Roland U-20 / U-220

Roland U-20 Image

The U-20 is nothing special. It is a digital synthesizer that uses ROM samples of pianos, brass, strings, bass, drums, etc. However it is built for professional use and is truly a quality instrument, even though its sounds may seem like dated-eighties synth pop cheese. It's got nice piano sounds, but they're not the real thing.

The U-20 features 6 part multitimbrality with a 7th drum part, plus 2 direct outputs and 2 stereo outputs. The 30 note polyphony helps if you take advantage of this synths multitimbrality for creating entire performances and ensembles. Digital reverb, chorus and delay effects liven up your sounds. Editing is simple, but there are no filters. With several performance features, the U-20 has a full 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch. There's an on-board arpeggiator, a chord-memory feature and the U-20 accepts Roland SNU-110 sound library cards. It has been used by Prodigy and Astral Projection.

Roland U-220 Image

The Roland U-220 (pictured above) is simply a rack-mount version of the U-20. It has all the same sounds and features packaged in a compact single-space sound module.

Lookup Roland U-20 / U-220 Prices

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63 Visitor comments
June 27, 2009 @ 7:08 am
I bought my U20 many years ago and im still using it today gigging!i mainly use the piano, strings and organ sounds. i cant see me ever parting with this keyboard, its stood by me. there was a time when i was doing a gig and my other keyboards were loked in storage, so i had to reliey on my U20 to get me through, IT DID!! its a great keyboard, and yeah the sounds are dated now, but what do you expect in todays technology.
June 3, 2009 @ 3:14 pm
Teh u-220 was also used by radiohead.
May 31, 2009 @ 7:24 am
I bought my U20 mainly for use as a master-keyboard, but there are sounds in this thing that still are quite very(!!!) usable. The keyboard is really good, has great feel in the part of velocity sensetivity while aftertouch ist not that great.
I really use the strings, organs and the acoustic piano, which is still great. I just cuts through and stands in the mix very well. One of the few pianos i know, that can mess with a distorted E-Guitar in a Hardrock-song and still will be heard above it.
But its true that most of the sounds are outdated by far today. But when your layer more parts and send them through external hardware you can get cool leads out of it, and especially decent pads.
I don't like it's pitchbend/modulation stick, but hey it's a Roland, what would you guess.
March 8, 2009 @ 10:13 pm
Hi, in the U-20, where is the internal battery located?

Thanks, Jim
January 17, 2009 @ 4:09 pm
I used this keyboard years ago and had the same problem with the keyboard not working. It was the best keyboard I could afford at the time. I took it to a place in the Dallas area years ago to have it looked at. They told me there was a pad underneath the keys on the keyboard that wore out. They replaced it and it cost a few hundred dollars...better than buying a new board. I loved this keyboard. Great organ sounds and nice piano sounds.
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 3.46 (374 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 - 30 voices
  • Oscillators - 4MB ROM samples
  • Multitimbral - 6 parts + 1 drum part
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - Reverb, Delay, Chorus; arpeggiator
  • Memory - 64 patches, expandable to 128 with external RAM card
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (w/ velocity & aftertouch)
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1989
  • Resources & Credits
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