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 you are 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.

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81 Visitor comments
Naja
February 7, 2013 @ 8:49 am
Hi! I just got this piano from a familymember, and I can't get it to sound like an ordinary piano? The sounds it makes are really wierd, and I kinda just wants to use use for classical music. Thanks! :-)
alen
November 23, 2012 @ 4:01 pm
FYI, the best track I've ever heard done _only_ with a D-10/110/20 family synth (it was in fact a D-20):

http://dubois.y.free.fr/ak/Trance_D20.mp3

The author describes here (http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?2194885-Roland-D-20) that this is recorded straight from the D-20's stereo output. Very impressive.
adam
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.
adam
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.
adam
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.
 
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay 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
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