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SY-1000- object of recent G.A.S.

The soon to be released Roland SY-1000 is rolling around in my G.A.S. addled brain. With a GK equipped guitar (special pickup/cable) the SY-1000 provides instrument/amp/cab modelling, synthesis, and effects.

There are two aspects of G.A.S. that at work for me...

1. THIS NEW THING will solve problems! I.e., it will take the place of several devices, all with one box; It will do things I've wanted/needed by can't do with my other boxes, etc.

2. In the absence of detailed information, my imagination will make it better than it is. There's no manual available yet, so I fill in the blanks with flattering (but probably fictional) features.

I already have a Boss GP-10 with a similar but more stripped down feature set-- which is pretty great. I didn't love the GP-10's reverb, or distortions, but they're ok. I expect the SY-1000 will sound better, provide more and better synthesis and FX. It adds more MIDI capability and adds an external FX send/return loop.

Realtime pitch-shifting is one of the things that must be so hard to get right. As far as latency, accuracy, and sound quality, I don't think I've ever heard a device do "impressive" pitch shifting. That said, the GP-10 actually did pretty well. Granted, you can get better polyphonic pitch because of the individual string pickup, but even just monophonically, it is fast, generally accurate, and not terrible sounding.

Pitch-to-MIDI is the other kind of holy grail of tasks. The SY-1000 will do this in some fashion, but it's not clear if it will require the GK pickup to do it, or whether it will output to the MIDI dins or only USB. Those details are yet to come-- perhaps when the manual is available.

Roland/Boss have made very reliable gear, so I don't have doubts it'll hold up.

OK, I'm feeling a little better now.
December 10, 2019  | favorite_border stub
On December 10, 2019 - @stub said:
OK, I'm feeling a little better now.

Glad I could help? ;)

That thing looks like an impressive beast. I couldn't even strum a guitar properly and I want to play with it.
@stub: I am also on the edge of my seat for this.
What you haven’t mentioned: Roland also promises to include a model of the venerable GR-300. I always had a soft spot in my heart for the sound of it - Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp of King Crimson are among my favourite players, and I really love the edgy sounds they got out of it.
But let’s wait for the first product demos. Maybe my G.A.S. quickly disappears after some minutes of thin and lifeless 90s Roland PCM sounds. At least that’s what I remember from when I last checked their Guitar Synthesizers... ;-)
December 10, 2019  | person_outline Granthafen
I don't have much of a use for the GR-300 kinds of sounds, but even just generally, the synth tracking on the GP-10 is very snappy.

I believe the SY-1000 has a dual-boot function where you can start-up in either bass or guitar mode. As someone who earns a living playing bass guitar and electric guitar, this is an incredible value. I also read there's an ac bass sim (in the bass mode). I truly hope this is an upright bass and not one of those acoustic-guitar-shaped basses (which mostly suck).
December 11, 2019  | favorite_border stub
I just studied the manual for the SY-1000 and I watched some GT-1000 vids (which many of the effects are based on; so I now have a pretty good idea of what's in there. Because I now know it will do what the GP-10 already does and tons more, but with higher fidelity, better dynamics and newer effects, adds pitch to MIDI, and has an entire mode for bass guitar, -- and I have a pretty clear sense of the downsides, I'm sold.

I've also worked out that I can sell enough other gear to cover most of it. I'll commit to getting a few things out the door before I pull the trigger. Let the culling begin.

Hope you don't mind my "thinking out loud" here. My spouse is awesome, but I'm not sure she'd understand.
December 16, 2019  | favorite_border stub
On December 16, 2019 - @stub said:
I've also worked out that I can sell enough other gear to cover most of it. I'll commit to getting a few things out the door before I pull the trigger. Let the culling begin.

Hope you don't mind my "thinking out loud" here. My spouse is awesome, but I'm not sure she'd understand.

Eh, no one else was using the forums so go ahead!

Good luck with the sales!
As I look at the pile of stuff I have to get rid of, the power of G.A.S. is painfully obvious.

In my pile are some very cool pieces of equipment. Most are useful tools that I have gigged with, composed with, mixed with, etc. etc. But there are a couple things that I had a powerful impulse to buy, but it wasn't connected to a specific need and I probably should have passed on-- but I know I couldn't pass on it. It's not an option.

It's that way with some apps, I envision something I COULD do with it, but not something specific and immediate. At least apps don't break the bank.

That said, there are MANY times when I talk myself out of buying something cool. Most of the time really. I have this game where, if SW sends me a catalog, I go through the whole thing (in a series of bathroom visits) and the goal is to not want/need ANYTHING. I usually win.

My GP-10 gets used all the time, and the SY-1000 will replace it and up my game quite a bit.
December 25, 2019  | favorite_border stub
Please keep us updated about this, Stub!
I’d like to know your opinion when you have used it yourself.

Btw: have you ever used one of the Pitch2MIDI apps that are available on iOS (e.g. MIDI Guitar or MIDImorphosis)?
December 27, 2019  | person_outline Granthafen
I tried MIDImorphosis. In the last version I had it was REALLY slow, too slow to be useful. I can see why they removed it.

I downloaded the free version of MIDI Gtr, but haven't tried it yet.

I will post back here when the SY-1000 arrives. It is supposed to be here in about 3-4 weeks.
December 28, 2019  | favorite_border stub
If you go on YT, you'll see some recent videos of the SY-1000 from NAMM. Some dude with crazy futuristic glasses plays a medley of synth pop hits from the 80s with a looper pedal and a GK gtr into the SY-1000. It's a little hard to watch the first time, then unwatchable after that.

If the vid title says NAMM you can feel free to skip it.

There's another vid where a guy downloads the Boss software to edit, which gives quite a window in to the unit (without the unit present). I learned quite a bit from that. Enough to feel very confident in my purchase. I had no idea the GP-10 was going to be so central to my live gig life. This is going to be a serious replacement!!

