's Avatar
 

Pretty happy with my GAIA

The filter is silky smooth. All filters will sonically step if you feed in the right settings

The effects are high quality except some model real analog effects that are not to my taste, e.g. I would have preferred a model of a small stone, the phaser sounds exactly like a 100% moog phaser that I detest...

The pitch shift more than replaces a chorus, a tad better/more musical to my ear on the right settings than the chorus in my SP404SX which has pro effects. That more than makes up for the fact I do not like the Phaser or Flanger in that effects slot on GAIA. I suspect people in to the more knarly guitarish sounds may find use for those two in any case... just love the smoother phatter side of GAIA myself.

When left connected to my SP the GAIA can be EQ'd to sound less bright and that's when it really sounds like other VA's.

It's not as shrill sounding as some Korg's can be but it can be bright and EQ does the trick. If not needed on a patch I can use the SP's phaser which is more the type I want but still no small stone.

I don't use the Distortion/Fuzz/Bit crush effects slot much as once again, I am not into knarly sounds (those that love guitars will love that section) however you can make some interesting patches using this slot against a sine wave in the OSC section, then it opens up new patch possibilities, so not a waste for me after all.

Needless to say the best synth interface currently available. If you hate menu diving and want to have fun get this synth....
#10
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djshire View Post
One of the things that I will continue to praise the Gaia on is the fact that it is not like many of the synths released these days in that price range in terms of its control layout. The Microkorgs, the Venom, even the Ultranova all piss me off because they have this minimalist setup. With the Gaia, everything is there, no problem, no having to hit multiple things to change one bloody parameter. This is also good because it, in a way, teaches you synthesis.
This is one of those things Roland is actually brilliant at that people don't recognize: intuitive interface design for musicians and performers.

There are lots of fuller-featured synths, from Andromeda to Kronos, that people complain about primarily because of the complexity available for control and sound design.

Gaia is more back along the lines of the JP8000: the controls you need, immediately and clearly available.

Gaia is not a "toy" the way people around here like to denigrate it as, any more than any musical instrument is a toy. It's an outgrowth of what Roland experimented with by releasing the SH-32 a decade ago: a simple, hardware interface with no LCD. Main features in knobs and sliders, sub-features accessible by shift-button-knob-slider combos. Kind of like the hit-shift-to-increment-values-by-10 convention on almost all Roland synths, expanded.

There will always be snobs who have to justify their expertise by insisting only the things they think they can afford, the most expensive ones, are any good. There are professionals who will need a more complex instrument to do things a more simple one can't.

But all in all, more than anything else Gaia is confirmation you can get all the fundamentals of classic subtractive synthesis, with high-quality sound and sfx, for a great price these days.

Why spend any more if you don't really have to? I bet 90% of even the "experts" here neither understand nor use 98% of the capabilities they spend thousands on instruments for. All that time and money spent chasing The Ultimate Instrument would be better spent on education and really learning more about music, synthesis theory, performative practice and mastery of whatever instrument you have at hand at the moment. The results would be far more satisfying, interesting and rewarding as well.
#11
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
a simple, hardware interface with no LCD. Main features in knobs and sliders, sub-features accessible by shift-button-knob-slider combos.
Which works if these shift functions are clearly labeled. It also creates an automatic limitation; sliders can be in one mode at a time only.

LCDs are not evil. People remember names easier than numbers, and numbers easier than blinking light combinations. If a patch is properly named - "FuzzLead" you'll remember it with more ease (and you'll skip it faster) than if it's just nr. 26. Not all information is equally important; not all information is properly explained by blinking lights. You'll rarely touch MIDI clock information - instead of playing Twister with your fingers because you need a meta-alt-control-shift+4 to set clock to internal, putting it in writing immediately explains it - and better than 3 7-segment digits saying something cryptic like ncI/ncE (because M can't be displayed).

Bank/patch systems work with categories but again impose limitations. On Korg romplers, presets were categorized in broadly 10 categories (for instance, 001 was a piano, 002 was an organ, 011 was an electric piano and 012 a pipe organ or something). That implies only 10 categories can exist (more do, but you never know what you're going to get).

Roland/Yamaha systems did the inverse and put categories in banks, but then the number of sounds per category is limited by the number of slots available in a bank, which is usually 8.

