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
February 4, 2009 @ 4:16 pm
All the D synths are cool, but come on.. The D-50 (Fifty not Twenty or Seventy) is king of the hill everytime.. that synth is magic and these later models are mere impersinations of a great master :)
January 11, 2009 @ 2:41 am
I've done a cover version of a famous contraversial late 1970's double album song quickly just by running through 2 factory drum preset patterns. And using the guitar and bass patches. Clue: They could send me back to mother in it's cardboard box. I better play all day and play all night and keep my music feelings deep inside. Another song I did was a prequel to that song but is found earlier on the album. All in all it was just another brick in the synth.
January 11, 2009 @ 2:40 am
Used it as a learning tool for composing and sound engineering. Ring modulation can be used with synth tone and PCM tones. Can make unique tones with the tone structures. It is more versitle than the D-50 as far as partial structure. The D-50 chip is faster and fatter I think. Sounds are nice and D-50ish. No chorus. Reverb and Delay are primitive but make their point. Seperate envelopes for Wave Generator, filter and AMp make interesting sounds. Synth waves have Saw, square and PULSE. PWM is possible. Has pattern memory and pattern rythem track. Could also use a seperate track to add manual percussion or drum sounds or whatever. Basic songs structure/ideas and execution could be done on this quickly even after a bad day at work. Work could be stored on floppy disk drive. I only exceeed polyphony and not cpu resource on this so it is great.
January 2, 2009 @ 5:18 pm
I've had my D-20 for 20 years and it is a fascinating and complex synth. Essentially it's a D-50 workstation (multitrack sequencer + dsk drive) that is multi-timbral with more than double the PCM sampled sounds (256 vs 100), double the number of partials (4 vs 2) to construct tones and more LAS structures (13 vs 7). I had to map out the sound structures and buy a separate programming book to effectively program it. The English translation of the user manual must have been over a weekend and it's a struggle to work with. I've had a lot of fun with my D-20 over the years and it's unique synthesis capabilities make it as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. If you like complexity, you'll love the D-20 and will also like the Korg Karma.
November 6, 2008 @ 5:29 pm
It is a very interesting synth...the presets are bad but if you start programming you ll love it.I don't use the internal fx ,I run this through a fx unit and it sounds awesome!It is so similar to A d-50 and i can say it has more updated features:the waveforms structure,more samples and drum sounds:)Don't forget to mention it has AM and PWM.A major weak point is that it has only one LFO which can't affect the filter but only the pitch,bad :(...oh and is only polyphonic you can't make mono lead sounds on it (strange?)
VSE Rating

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User Rating

Rated 3.57 (474 Votes)

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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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