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
October 27, 2011 @ 9:45 am
Used on french singer François FELDMAN songs.
October 26, 2011 @ 1:47 pm
To add to the previous post... the signal path (DA, effect chip, amps) can be a bit noisy. But you have to remember it beeing +25 yers now...
October 26, 2011 @ 1:40 pm
Great synth with nice sounds. Have worked with them since the 80's. Lots of the original ROM cards are available as sysex files. Have repaired a few units. Problem with keys not triggering correctly is common these days (due to its age). Often repaired by simply dismounting and cleaning the trigger pcb and the rubber trigger pads (problem caused by dirt/dust). Great vintage 80's synth if found in good condition, but sometimes a bit overpriced. But hey, there's still a market for them!
Arik S.
October 23, 2011 @ 1:33 pm
I own my third D50, I had one in 1990 back in Russia (cost me a fortune then), then bought one here, in San Francisco, was stupid to sell it playing with soft synths at the time, then found my present one that I'll never sell. Amazing sounds, and if you'll spend some time programming it, directly or with software editors, you'll get amazing sounds! Sad that too many keyboardists today are just players, messing with presets or downloads, not like true synth gods of the past like Nick Rhodes and others. Program it yourself, guys, try make own sounds, experiment, you'll be rewarded big time!
October 20, 2011 @ 9:42 am
2 words: [beep] ing lovely!
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User Rating

Rated 4.48 (1887 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
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