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
June 13, 2014 @ 9:49 am
@ DAV - Dude, stop reading spec sheets and actually try playing one. Then you'll know. Not to be short with you but you appear to have no clue about how a D-50 really sounds. The other D's sound nothing like it, only superficially, and are cheap built cheap finish cheap(er) sound. D-50 was a flagship synth for a reason, it's a beautiful design and finish and it's engine is about pure sound not spec. The additional features of some of the other D's (ie multitimbrality) is totally irrelevant when it comes to SOUND. Listen and understand, don't spam with uninformed questions.
June 6, 2014 @ 3:50 am
congo zaire: I believe you're looking for an IEC-C9 power cable - I just picked one up for my S-50. Paid about $12. Syntaur has them, or order the Hosa PWC-178 from a dealer.
June 1, 2014 @ 8:35 am
I see now 50 series has not just PWM by LFO, but also amp & filter – in 3 assignable LFOs. Whereas 10 series can modulate only pitch by just 1 LFO. This is a big benefit of the 50 series, offering a lot to patches where modulation is desirable. Chorus is a similar advantage here.

Also, 50 series _can_ make 4-partial voices, by stacking two "Tones". But that makes it fully monotimbral. Whereas 10 series can do up to 8 different 4-partial voices ;)

Both families have own benefits. My post mostly came from how many people call the 10 series awful, when it's clearly not! Be nice to it ;)
May 29, 2014 @ 2:46 pm
Not dissing D-50/550, but why's everyone harp on them being so superior to D-10/110/20/5?

The 10 family offer 4 partials per voice; the 50 family only 2. The 10 series are 9-part multitimbral, 50s only 2. D-110 even has 6 separate outputs!

Am I missing something big? What do the 50 series have that's so special? 1 more LFO for PWM? Better samples? Chorus? I'm not sure those outweigh the 2 fewer partials + 7 fewer parts. If I've missed anything else that is genuinely superior to the 10 series, educate me! :-) Not looking for subjective comments about sound without evidence, though. ;-)
congo zaire
May 24, 2014 @ 8:23 am
i recently bought roland D-50 synthetizer second hand. but the problem I have now is, I am looking for where I can find it power cord (cable).
any help will be really appreciated!!!
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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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