Roland D-50 / D-550

Roland D-50 Image

The D-50 is an all-time favorite digital synth that's still just as popular today as when it first came out in '87. Once Roland's hottest digital synth, it competed against the Yamaha DX7, and was much easier to use. By joining 8-bit PCM samples with "LAS" synth-generated sounds, the D-50 is capable of unique and complex sounds. The PCM samples contained the attack transients, while the rest of the sound came from the Linear Arithmatic Synth (LAS) section which sounds very analog, with subtractive-style synthesis and low-pass-resonant filters. Built-in chorus and (for the first time) digital reverb are also included for giving your sounds space and life! It also has a joystick controller for real-time timbre manipulation. The D-50 was great for new and non-acoustic, percussive, ethereal and beautiful pads & sounds.

Roland D-550 Image

Roland D-550 Rack Version

Both the D-50 and D-550 benefit from the PG-1000 external controller which gives you very plain and simple slider/fader type control of all adjustable parameters of the synth. The D-50 includes MIDI on all 16 channels but because it is monotimbral you can only use one channel at a time. There is an upgrade which will give the D-50 and its rackmount version a full 16 channels of simultaneous MIDI multitimbral data communication. This popular synth has been widely used in all forms of music. Eric Clapton, Enya, 808 State, Jean Michel Jarre, Vince Clarke, Apollo 440, Eat Static, LTJ Bukem, Fluke, Information Society, Lab-4, Gary Numan, Rick Wakeman, Kitaro, Rush, Vangelis, Richard Barbieri, Boston and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran are just a few of the many satisfied users.

Check Roland D-50 / D-550 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.

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Comments

Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland D-50 / D-550? 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.

152 Visitor comments
tom
February 21, 2014 @ 10:27 pm
I have owned my D-50 since it's release. The joystick does not spring into the center position. It was not designed to do so. Awesome keyboard even to this day. LOVE IT..
neil
February 18, 2014 @ 7:07 pm
luke......the d50's joystick does not have a spring.....or at least mine doesn't anyway!
the joystick remains in the last used position.
if you do buy a d50....download chris nightingales d50 editior, it's free and works in the same way as pg1000 and acts as a library for d50 sounds.
Luke
February 17, 2014 @ 9:47 am
I'm interested in buying a D-50, but I have a question I'm hoping someone here can answer -- does the joystick have a spring? As in, does the joystick naturally return to the center when it's not in use? I've been looking at eBay listings, and I'm not sure if some of the joysticks I'm seeing are broken, or if the joystick remains in its last used position. Thanks for the help!
David J
January 14, 2014 @ 11:18 am
I've had a D50 for 20 years, my DX7S is more user friendly than this thing! It shall stay unused until I can swap it for something user friendly. I can't find the mental energy or patience to squeeze a decent electric piano patch out of it. It's great if you like futuristic pads and industrial clanging. Also, it's about as touch sensitive as a rotting corpse.
Scott
December 5, 2013 @ 2:23 pm
I bought one new back around '87, then like most others, sold it a few years later. Now all these years later, I had to snag a 550. Even though I have a Fantom G and a lot of other stuff, the D50 really does have its own character. One thing I think people now forget is just how amazing Roland's filters were - go read about the S770 or S760 samplers, and how amazing they sounded, really like analog filters, but were digital. The D50 may technically be digital but it can sound quite analog if that's your thing. With how little they cost, you can buy one then sell it if you don't like it!
 
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  • 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 - 16 voices (32 partials with 2 per voice); 8 voices (using 4 partials per voice in Dual or Split Mode)
  • Oscillators - Digital LAS (Linear Arithmetic Synthesis) & PCM, 32 osc.
  • LFO - YES (3 x 2tones = 6 LFOs)
  • Filter - low-pass-resonant
  • Envelopes - ADSR envelopes
  • Effects - YES
  • #Instruments - Monotimbral (can be upgraded for multitimbrality)
  • Keyboard - 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Memory - 64 patches
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1987-89

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