Roland D2

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Roland's D2 Groovebox is a compact, performance-oriented Groovebox (sequencer/sound module)--sort of a smaller MC-505--designed entirely around Roland's D-Field Controller technology. This touch-sensitive pad makes it easy to program and modify patterns, sounds, effects and more simply by touching the surface. It has all of the 505's sounds and a similar sequencer with 150 all-new patterns including the latest 2-Step and R&B styles.

The D-Field controller at the heart of the D2 (also featured on the V-Synth) offers three distinct modes: SOUND makes playing patterns and sound effects easy by touching the D-Field; XY provides simultaneous control over two parameters (e.g. filter cutoff + resonance); SPIN creates turntable-style effects by tracing the pad in a circular motion.

The D2 has more than enough sounds inside, with 600 Preset patches and 30 Preset drum kits from the MC-505. These dance-oriented sounds include ultra-fat bass and lead synths, screaming TB-303's, dance piano and strings, plus 30 floor-pounding drum kits. Phrase/Groove loops are also plentiful with 150 patterns plus 240 RPS (Realtime Phrase Sequence) patterns. There is a new Step Recording method using the D-Field and 32 LEDs as well. Separate Reverb, Delay and Multi-FX sections with Groove-oriented algorithms add space and effects to your sounds & grooves. And with the D2's Megamix function, it's easy to remix patterns into your own creations using the D-Field or Value dial.

The D2 is an awesome concept in terms of hands-on, real-time performance control. However the hidden menus and overall navigation can cause some headaches. If you want to edit your own sounds, you may want to connect a MIDI Controller to tweak all the sounds you want and save into one of the 256 users patches. The D2 is definitely designed for the electronica, dance and hip-hop musician on a budget. It is not as complete a Groovestation package as the MC-505 or MC-909, but its D-Field controller is very novel and fun to use. Because the D2 is fairly cheap, it does make a great toy to add to your arsenal if manipulating beats and grooves in real-time and at the touch of finger is what you're in to.

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Demos & Media

Roland D2 drum sounds (factory presets patterns a01-a50)
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trom69
Hilltree - Roland D2 groovebox track
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hilltree
ManualRoland has made manuals for most of their products available as free PDF downloads.

Specifications

Polyphony - 64 voices (8-part multitimbral)
Oscillators - Sample-Driven
Sequencer - 150 patterns, 8 tracks, 96 ppq resolution, 40,000 note capacity, tempo: 20-240
Arpeggiator - 43 presets, 10 user
Effects - Reverb: 6 Delay: 2 Multi-Effects (MFX): 25
Memory - Sounds: 600 presets, 256 user
Rhythm Sets: 30 presets, 20 users
Keyboard - None, 8 Trigger pads
Control - MIDI (IN/OUT)
Date Produced - 2001

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Resources

Images from Roland-US.

Reviewed August 2008.