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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163 Visitor comments
Chris
February 12, 2013 @ 5:48 am
Not sure what the big hoo-ha is about the Roland D-50, I guess it was an important step at the time, but the sounds were just poor quality early digital 8 bit samples "glued" to some rather plain analog sounds that were then treated with early 8-bit digital delay and/or reverb. Early digital (anything!) Generally wasn't very good. So why people would still rate this as "Awesome" today is odd. I love analog synths, but when makers starting incorportaing digital (early 8-bit) I personally feel most synths went down hill for a while till the 90's which is when digital got good/found its place.
George
January 23, 2013 @ 1:29 pm
I got one in very god shape for 150 $ the last week. Many great retro sounds, but i need an editor or the extra programmer PG1000 for editing.
Plinky88
December 29, 2012 @ 2:07 pm
I have had a d-50 since it first came out in 1987!
Still works great to this day - good solid instrument.
@PAY - $650 is a little steep - but if it is in mint condition it
is probably considered a collectors item!

I used the D50 mainly for providing soundtracks for
live theatre performances and it never failed to impress!

With some tweaking, you can make some really great
brass sounds. The only real drawback was lack of
a really good acoustic piano sound, but everything
else more than made up for it.
Digi Fan
November 27, 2012 @ 10:51 pm
D-50!!!! Digital synth with soul. I now have the PG1000. pure love.
Herbert Saltzman MD
November 25, 2012 @ 10:19 am
I stumbled across this excellent and free editor/librarian for the Roland D-50 synthesizer.
It's called D50 Librarian and here is the link for the download of this program. Short learning curve. Click on download on left column to start. This program transfered sysex banks.

http://www.d50librarian.co.uk/#/sysex-patch-files/4543473554
 
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  • 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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