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
Izera Stephen
March 21, 2010 @ 9:03 am
Martin pretty much summed it up in the last post.
I do like the drum sounds and some of the drum patterns.
Try running any GM drum pattern in to its drum machine via midi and its a total blast from the past, even a modern beat will be transformed in to Duran Duran. LOL.
I think Roland could have beefed up the prests a little because it really does sound like a machine with a lot of potential but the prests at least are a little bit ho hum.
I think in the right hands it would be really good.
January 10, 2010 @ 7:08 am
I have 2 of these now... One working, one for spares, as CPU's have been known to fail on these. It's great for creating cheesy 80's pop sounds of yesteryear, and has some really interesting sounds. I've yet to touch the programming of it yet, but one thing I will say is, it makes me want to buy a D-50.

It's a cheap and cheerful workstation with some decent usable sounds, and believe me, people GIVE these away!. I paid £25 for the spares one.... but got the working one for free!. My friend has also lined one up for free! Ears to the ground!!!
October 31, 2009 @ 6:08 pm
This synth brings back so many fond memories. This was the first synth that I came in contact with and spent 3 years making all sorts of music from early dance and techno, electronic and the like. It's a great synth and can produce some good sounds with a bit of patience.
August 30, 2009 @ 4:52 pm
from SOS article:

"The same synthesis architecture lay at the heart of the D10 and D20 synths, and their rackmount equivalent, the D110. Again, these employed the limited LA synthesis pioneered by the MT32 so, in comparison to the D50, they sounded uniformly uninspiring."

Lets make it clear here to all those idiot EBAY sellers who HAVE to mention the D-50 in their 'other D series' adverts to boost their resell prices. None of the synths other than th D-50 contained the 'FULL LA' Engine, none sound like the D-50. The D-70 included.
August 12, 2009 @ 3:54 am
Got mine when it was new. Had it until a couple of years ago. Used it with my atari and later on pc with cubase. Used the onboard sequencer on gigs. Nice feature with the floppy drive, but I remember it took time to reade/write data.

Some computer game creators (like sierra on-line) used midi and MT-32 to add sound/music to their games. And since the D-20 was MT-32 compatible you could use it aswell. You could often find new sounds that the game creators hade made!!!
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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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