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.

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152 Visitor comments
median
August 5, 2011 @ 12:10 am
Simply put: one of the greatest synthesizers ever built! no BS! Just look at the thing, it's a work of art before you even turn it on! Extremely well built and immaculately well finished you can pick up good examples today that look like they just left the factory.

As a synthesizer this is pure beauty both in sounds and looks. The writing on the back of it also adds to the 'futuristic look' - so ahead of it's time in 1987

And not just the looks - the sound is glorious. Don't use the presets or PCM and dig into the deep synthesis within. Warm, epic, beautiful... D-50
Johan
August 1, 2011 @ 3:26 pm
The presets don't really show this machine's potential. Start programming and you can get some really mean and nasty sounds out of it! Even with just one partial!
P6
July 26, 2011 @ 3:54 pm
@zp - maybe that's cos the M1 is a POS? Seriously boring synth, great in the year of release to rape it's sounds but after that... and no decent filters. It's boring and barely a 'synthesizer' in comparison to the D-50.
rjp2
July 10, 2011 @ 3:46 pm
Does anyone have any of the commercial soundbanks in sysex format?
if so send to:
rjpierson *AT* gmail.com
Cheers
Jorge
July 9, 2011 @ 10:41 am
All the "Revolutions" album from Jean Michel Jarre has been made with the D-50
 
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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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