The GAIA goes into mono mode w/ oscillator sync and disables the filter. That and the build quality are what I think Roland should have put more attention to. Up to the XP30 all their synths were indeed very sturdy - now only the high end ones are in the relentless race for the bottom.
BM0
#12
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #12
Gaia is a cool synth. It has decent sound and I like the interface. A couple things that I found disappointing is that it can be multitimbral (one oscillator per part) but each part cannot be routed to separate MIDI channels. Also, the hidden GM bank is a nice feature, but it can only be accessed from an external controller. It would have been nice if you could assign GM sounds to the synth parts, even if you couldn't route them through the filter and envelopes. It would be nice to mix those sounds in with the synth to expand its sound capabilities.
I wonder if they could implement those features through software.
#13
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #13
Gear addict
 

I hid my Gaia in a closet after buying several analog synths.
A couple of days ago I took it out and plugged it in, just for fun. I didn´t find the sound quality to be as "lacking" as I remembered. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. But the biggest kick was how immediately I got deeply involved in sound creation. And it got me thinking that maybe that´s as important - or even more important - as the sound quality itself. It also got me thinking about the whole analog hysteria (don´t get me wrong, playing a memory moog a few days ago almost brought tears to my eyes).

But there´s no reason to be a purist about it. It´s all just different sounds being merged in different ways. So I am now going to have my Gaia standing proudly alongside my analogs, because it adds a flavor and way of working that feels positive.

ps. I created this really deep bass today, that starts off "pushy" and breaks up, splattering into subsonic depths in a way that I haven´t been able to do with my analogs. I think there may be a kind of signature sound with the Gaia in low frequency-areas. Extremely deep, but clear.
Cheers!
#14
7th August 2011
Old 7th August 2011
  #14
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SonicBern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by axs1 View Post
I hid my Gaia in a closet after buying several analog synths.
A couple of days ago I took it out and plugged it in, just for fun. I didn´t find the sound quality to be as "lacking" as I remembered. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. But the biggest kick was how immediately I got deeply involved in sound creation. And it got me thinking that maybe that´s as important - or even more important - as the sound quality itself. It also got me thinking about the whole analog hysteria (don´t get me wrong, playing a memory moog a few days ago almost brought tears to my eyes).

But there´s no reason to be a purist about it. It´s all just different sounds being merged in different ways. So I am now going to have my Gaia standing proudly alongside my analogs, because it adds a flavor and way of working that feels positive.

ps. I created this really deep bass today, that starts off "pushy" and breaks up, splattering into subsonic depths in a way that I haven´t been able to do with my analogs. I think there may be a kind of signature sound with the Gaia in low frequency-areas. Extremely deep, but clear.
Cheers!

Thanks for sharing
#15
8th August 2011
Old 8th August 2011
  #15
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Kindred's Avatar
 

I bought mine really as just a midi controller with a bit of extra functionality and have been pleasantly surprised by it. I love the sound (does remind my of my old JP8080) and its a lot of fun to tweak. A very 'immediate' synth that does not require a lot of hard work to get something interesting.
vierge99
Thread Starter
#16
9th August 2011
Old 9th August 2011
  #16
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vierge99's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by djshire View Post
One of the things that I will continue to praise the Gaia on is the fact that it is not like many of the synths released these days in that price range in terms of its control layout. The Microkorgs, the Venom, even the Ultranova all piss me off because they have this minimalist setup. With the Gaia, everything is there, no problem, no having to hit multiple things to change one bloody parameter. This is also good because it, in a way, teaches you synthesis.
I agree. The whole point of synthesis is to create sounds and that isn't very spontaneous with menu-diving.

Can someone explain the timbrality thing? Because to me it's multiple sounds being played at the same time. And if that's the definition then doesn't the Gaia have this through its 3 voices?
vierge99
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#17
9th August 2011
Old 9th August 2011
  #17
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Thread Starter
I don't know if it's standard on other synths but the capability to tempo-sync the LFO had me entertained for the longest time. It was possible to create rhythm underneath a melody with the LFO combined with the arpeggiator.
#18
9th August 2011
Old 9th August 2011
  #18
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djshire's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vierge99 View Post
I agree. The whole point of synthesis is to create sounds and that isn't very spontaneous with menu-diving.

