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.

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62 Visitor comments
sraymar
September 9, 2010 @ 3:06 am
Bought mine new back in 91, still in great shape. Lots of good GM sounds, and FX sounds. I have a few PCM cards for it including Ethnic. If you want an extra timbral part try splitting a drum patch with bass. It has flanger, chorus, delay, reverb and a cool random panning effect. Also some interesting LFO waves and an ASDR envelope. For fun try detuning the drums, tweek the ASDR, add effects for some weird sounds(be sure to use that pitch bend lever!)

It makes for a good sampling source, I run it through Cool Edit and tweek away. It also layers well with other synths.
asbotech
June 21, 2010 @ 7:54 pm
bought this 3 years ago for £40.00 with no faults/missing keys...good sounds and then when linked to mc307( which i bought for £150) was an amazing duo for the price
Cal
May 31, 2010 @ 4:53 pm
Love both my U-20 and U-220. They may be fairly limited in terms of editing but the samples used for the pianos, the strings and "future" type sounds as well as the brilliant on-board drums make these both machines that I still use heavily. I've also got a U-110 and although it has some handy features (e.g. 8 outputs), I rarely use it as both the U-20 and the U-220 can do everything it does simply better.
Matt
March 14, 2010 @ 9:54 pm
Link to manuals has changed slightly. It's now:

ftp://ftp.roland.co.uk/productsupport/U-20/
Luis
February 27, 2010 @ 3:30 pm
Nothing special??? Maybe, but every Roland that followed was based on the waveforms introduced in the "U" products (even today's Juno's). With the add-on PCM cards, some of those sounds are still to be matched today.
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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

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