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Roland GAIA SH-01 for a patch/preset junkie
Old 12th July 2016
  #1
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Roland GAIA SH-01 for a patch/preset junkie

i am thinking about getting a gaia... what is the opinion on it?

i got a JDXI as my first hardware synth, which is great fun, especially with the sequencer. but for tweaking it is almost useless. i just cant be doing with menu diving.

i got the TAL U-NO-LX software synth, based on the juno 60 i believe, which seems to be somewhat like the gaia. i had tremendous fun with the TAL, just tweaking sliders with the mouse... so i'm guessing the gaia would be even better. it has lots of knobs and sliders.

the gaia is a subtractive synth, what would the TAL/juno be classed as? does the gaia have the same sound? could it do acid?

is there anything else is should be considering, as an alternative to the gaia?

one area of concern is the gaia only has 64 patches/presets. which i heavily lie on usually. how easy is it to get a decent sound out of it?

the gaia looks like the ideal synth to learn about programming a synth... so i can wean myself off having to rely on patches/presets so much.

any thoughts?

thanks.
Old 12th July 2016
  #2
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The GAIA is a great synth for learning subtractive synthesis. It's quite intuitive to use and covers the basics well. It does have more of a digital/modern sound than a Juno though. Another option to consider is the Roland JU-06 or JP-08. They have a more vintage sound but have miniature controls.

If you don't mind a mono synth (one note at a time) then there are quite a few decent analogue options such as the Novation Bass station 2, Arturia Minbrute etc. Real analog synths tend to have a more gritty and interesting tone to them IMHO.

Lots of presets become less important once you learn how to program your own sounds because it's often just as quick to make what you want from scratch.
Old 12th July 2016
  #3
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NebulaZero's Avatar
 

SH-32 is pretty dang good too i gotta say, i don't even miss my SH-101 (bring on the flaming arrows)
Old 12th July 2016
  #4
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I had a Gaia for a while. It’s great for learning subtractive synthesis. There are days I definitely wish I hadn’t sold it. It has a great architecture that has loads of possibilities for fun sounds. As for the presets...well, I can’t say they’re the greatest. The Roland banks are fair, and the Sweetwater banks you get if you buy from them are only slightly better. A lot of the presets can be turned into something good with a little tweaking though. Their “Moog bass” patch is terrible, but by tweaking the resonance, cutoff, and filter envelope, you could get that squishy, mucky, acid synth sound. In the end, you shouldn’t buy a synth for the presets though.

As a note, the Gaia has 128 presets. 64 are from the factory and can’t be overwritten, but you can tweak them. The others are in the user bank, and you can do with them as you please. As for alternatives, I believe the Sledge has a similar architecture, but is more expensive. This being GS, others will undoubtedly be here to slag off the Gaia, but the truth is you could do a lot worse.
Old 12th July 2016
  #5
Gear Maniac
If you have a USB drive you can save 64 patches to it as well (as well as backups and all other system data). I believe most sticks will work, but Roland recommends getting theirs because they don't guarantee the GAIA can read all USB drives. I would use a 2gb stick, or possibly a 1 gb stick. I'll try backing up everything today to see how much space it takes up.
Old 12th July 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miles Powerhouse View Post
If you have a USB drive you can save 64 patches to it as well (as well as backups and all other system data). I believe most sticks will work, but Roland recommends getting theirs because they don't guarantee the GAIA can read all USB drives. I would use a 2gb stick, or possibly a 1 gb stick. I'll try backing up everything today to see how much space it takes up.
1GB would do then, since it can only hold 64 patches...

do you know, with the axial downloads (patches i presume) can you mix and match. i.e. choose only the one you want and delete the guff?

there are lots of axial downloads. wish the patches were handled different so we could have more than 64.

GAIA SH-01 | Axial

the "GAIA Trance Collection" for instance, is only 7KB!

i know it is banks of 8x8. but you can't store more than 64 patches on the USB stick? 64 patches won't even be 1MB, never mind 1GB!
Old 12th July 2016
  #7
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If you're lookin at the Gaia, you should definitely check out the new Korg Minilogue as well. It's a very good sounding analog polysynth which costs $499. Many people here dislike the gaia's sound because it uses sampled waveforms and sounds very digital. I personally like the gaia and think it's a cool synth, not the best sounding, but fun and immediate. Definitely check out some minilogue demos on YouTube though.
Old 12th July 2016
  #8
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I bought a Gaia as a stop-gap way of getting back into synths after a long time away. But I decided to keep it, as it's so easy to get quick results. (I'll be buying a proper analogue synth soon.)

There's no menu diving, but do print out the manual page that describes the extra features available with the Shift key.

