Roland D-20

Roland D-20 Image

The D-20 makes a great budget or alternative D-50. It's more closely related to the D-10 and D-110 synthesizers but adds an 8-voice sequencer with a rhythm track. The D-20 is a digital synth that employs linear arithmetic synthesis (LAS). It's a confusing synthesis / editing method composed of tones, partials and timbres. Basically it all boils down to tricky programming which, if you know what your doing, can have interesting and unique results. Reverb effects and internal / external memory storage are also available on the D-20. Definitely worth a listen.

Check Roland D-20 Prices on eBay

The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland D-20? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

79 Visitor comments
November 21, 2012 @ 2:51 pm
Also, with Synthworks you can create entire banks of patches, timbres, and tones and save or load them to either the keyboard or the Atari. In fact, I'm willing to bet there's quite a bit you can do with Synthworks that you can't to with the PG-10.

The coolest thing is that you can actually graphically edit the filters and envelopes. All those numerical values get turned into something that makes a lot of visual sense.

I'm still learning how to use it. As everything is with this keyboard, it's a bit tricky to figure out at first.
November 21, 2012 @ 2:47 pm
To Mark, and anyone else considering the PG-10:

While I haven't actually used the PG-10, it seems very similar to the menu system of the D-20, but a bit easier to navigate. I'm sure it's useful, but they're kind of expensive (usually $100+).

Instead, if you have a Windows PC and MIDI, you can use Steinberg Synthworks, which is far better. You'll need to download Steem, a TOS image, and the Synthworks program. Once you get it running, you can use the GUI to tweak the synth in real time.

I have an Alesis io26. It works great with Steem and Synthworks for editing the D-20.
November 21, 2012 @ 2:36 pm
My brother used it a lot with the sequencer, but that was about twenty years ago. I've tried using the sequencer a little bit, but found it very frustrating. My diskette drive no longer works, so I haven't bothered with it. I'm using my computer to sequence.

Roland seems to have actually laid out the menus pretty well, but the labels can be confusing and navigation takes some practice. It helps to think visually and try to remember the layout of the menus. Maybe even make a diagram. There are a bunch in the manual, but none of them have the entire menu system mapped out.
November 20, 2012 @ 7:08 pm
Just bought me a 1988 Roland D20. what a machine. the manual here sure was helpful tho not the easist thing to get the hang the hang of. i think ive worked out everything except how to record and sequence tracks hence the sequencer mode. could anyone possibly give me an idea of an order of buttons to press you know? also does anyone else use it without a computer or other midi devices? Cheers
November 11, 2012 @ 9:50 pm
I am posting this here not only for fellow D-20 owners, but also for myself. I just found an incredible website ( that has a bunch of stuff for the D-20. I know, [beep] , right? This thankless individual obviously spent some time and effort finding and documenting various utilities and patches for this seldom-loved keyboard. CHECK THIS ( OUT: Steinberg actually made a synth editor for this thing back in 1988 for the Atari ST! You can run it in an emulator! I trust many D-20 owners will be interested.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 3.58 (459 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 32 voices
  • Oscillators - Digital LAS (Linear Arithmetic Synthesis) & ROM Samples
  • Effects - 8 Effects
  • Multitimbral - 9 parts
  • Drums - 1 kit, 63 sounds
  • Memory - 128 preset patches, 64 user patches 128 performances
  • Keyboard - 61 keys with velocity
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1988

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.