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In-depth Feature:  Roland XV-2020
Albert Potts writes: .

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The XV-2020 has a little bit of practically everything in its basic sound set, and can be added to with up to two SRX expansion boards, giving it appeal to a wide range of musicians. The XV-2020 also includes 40 of the effects from the 5080/5050. It's a good selection and covers the basics well. The COSM effects of the XV-5080/5050 are not present in the XV-2020.

The programming flexibility of the XV synth engine is quite remarkable, especially in such a diminutive synth. Samples stored in ROM are the basic building blocks used to make patches, which can consist of up to four layers of mono or stereo waveforms. Patches are then organized into performances with up to 16 different parts. While 64-note polyphony may seem like a lot, some patches use up to 8 layers, meaning the 2020 becomes eight note polyphonic (64 divided by 8 equals 8). As a result, care still needs to be taken regarding voice allocation in heavy sequencing.

Roland states that the XV-2020 features "1,083 waveforms derived from the acclaimed XV-5080/5050 modules". The word "derived" interested me, but when setting the XV-5080 and XV-2020 manuals side by side it became apparent that the waveform list was identical. When I asked a Roland rep about the phrase "derived from" he stated that the synth engine of the XV-2020 is configured slightly differently from the other XV models, although the sample ROM is the same. This is important because patches from the XV-5080/5050/Fantom will be compatible with the 2020, and vice versa.

While the XV-2020 sounds great, it does sound slightly different than the other Roland XV synths. Perhaps that's because it doesn't have COSM effects, or perhaps the modified synth engine. The patches seemed a tiny bit darker and slightly softer. I want to be clear though: the XV-2020 has plenty of output volume, no problem there. A number of patches from the XV-5080/5050/Fantom appear in the XV-2020. Again, I was impressed that such a small synth could sound so big and full.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • XV-2020 pages at Roland
  • XV-2020 User Reviews@ Synth Site

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    DMorrow    Said...

    Thank you for this great information. I now have this discontinued item and it is still revalent.

    08-Mar-09 11:12 AM

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