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#1746101 - 08/18/21 04:56 AM Am I still mad, twenty years later?
althemusicwizard Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Manchester, U.K.
As I await the arrival of two VS1680 machines from Ebay, I re-visited old haunting grounds and came across this old thread of mine.

http://www.vsplanet.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=50138&Number=463582#Post463582

I don't know how many guys from the past still hang here, but reading through the archived post, it made me chuckle to think of the several tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment that has been through my studio in the last twenty years, to end up buying a couple of used VS1680 for less than 300.

I just posted this on the VS1680 forum which I may be visiting a bit more now.
I hung around here about 20 years ago.
I think I've used every home recording system produced by Roland, Fostex, AKAI and YAMAHA. I now have a mega PC setup with a Sounddcaft Spirit desk and Cymatic UTrack 24. That's for the orchestral stuff. I've just bought a couple of Tascam 238 and I fixed a broken Tascam 688 Midistudio. I just bought a TASCAM DP32SD to see what the latest was like in digital portastudios. The sound is pretty good, but the usability is not for me.....forever pressing buttons to change the screen. So I watched 'Nik the Fix' video on Youtube for the VS1680. Out of all the VS and VM systems I owned, the VS1680 was one I used as my main recorder from the time it came out to the time the VS2480 surfaced. The VS1680 was then demoted to a gigging playback / mixer for a duo I was in and it performed great. You could set up whole set-lists and simply use markers to sort the gig out. You could use the 'STOP AT NEXT MARKER' whic meant you didn't have t physically stop the unit. I think I also used automation to turn the EFX on and off automatically.
All these great features were just for gigging.....but watching Nik's film it reminded me of the great things that were on the 1680....like lots of marker buttons....good editing facilities...TAP tempo from markers for creating TEMPO MAPS (tthere isn't even any midi on the TASCAM DP32SD). So I've just bought a couple of units from Ebay as they're now cheap as chips and I want to try combining stuff to see what the 'limitations' of the RDAC are (if any) and how things now sound to my older ears. I'll try comparing the Soundcraft pres against going straight into the 1680. I'll try running signals via the cassettes first. I'll try running 8 tracks from the phono outs straight into the Cymatic (which can act as a 24 track recorder) and into Presonus Studio One and comparing the WAVS produced against 'exported wavs' created from the 1680's own drive when using the 'VS Wave Export' utility.
The TASCAM is going back.....not because it doesn't sound good, but because it was too fiddly to use and not enjoyable. I don't remember the VS1680 ever not being enjoyable to use.


Edited by althemusicwizard (08/18/21 04:57 AM)

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#1746322 - 08/19/21 09:03 AM Re: Am I still mad, twenty years later? [Re: althemusicwizard]
RD Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 07/29/02
Posts: 1376
Loc: Michigan, someplace near a swa...
Lol well I'm an old timer here too...got my (still working perfectly!) 1680 in maybe '97 or '98...can't remember and I'm too lazy to search out my posts to figure it out ;-)

I use the 1680 as a tracking machine due to ease of working and the sonic signature of the RDAC warmth...and assemble all my tracks in Reaper, having previously backed them up with VIRDIS and then converted to wav.

Also picked up a spare 1680 on ebay a few years back..

Glad to see you here after all these years!! Totally looking forward to hearing your experiences, ongoing.

Rick (RD)


Edited by RD (08/19/21 09:04 AM)
_________________________
Using VS 1680 24 years now and counting!

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#1746427 - 08/19/21 03:27 PM Re: Am I still mad, twenty years later? [Re: RD]
JohnM Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Thanks for posting that. \:\)

I have a VS-880EX that I post about now and then, and may start
using again. (That rhymes!)

You may or may not have seen my postings. I really wanted the
VS-1680, the "flagship" of the time (1998), and was considering
a VS-840 as well as the VS-880.

A friend told me about the release of the VS-880, and I contacted
Roland, to get their VS-880 demonstration VHS tape, which impressed
me greatly. I ended up with the VS-880EX that went on sale for $1749
at the Guitar Center in Natick, MA, around Christmas time of 1998.
I also got on a 2-week waiting list for the CD burner VS-CDR for $595!

