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.

Lookup Roland D-50 / D-550 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay 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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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.

163 Visitor comments
July 22, 2014 @ 4:12 am
@Dav From quote one of your previous posts: Am I missing something big? Yes, you are.

The D50 is superior in sound to all the other DXX models. This can be attributed to a number of things but simply comparing spec against spec doesn't paint the full picture. There are a number of subtle variables that make the difference.

The D50 sounds like nothing else. The other DXX models may have additional features but as for sound, they are all lesser synths compared to the D50. The clue is in the fact the D50 was the flagship model. Everything else is a reduction of it.
July 17, 2014 @ 3:40 pm
Nice to see a zealot has pounced out to shout down anyone who questions their beliefs

By all means, continue to rabidly question my sanity just because you want to shore up your own confidence in your purchase, while [beep] ting on a different instrument that is valid in its own right, purely because YOU don't own it!

"Listen and understand, don't spam with uninformed questions."

Listen how? I didn't own a D-550 - at the time. & thanks for implying questions are bad, a.k.a. a desire to learn is bad! just because they don't agree with your personal biases

Really, get over yourself.
June 29, 2014 @ 4:15 am
does anyone know if there is an ipad version of pg1000 the ipg800 for the jx 8p?
June 13, 2014 @ 9:55 am
"Also, 50 series _can_ make 4-partial voices, by stacking two "Tones".

Both families have own benefits. My post mostly came from how many people call the 10 series awful, when it's clearly not!"

My god man, do you ever actually PLAY instruments or just study the spec sheets? get this, the D-110 etc ARE awful sounding BUDGET synths. The only other D that comes close is the D-70 and even that pales next to a D-50 (though has a handier filter like JD-800)

Who the hell needs multimbral in 2014? DAWs man DAWS!!

Play a D-50 before commenting & stop defending cheap budget synths!
June 13, 2014 @ 9:49 am
@ DAV - Dude, stop reading spec sheets and actually try playing one. Then you'll know. Not to be short with you but you appear to have no clue about how a D-50 really sounds. The other D's sound nothing like it, only superficially, and are cheap built cheap finish cheap(er) sound. D-50 was a flagship synth for a reason, it's a beautiful design and finish and it's engine is about pure sound not spec. The additional features of some of the other D's (ie multitimbrality) is totally irrelevant when it comes to SOUND. Listen and understand, don't spam with uninformed questions.
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Rated 4.48 (1888 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 - 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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