SW moved the ship date back into Feb, so a little longer of a wait.
January 24, 2020  | favorite_border stub
It arrived yesterday and I've just spent the last couple hours going through presets and dabbling with the editing.

Sadly, my unit has a hardware issue. One of the six rotary encoders has only a small fraction of the tactile ratcheting as the others, so I'll need to exchange it.

The UI is pretty self-explanatory. Boss opted for a single knob rather than a cursor diamond to get around the signal path. The selection moves through a few modules horizontally than down a level and a few more horizontally, kind of zig-zagging.

The presets mostly show the synth muscle and under-represent the guitar models. There is quite a bit of wow-factor there. It's quite versatile- and the quality of sounds is great, but they're all WAY over the top. The response is very fast and the kinds of things you can do are fun.

With a simple guitar sound, I tested the amps, distortions and reverbs, which have been disappointing to me in my GP-10 and other boss offerings.

The amps are fine. They do require some assertive tweaking to get them to sound less buzzy/fizzy but I just have to be patient, and know that with the right gain structure, I can get what I want. The EQ's are pretty flexible. HP, low-shelf, low-mid, hi-mid, hi-shelf, LP. The two mids are full range 20-16K hz, but only divided into 30 steps of resolution. I wish the frequencies could be set in higher resolution.

The distortions are good, too. Except that I was surprised at how little I liked the amps and distortions that use MDP (multi-dimensional processing). These supposedly adapt to different pitch ranges. They have a high buzz that no amount of editing would make sound good (to me, YMMV).

The best news is that the reverbs all sounded fine, even in mono. The SPRING was the only one that had a hint of unpleasantness-- and it was only noticeable at "up front and featured" levels.

As a general note, the effect area is complicated, and it could be easy to lose track of where you are and what you have on. You can have multiple amps (some instruments have their own amp sim, plus the one in the chain) plus a distortion out in the chain, so you have to structure things carefully. Each instrument has a path that merges into a mixer. You can split and merge the path once more. There's a mono FX loop send/return, and a sub-out. Tons of flexibility.

They included a Variation feature so you can save settings within all the modules to save your go-to module presets.

Though the synth capabilities are the main focus of this product, they aren't my main focus. Still, I'll probably have fun with them and use them here & there.

The lack of a cursor diamond for this type of GUI was the biggest mistake IMHO. Otherwise, I'd call it a very successful product-- well that and the quality-control glitch on my unit.
February 07, 2020  | favorite_border stub
Thanks for the detailed report, stub! This is really helpful for making up my mind.

Just to clarify: you’re playing the guitar directly into the SY 1000 - no hex pickup involved? And it is still tracking nicely?
February 08, 2020  | person_outline Granthafen
No, I have a GK equipped guitar and am taking about that mode. I'm sure the Dynamic synth will be comparably responsive, but I don't know off hand if it is polyphonic.
February 08, 2020  | favorite_border stub
The support from the retailer I bought the SY-1000 from set up an exchange for that wonky push-encoder. The catch is that they are already out of stock and don't expect more until the end of March.

It's ok, I'm not really in a rush. I'm going to return this one anyway. My first session with this unit was enough to convince me it's the right way to go.

I'll be curious to see what kinds of improvements come with upcoming firmware updates.
February 10, 2020  | favorite_border stub
I've been reading over on the V-Guitar forum.

Folks continue to be very pleased with the SY-1000.

On the pluses side, folks really like the synths, models, and effects, as well as all the routing and control capabilities. I've been pleased to see a few GP-10 owners report how much better the models & effects are in the SY-1000.

On the negatives, there were a couple reports of little tracking glitches (nothing major, or that couldn't be explained by guitar oddities), some issues with a reverb turning itself of when using the desktop Tone Studio editor, and a report of a splotchy, streaky LCD display which looked bad enough to warrant a return-- but the buyer got it from Japan and thinks it would cost too much in shipping to exchange it.

There are others on that forum who aren't focused on the synthesis. So I'm getting to hear some info about the acoustic & electric models. One thing I've heard very little about is the bass mode and it's features. I'm might just go start a thread.
February 27, 2020  | favorite_border stub
Ok. I've had a little time with my replacement unit. My overall impression is very positive. The build is solid, the sound is good to great, and the UI is intuitive. The selection of sound sculpting options is ridiculous, and the ability to work with split paths and external controls is all there.

As a side note, I requested a demo of the acoustic bass model on the V-Guitar forum and finally someone obliged. They used a fretless bass, which it turns out was pretty key to getting an authentic sound. I think it sounded very realistic and I could imagine with a little EQ and tweaking I could find a very good approximation there. If I end up getting more steady work playing bass in music theater gigs, I might invest in a GK-3B (and possibly a fretless).

I'll probably need to work more extensively with the distortion/o.d. as well as the amp sims to see if I can coax a less harsh version of distortion out of it. I think I can, it it probably has to do with some global settings as well as a willingness to use EQ with assertiveness.

The reverbs are an improvement over the GP-10, but seem to just be higher resolution versions of them. As such, it is not easy to get a smooth, spacious wash. And some just sound pretty weak, still-- with that aspect of sounding like digital delay lines-- as opposed diffuse reflections that have more complexity.

The display seems to be a bit of a compromise. On one hand, it's easy to read, and I expect it will last, but it does have some ghosting & streaking-- none of which are problematic at the right contrast setting.

I'm pleased to see extensive MIDI control on offer, as well as some ramping functions so, for example, you can fade volume up/down with a switch.

I'm not at all excited about the synth capabilities, even though I'm sure they are great. I'm more excited about the ability to create a very rich stacked sound as well as classy emulations of guitars, amps, etc.

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