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.

Related forum topics


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.

164 Visitor comments
November 20, 2010 @ 4:18 pm
Hi Chris,
I've sent you an email about this...Do your application supports the VC-1 included on the V-Synth XT? Sysex import Issues...
margus kiis
November 6, 2010 @ 6:08 pm
Heavily overrated and made late 80s sound so horribly.
In Estonia every pro musician bought it (in 1989) and made terrible things.
October 16, 2010 @ 5:59 pm
In the USA D-550 backlights can be purchased from for $28 + $3 shipping. An instructional CD is $2.00. Telesis accepts credit cards.

I also want to recommend Chris Nightingale's awesome D-50 / D-550 Editor / Librarian, which blows away most commercial librarian editors out there.
Barry Short
October 13, 2010 @ 9:45 am
I always wanted one of these when I was a kid, but could never afford one. Last year I got one for £150 in perfect condition. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as I remembered all those years ago. Wow it's stood the test of time, still a great synth with fantastic sounds.

In fact I fallen in love quite badly. I've just sold my slimline Novation SL61 mk2 midi keyboard and replaced it with the D50. I prefer the key action and the velocity and after touch has a more manageable response.

So when I get the "latest must have abies" coming into my studio, they may laugh at my old school centre piece, but I don't care.
Chris Nightingale
September 28, 2010 @ 2:22 am
Hi Terry,

You can get replacement invertors as well as the backlight foils from - just search for the D-50 / D-550 backlights and there should also be a link to the invertors - you need the 5v for the D-550.

The same thing happened with mine where by I replaced the backlight and it still didn't work - took it to an engineer who said the invertor had gone - so got one from and I now have a lovely blue back-lit D-550.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.48 (1897 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

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