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.

164 Visitor comments
May 10, 2012 @ 9:07 am
I agree with everything ponyman said - this is still an amazing synth.

It has a power and an almost indefinable 'feel' to the sound - much more distinctive than any of the later Roland digital machines.

Looks great, solidly made and an aural quality that's simply breath-taking.

Believe me, you NEED one of these!
April 26, 2012 @ 11:29 am
The Roland D50 is full of life, like you wouldn't beleive. I have got about 100 sound banks for it in Sysex format. Old sounds, new sounds..... i can do it all.

Beautiful looking synth and great key action too.

One of the best synths ever made.
April 24, 2012 @ 2:52 pm
I adore the D50 and I love its headroom.
April 14, 2012 @ 2:52 pm
beautiful instrument.

for etherical, "vaporized", dissolved sounding stuff this is still my No1 tool, even if already 25 years old. a professional instrument in the best sense of the word, as it sounds ace when recorded, behaves well in the mix and can be so sublime that it almost dissapears into "sonic transparency".

what else...solid build quality...and: as this was quite a successful in it day, there are still a few around which keeps prices reasonable. no stupid "buy it now for 1000€" with this one.

bottom line: if you are into synths, you should have at one point had one.
Steve Pelchat
April 7, 2012 @ 9:58 pm
For multitimbral just grab a D110, thay are cheap 35-70 dollars in auctions. Heck add a U220 for D70 like sounds, they are cheap too. Use the D50 or 550 for the main voice.
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
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