Anyway, my unit has some issues, primarily with the master fader, and
I hope that is all, as it's been powered off for quite a while, but I
plan to test it, and try it again within a matter of days. \:\)


Edited by JohnM (08/19/21 04:36 PM)

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#1746546 - 08/20/21 08:28 AM Re: Am I still mad, twenty years later? [Re: JohnM]
dkfackler Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 04/24/06
Posts: 609
Loc: Coventry, OH, planet Thulcandr...
Those faders are not difficult to replace if you're not afraid to open the machine. I replaced four in my 880 a few years back. the biggest problem is all the screws.

~dk

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#1746547 - 08/20/21 08:31 AM Re: Am I still mad, twenty years later? [Re: JohnM]
althemusicwizard Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Manchester, U.K.
So the first VS1680 arrived yesterday. I've ordered three as I want to interface them using the 8 RCA outputs to my Soundcraft Spirit 24 desk. My idea is to link each machine via SPDIF (may need some kind of splitter) so that I can work on the material just within the machines. I don't plan on using any EQ or FX, it will be solely to edit the material, or submix the material. I plan on getting the material as 'finished' as I can, so that when I to do a final mix, it will be into the Spirit desk and on to the computer. I'm hoping this reduces any 'Rolandish' artifacts that are produced by mixing within the units.....we'll see.

Anyhow, the first machine arrived yesterday. Cosmetically it's pretty good, but after the whole afternoon checking it through, there are problems with most of the line jacks. The sound on some is distorted and the pots crackle as well. When they're in position they're ok some of the time. So later, I managed to hook up an SPDIF input to the machine and things were fine there. I wasn't planning on directly recording into the machines other than SPDIF so maybe it isn't going to be a problem. When the other machines arrive I'll be able to tell whether this is a quirk to this machine or whether all of them are now suffering signs of aging.
Has anybody done any repairs / modifications to the 1680's preamps? It got me thinking that maybe the best modification you could do, would be to replace with just 'insert' point connectors or similar?
What do you guys think?

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#1746730 - 08/21/21 08:09 AM Re: Am I still mad, twenty years later? [Re: althemusicwizard]
JohnM Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Yes, I am somewhat hesitant to open the machine, which is the issue.

I've been reading about the quantity of screws, and so forth, in the
VS-880 forum for years, and I have not "broken the skin" on the VS-880EX
yet.

I was planning on possibly opening the machine this past winter, and see
what it looked like inside, and possibly removing the master fader, and
also perhaps modifying it somewhat to provide some jacks on the outside
to facilitate "external" control of the master fader, etc.

I have been contemplating testing out the VS today, and I have been thinking
about it for a few days now. \:\)

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#1746817 - 08/21/21 05:11 PM Re: Am I still mad, twenty years later? [Re: JohnM]
dkfackler Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 04/24/06
Posts: 609
Loc: Coventry, OH, planet Thulcandr...
re the quantity of screws: get an empty egg carton and assign the various length screws to different compartments; make note of each screw length and location as you remove them. There are a lot, but this can be done successfully.


IIRC, there are only three solder points to each fader. Get some desolder wick for fader removal.

Imagine how pumped you'll be after the successful repair!

~dk

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#1746820 - 08/21/21 05:18 PM Re: Am I still mad, twenty years later? [Re: dkfackler]
JohnM Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Thanks for the tip(s). \:\)
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#1747611 - 08/26/21 04:47 PM Re: Am I still mad, twenty years later? [Re: JohnM]
althemusicwizard Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Manchester, U.K.
The week I fell back in love with the VS1680.....now I remember why I loved it so much. It's deep enough to get the job done, but not so deep that you end up paralysed and lost. I've tried a CF card solution, a SCSI2SD which looks promising once I can decipher which files relate to what....and a 1Gb Jaz drive. I'll look out for a 2Gb Jaz drive as this would be an ideal way to flirt song copies between each machine, with the SCSI2SD an ideal way to back up the whole machine.
On re-reading a lot of what was written about the machine at the time, it still sounds really good to me, though I've been using it only at the moment on sounds coming from Studio One and the Native Instruments Symphonic Series Sound library. I have recorded a few test vocal stuff and bass guitar through a Focusrite Trak Master pre that I've just picked and that sounded good too. The real bonus for me in all of this, is that the editing is how I like to work. I find editing on the PC just too tiring, with the constant zooming in and out to find points etc. I'm sure I could get better at it, but the VS1680 has the right mix of tools for me to get the job done.

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