Roland Revamps the VR-760 into the VR-700

(ShackMan | Posted 2010-03-29)

Roland Revamps the VR-760 into the VR-700

Roland's latest, the VR-700 Stage Keyboard, is now shipping to music stores worldwide. The main part is an 76-key organ with nine full drawbars and a 10th "ensemble" drawbar that allows the user to add in acoustic or electric pianos, brass, bass, guitar, string, or choir sounds, an innovative choice on Roland's part, for sure. Perhaps it's even useful; while I can't think of a situation in which I would use it, I'm certainly inclined to experiment with the combination of sounds.

The organ section of the piano features full rotary speaker control with brake, an organ on/off switch (for switching quickly between organ and ensemble sounds), as well as 3 types each of vibrato and chorus. The organ itself can be complimented with an optional PK-25A full organ pedalboard, or PK-7A MIDI controller (shown above-left) with expression pedal, and/or a second keyboard for use as a second manual, all of which can give the sensation of playing a full Hammond B-3 with extra synthesized sounds. Props to Roland on building such a contraption and making it all much more portable than an actual B-3 nonetheless. I could not find a price on the PK-25, but the PK-7 charges to the tune of $1,300. To top it all off, the keyboard features an infrared beam that players can wave their hands around in to simulate wheel braking, perform filter and level tone-shaping, or other organ-specific effects. Check it out:

Fog, lighting effects, and closeup hand photos not included with keyboard.

The ensemble section doesn't quite have the same feature set, and, surprisingly, Roland didn't throw in an on/off switch on this side, meaning that the on/off and volume are all controlled by the Ensemble drawbar. This makes quick changes a bit more of a hassle, but mostly you'll just be going back and forth between the organ, acoustic piano, and electric piano sounds, because the rest of the sounds just aren't quite up to Roland's usual quality.

For the keyboard itself, Roland opted to split the difference between organ and piano feel and go with its Waterfall weighted key system. While I haven't played a VR-700 yet, I can imagine that being a very good choice on Roland's part. The VR-700 features the standard compliment of XLR and 1/4" in's and out's, as well as USB memory for song playback and backing tracks.

The Roland VR-700 is already available in stores with a list price of $2,329.00 and a street price of $1,999. Compiled from a Roland U.S. press release.

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