And for a great set of explanatory synthesis tutorials on the Gaia, this guy's videos are excellent:



He's got some other examples for piano, bass, etc tones, too.
Old 12th July 2016
  #9
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Thread Starter
re: the sound quality, worse than the JDXI? cause i thought the JDXI sounded great.

i'm no purist, and i really like the roland sound...
Old 12th July 2016
  #10
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubez View Post
1GB would do then, since it can only hold 64 patches...

do you know, with the axial downloads (patches i presume) can you mix and match. i.e. choose only the one you want and delete the guff?

there are lots of axial downloads. wish the patches were handled different so we could have more than 64.

GAIA SH-01 | Axial

the "GAIA Trance Collection" for instance, is only 7KB!

i know it is banks of 8x8. but you can't store more than 64 patches on the USB stick? 64 patches won't even be 1MB, never mind 1GB!
Yes, 1gb is plenty. Wasn't fully awake when I wrote that!

You cannot mix and match patches unless you have the GAIA tool. I would assume you would have to first unload the patches from the USB stick into the GAIA's internal memory, then save the patches on your computer, and then rearrange them with the GAIA tool, and THEN back them up to a USB stick. Theoretically that should work, but it might be a little cumbersome. I would be willing to experiment with this later and I could report back or possibly make a video if the results turn out well.



I should also mention that Roland DID have an editor for the GAIA, but it was $99 and is now discontinued. You can get a copy from Sweetwater for $89, but it's not worth it from what I've heard. It's not like an Alpha Juno or JD-Xi that has more menus than anything else.


EDIT: The sound quality is apparent when you try to program sounds that work best on analog synths. Get creative and no one will be able to tell the difference. It's passable at it's worst.
Old 12th July 2016
  #11
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depending on if you want new or used, i would check out the roland jp-8080 or the korg ms2000, both great and great sounding. The gaia does have more poliphony though
Old 12th July 2016
  #12
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SonicBern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miles Powerhouse View Post
Yes, 1gb is plenty. Wasn't fully awake when I wrote that!

You cannot mix and match patches unless you have the GAIA tool. I would assume you would have to first unload the patches from the USB stick into the GAIA's internal memory, then save the patches on your computer, and then rearrange them with the GAIA tool, and THEN back them up to a USB stick. Theoretically that should work, but it might be a little cumbersome. I would be willing to experiment with this later and I could report back or possibly make a video if the results turn out well.



I should also mention that Roland DID have an editor for the GAIA, but it was $99 and is now discontinued. You can get a copy from Sweetwater for $89, but it's not worth it from what I've heard. It's not like an Alpha Juno or JD-Xi that has more menus than anything else.


EDIT: The sound quality is apparent when you try to program sounds that work best on analog synths. Get creative and no one will be able to tell the difference. It's passable at it's worst.
You can put as many patch sets as you like on a USB stick up to the limit of it's capacity...

GAIA just looks for the set in the root directory, so all you need to do is move all your patch sets into folders and only copy out the one you want to use and or load into GAIA to root...

No need for any extra software app other than an operating system that allows standard folders in its file structure when you manage those files...

You can also create different set combos by selectively loading patch's into GAIA, now that would be easier on a special app, shame Roland made the big mistake of charging for their version, but hey-ho...
Old 12th July 2016
  #13
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SonicBern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubez View Post
i am thinking about getting a gaia... what is the opinion on it?

i got a JDXI as my first hardware synth, which is great fun, especially with the sequencer. but for tweaking it is almost useless. i just cant be doing with menu diving.

i got the TAL U-NO-LX software synth, based on the juno 60 i believe, which seems to be somewhat like the gaia. i had tremendous fun with the TAL, just tweaking sliders with the mouse... so i'm guessing the gaia would be even better. it has lots of knobs and sliders.

the gaia is a subtractive synth, what would the TAL/juno be classed as? does the gaia have the same sound? could it do acid?

is there anything else is should be considering, as an alternative to the gaia?

one area of concern is the gaia only has 64 patches/presets. which i heavily lie on usually. how easy is it to get a decent sound out of it?

the gaia looks like the ideal synth to learn about programming a synth... so i can wean myself off having to rely on patches/presets so much.

any thoughts?

thanks.
GAIA is a fun synth, but since its launch we have seen some more options with good interface. Get the synth that sounds right to you...

If you were still after a preset synth then a MiniAK or Micron would be an option to check out...

Learning to programme a synth is worth the effort, so check out things like the Korg Minilogue. GAIA is not alone...
Old 13th July 2016
  #14
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GeminIAm's Avatar
You could also look for a used roland sh201.
Super simple and fun to use. Neither it nor the Gaia will sound as good as the JDXi though. Shame yhe Xi has such a crappy interface cos it sounds great!