Can someone explain the timbrality thing? Because to me it's multiple sounds being played at the same time. And if that's the definition then doesn't the Gaia have this through its 3 voices?
I thought the Gaia had 64 voices.
#19
9th August 2011
Old 9th August 2011
  #19
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SonicBern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vierge99 View Post
I agree. The whole point of synthesis is to create sounds and that isn't very spontaneous with menu-diving.

Can someone explain the timbrality thing? Because to me it's multiple sounds being played at the same time. And if that's the definition then doesn't the Gaia have this through its 3 voices?

For the VA section, GAIA has three timbres (tones or synths) with one shared effects section.

You cannot split the timbres (tones or synths) across the keyboard or onto different midi channels. They will play at the same time unless you just stop one of those timbres (tones or synths) playing by turning them off or down.

In the GAIA (in Roland speak) voices are OSCilators, with GAIA you have 64 OSCilators shared across the tones. For example if you use three timbres (tones or synths) then those 64 voices are divided by three to give you 64/3 played key polyphony

So GAIA only allocates one Midi channel to the VA section. The rest of the 15 midi channels are for GM style PCM sounds. These cannot be access via the keyboard, so must be played sound module style through midi control into GAIA and sound out of GAIA.

There is a special mode to turn off the VA section, that allows 8 special PCM style patches that have access via the Keyboard with some basic controls. Also accessible via midi in this mode. The sounds are higher quality than the GM style PCM sounds.

Whilst it is technically possible for you to play three synth VA tones and 15 different GM tones at the same time, most will just use the VA section on it's own. This means 15 Midi channels are being wasted. Roland has now added a GAIA Ver 2 build that allows the 15 GM tones to be turn off so that those using midi can use those 15 channels for other synths (I have not tried this yet).
#20
9th August 2011
Old 9th August 2011
  #20
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enossified's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
This is one of those things Roland is actually brilliant at that people don't recognize: intuitive interface design for musicians and performers.
You have to be kidding! Roland are the kings of confusing multifunction controls with even more confusing manuals that try to explain them.
vierge99
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#21
10th August 2011
Old 10th August 2011
  #21
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the clarification! It's greatly appreciated =)
#22
10th August 2011
Old 10th August 2011
  #22
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SynthesizerPatel's Avatar
 

I'm really glad to see this thread, actually.

I've been having a bit of a crisis of faith with my Gaia of late, to the point where I was considering getting rid of it and saving up for something else.

I'm probably to blame though since real life has been getting in the way of making music and I really haven't been in a creative mood - so the well worn route of "I must need a new synth then, that'd help" was being traversed.

I think I need to force myself to sit down and really tinker with this thing as I HAVE had loads of fun with it - but more recently, when I've had a quick tinker with it, I always seem to be making the same sounds - and blaming the synth. Plus I often have a look around online to see if there's anything new Gaia related and end up reading a lot of negative stuff - which ends up gnawing away at my brain (or whatever it is).

It's nice to hear other peeps having good things to say about it and makes me want to delve back in.

So cheers for starting this thread.

Out of curiosity, which kinds of sounds do users think the Gaia does best? Leads, pads...?
#23
11th August 2011
Old 11th August 2011
  #23
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SonicBern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SynthesizerPatel View Post
I'm really glad to see this thread, actually.

I've been having a bit of a crisis of faith with my Gaia of late, to the point where I was considering getting rid of it and saving up for something else.

I'm probably to blame though since real life has been getting in the way of making music and I really haven't been in a creative mood - so the well worn route of "I must need a new synth then, that'd help" was being traversed.

I think I need to force myself to sit down and really tinker with this thing as I HAVE had loads of fun with it - but more recently, when I've had a quick tinker with it, I always seem to be making the same sounds - and blaming the synth. Plus I often have a look around online to see if there's anything new Gaia related and end up reading a lot of negative stuff - which ends up gnawing away at my brain (or whatever it is).

It's nice to hear other peeps having good things to say about it and makes me want to delve back in.

So cheers for starting this thread.

Out of curiosity, which kinds of sounds do users think the Gaia does best? Leads, pads...?

Here are some examples from Roland of the side of GAIA I like:

http://media.rolandus.com/mp3/sh-01_bank_1_patch_1.mp3

http://media.rolandus.com/mp3/sh-01_bank_1_patch_7.mp3

http://media.rolandus.com/mp3/sh-01_bank_2_patch_3.mp3

http://media.rolandus.com/mp3/sh-01_bank_2_patch_5.mp3

http://media.rolandus.com/mp3/sh-01_bank_5_patch_1.mp3

I find it notably warmer than say an SH201 and yet with a bit of effort you can do most of the SH201 sounds on it too.