I own a JU-06, which is the closest you'll get to the TAL UNO vst unless you feel like paying the big bucks for a vintage Juno. The JU06 is a great synth. The controls are not too small to work with either.
Old 13th July 2016
  #15
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicBern View Post
You can put as many patch sets as you like on a USB stick up to the limit of it's capacity...

GAIA just looks for the set in the root directory, so all you need to do is move all your patch sets into folders and only copy out the one you want to use and or load into GAIA to root...

No need for any extra software app other than an operating system that allows standard folders in its file structure when you manage those files...

You can also create different set combos by selectively loading patch's into GAIA, now that would be easier on a special app, shame Roland made the big mistake of charging for their version, but hey-ho...
Are you sure? When I save patches from the GAIA to USB memory, I get a folder that says ROLAND, which contains a folder called SH01, which contains a SH01_PAT.SVD. This is regardless of whether or not it has been initialized by the GAIA itself and is the same for anything downloaded from AXIAL.
Old 13th July 2016
  #16
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You say you are a "patch/preset junkie" but what is your definition of that...do you want a rompler with hundreds of pre-programmed instruments already built in, or are you willing to create them yourself?

From that you can figure out where the Gaia is positioned. There's no display on the Gaia. You can get the unsupported software (if you can find it) so you can exactly position the controls to an exact number:


But away from the computer you have to remember what the patch numbers do as there's no display on the keyboard to tell you. It has the feeling of the old school analog synths before computer control. It's one of my favourite synths to program (but I have the software)...even though others say the bass is thin compared to other analogs out there.

The musician Grimes uses the Gaia, but in many pictures she also has a JunoG on stage.
Old 13th July 2016
  #17
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Thread Starter
thanks, some useful replies.

the minilogue is the nearest rival i'd say, only problem is i don't have an audio interface, and the gaia takes care of that. 3 octaves are perfect. no space really for more, and 2 is restrictive.

with the gaia or minilogue, could i record a simple 4 bar sequence in a DAW, then record automation afterwards on this sequence, except over 32 bars or something?
Old 13th July 2016
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubez View Post
with the gaia or minilogue, could i record a simple 4 bar sequence in a DAW, then record automation afterwards on this sequence, except over 32 bars or something?
Depends what you mean. For most synths, you can record MIDI from the synth (and also record the audio). Then yes, if you want to record automation on top of that original MIDI, most DAWs will allow that (or at least let you draw it in). Then you can record new audio, with the automation.
Old 13th July 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubez View Post
thanks, some useful replies.

the minilogue is the nearest rival i'd say, only problem is i don't have an audio interface, and the gaia takes care of that. 3 octaves are perfect. no space really for more, and 2 is restrictive.

with the gaia or minilogue, could i record a simple 4 bar sequence in a DAW, then record automation afterwards on this sequence, except over 32 bars or something?
They really don’t have anything in common except for the price range and the fact that they are both keyboards. What makes the Minilogue unique is the 4-voice VCO structure with highly variable waveforms, along with the sync, ring, cross mod options. What makes the Gaia unique is the fact that it is 3 complete single oscillator synthesizers in a single box (albeit one that is mono-timbral). To get that functionality in another board, I think you have to go up to a Nord Lead, which is 3x the price. The Sledge is a 3-oscillator with interesting wave options, but I believe that all voices are routed through the same envelope/filter settings.

With the Gaia, I know you can record sequences (I think up to 8 bars), I can’t remember if you can record motion data. Both should be able to respond to automation over Midi though.
Old 13th July 2016
  #20
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Thread Starter
with the gaia, on the in-house phrase recorder function, you can record motion. you can also save that motion itself and apply it onto different patches.

i don't see me using the phrase recorder though, i am a bad player and need quantize. so that means a DAW i guess. a main aspect i am looking for is recording automation using the knobs/sliders. automating in a DAW/mouse is the worst.
Old 13th July 2016
  #21
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A couple of neat tricks the Gaia can do that many don't know about.

First of all you can edit each of the three "tones" or voices independently, or if you want to make the same change to two tones at the same time you can temporarily link 2 or 3 patches temporarily together so the edit is done on multiple tones at the same time, and then unlink them so you can again edit each tone independently. For instance, edit them separately to select the individual waveforms, then link them to edit their LFOs together, and then separate them to edit the tone ADs.

The other thing nice about the Gaia is you can stagger the tones, each tone has it's own attack and decay in the oscillator section so when pressing a note you can have (for instance) tone 1 sound, and while still holding the key down then tone 3 come in, tone 1 can fade out and then have tone 2 come in (or any order). The following video at 1:28 is an example of this:

Old 1 week ago
  #22
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When people say the Gaia is 16 part multi timbral, does that mean you can use 16 different sounds at the same time with 64 note polyphony? Or are the analog sounds only mono timbral?
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taran2ula View Post
When people say the Gaia is 16 part multi timbral, does that mean you can use 16 different sounds at the same time with 64 note polyphony? Or are the analog sounds only mono timbral?
GAIA is a virtual Analog synth. No pure Analog parts like some recent hybrid Roland synths...

GAIA has up to three timbres at one time. They are all independent synth layers except they share the same effects per patch and can only be accessed together via the keybed or the in coming midi on one channel only...

The 64 note poly is shared across the timbres dynamically. For example if you had a patch with only two timbres it would allow 32 notes (64 / 2). For three timbres that would be approx 64 / 3... GAIA has effectively limitless poly as it is impossible to here notes dropping on a patch...

As GAIA has long envelope time capability, the post above with a video mentions time evolving patches that can cycle through the timbres... It is just a trick of patch settings if you want those types of sounds... This can be used on fast of slow envelopes depending on the type of patch you want..

Old 1 week ago
  #24
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Great demos by tiergrinder
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taran2ula View Post
When people say the Gaia is 16 part multi timbral, does that mean you can use 16 different sounds at the same time with 64 note polyphony? Or are the analog sounds only mono timbral?
The analog sounds are monotimbral: it's made of three layers but you're always controlling them at same time making it essentially one sound.

The GAIA also has a "hidden" multitimbral GM2 PCM sound engine which you can access through MIDI, but those aren't analog sounds and you can't program them.
Old 6 days ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToyBox View Post
The analog sounds are monotimbral: it's made of three layers but you're always controlling them at same time making it essentially one sound.

The GAIA also has a "hidden" multitimbral GM2 PCM sound engine which you can access through MIDI, but those aren't analog sounds and you can't program them.
Thank you for that answer. My problem is that I am looking for a synthesizer/rack module that has tons of 80ish synthy type sounds. I don't need pianos, electric organs, guitars etc, etc. I realize the analog and virtual analog machines out there like the Roland System 1 and 8 are all mono timbral, and for me this does not cut it because EG: I don't want to buy 4 Roland Boutique synths to get the multi timbral voicing that I need. Too bad all the cool sounds are sometimes analog. I am not happy with the sounds of the new synths like ther Kronos, FA-06, Montage, etc, They seem to be made explicitly for either movie scoring, or classical, rock, jazz type music, of which I have no interest in writing. This is why I have been looking at machines like this for quite some time and am going crazy because they are all mono timbral, or limited polyphony. You would think after all these years they would be able to give multi timbral capability in analog or virtual analog synths. I have a Motif XS8 and use it as a controller to a Arturia Drumbrute, Elektron Maschinedrum UW, Elktron Digitakt, Alesis SR18 (For Sale) EMU Orbit 3, and a Roland JDXA, which I wish I never bought because of the polyphony and multi timbral issues. I love the sounds of the mini analog synths like the Bass Station II, Novation Mininova, yada, yada, but they are limited. I guess I will keep looking for a cool rack mount module that has tons of synthy type stuff rather than 20 pianos, 50 organs, 60 trumpets, etc, etc. Todays synths are so repetitive in their sounds. I notice my own Motif XS has so many very sight variations of one type of sound that it becomes apparent this is a marketing trick to make you think your board has 8 million sounds when it really doesn't, since they seem to be mostly slight variations of each other. I have always been dead set against computer recording because of the issues with drivers, PC hardware software compatibility, and the very real possibility of the software becoming obsolete over the years, but I tell you I am seriously considering going for it just because there are a million sound sets in VST's out there. Anyhoo, thank you kindly for your reply. It is indeed appreciated. Cheers people.

Last edited by taran2ula; 6 days ago at 02:24 AM.. Reason: Grammar
Old 6 days ago
  #27
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A.I. Batule Chee's Avatar
I think you'd be better off with a nord lead 2X, sounds better than the Gaia, it's 4 part multitimbral, has more patch storage, it's a WYSWYG synth as well, and you can even get it on desktop/rack version if you're space limited. My 2¢.
Old 1 day ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.I. Batule Chee View Post
I think you'd be better off with a nord lead 2X, sounds better than the Gaia, it's 4 part multitimbral, has more patch storage, it's a WYSWYG synth as well, and you can even get it on desktop/rack version if you're space limited. My 2¢.
Thank you for your reply. I think I will go and check some youtube videos of that unit.
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