With 64 OSC's in the VA section it is a master of long evolving pads, as you can have three tone layers starting in series to evolve over time. Few VA's could do that without voice stealing that is assuming they can do it at all.

It seems to have it's own sound character so it should work well with others, you could partner it with SH201, Jupiter 80, Moog, Mopho, MiniAK etc.

It does just about every type of VA synth sound, but the unique side is as above, many others cannot match that...

#24
11th August 2011
Old 11th August 2011
  #24
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SynthesizerPatel View Post
Out of curiosity, which kinds of sounds do users think the Gaia does best? Leads, pads...?
IMHO deep bass and complex, evolving pads. I think it´s weakest in the mid-range area.
#25
12th August 2011
Old 12th August 2011
  #25
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SonicBern's Avatar
 

GAIA strings example

#26
12th August 2011
Old 12th August 2011
  #26
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Roboticefx's Avatar
 

I enjoyed playing the GAIA, and appreciate it for what it is...but it feels like the lite version of what could be a much better synth. I didn't feel that the sound was weak, but that it was just missing some features that I enjoy using. When you play a synth with more features, you find yourself wishing you could do more with other synthesizers such as the GAIA. I didn't feel that the sound was lacking, and I thought the FX good too. I think when it hits the used market at a much lower price, you'll see more people picking it up. Right now it's just too easy to get a used synth with more features for a cheaper price.

I prefer a display of some kind, just because it makes it easier...especially when trying to remember which patch is where, indicating what has changed since the patch was loaded, what the actual value of a knob is when a patch loads, etc. I suppose using the software editor would clear up a lot of issues regarding this, though. That being said, sound takes priority over convenience. The main thing is that if you enjoy it, don't second guess yourself.
#27
19th August 2011
Old 19th August 2011
  #27
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verve92's Avatar
 

LOVE my SH-01

I am new to synth and the whole reason I got the Gaia was to learn about synthesis SOUND DESIGN. Many Pros use the Gaia Dream Theater (when I saw them live and Gary Neumann said he wish he'd had it 20 years ago.
The clowns on this site (they know who they are) seem to make facts out of what are opinions: The first step to ignorance.
If you know how to record, engineer and mix, you can make a whole album with the Gaia- it's that versatile. Yeah, we know it's 3 monophonic synths, so record an arpeggio and multi-track. My Zoom has 24!
Check out Sweetwater's sounds:

Roland GAIA SH-01 Demo with Daniel Fisher - Sweetwater Bonus Bank - YouTube

This synth is for learning, no less and alot more!
#28
19th August 2011
Old 19th August 2011
  #28
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verve92's Avatar
 

Blah Blah Blah

Quote:
Originally Posted by seen-da-sizer View Post
I don't think it is pure hate. It has more to do with disappointment. Once more Roland has released a toy! But having said that, I do like the Gaia. It is an excellent starter synth, and it offers a lot in a small package. Sure there's a lot that can be improved on. Anyhow, I am planning to get one, just for crafting ideas outside of my studio.
Hate is hate, pal whether it's pure (like you say), diluted or otherwise lots of synths are palstic...OK whats that have to do with sound design? It's monophonic... OK so is a Moog that costs 5 times as much, whith the Gaia you
get 3 synths 2 more than a Little Phatty.
Who said the Gaia, Microkorg or any other under $800 synth was the best?
Like me I have a mortgage a wife and 2 kids send me $3,000 and I'll buy myself a Voyager.... Really this such a turn-off and embarrassing to you guys.
Way too much immaturity.....
#29
19th August 2011
Old 19th August 2011
  #29
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verve92's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vierge99 View Post
I agree. The whole point of synthesis is to create sounds and that isn't very spontaneous with menu-diving.

Can someone explain the timbrality thing? Because to me it's multiple sounds being played at the same time. And if that's the definition then doesn't the Gaia have this through its 3 voices?
The limitation being: Say you want to play a separate pad sound with chords over an arpeggiator, you need to multi-track. If you play chords on the arp that's all you get. But thats why we have studios
#30
19th August 2011
Old 19th August 2011
  #30
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verve92's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicBern View Post
GAIA strings example

BRILLIANT, Sonic.
Dare I ask?
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