Synth Site: Roland: D-20 keyboard: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.7 out of 5
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Adriano Fernandes a part-time user from Brazil writes:
I bought the D-20 brand new, back in the late 80's. Even though I feel that most of the reviews here have pretty much nailed the positive and negative aspects of this machine, I'd like to add a few comments:

1. First of all, I must say that I've used the D-20's "obsolete" sequencer for a lot of pro and semi-pro projects, long before I was able to get a computer-assisted setup. Though it lacks many facilities easily found on sequencer software packages, it's still possible to make full arrangements without any "external" assistance;

2. The sounds are, indeed, quite similar to those on the D-50, though I prefer to think about the D-20 (and the D-10 as well) as different beasts. Even though people think of LA synths as the seminal "80's sound" machines, many adventurous musicians are still using them to great effect in contemporary music(Ozric Tentacles, Eat Static, etc.)

3. An used D-20 is bloody cheap for a true worksation (and remember, the D-20 was the first TRUE workstation - not the Korg M1, since it lacks storage facilities), and if used in a creative and intelligent manner, can be very useful.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Mar-02-2000 at 00:27
Bruddah Max a professional user from United Status of A Merry Cow writes:
i've been running into an interesting problem of late and thought i'd share it with the rest of you.

it seems my D-20 has developed a penchant for severely freaking out whenever i try to send it sys-ex dumps. it will freeze up and when restarted will do nada. when i do the initialization command (data transfer & write at power on) i get a "main board error". loveliness.

getting it back to working condition is easy - involving only the removal of about 22,000 screws (thank you messrs. black & decker for your handy power screwdriver) to lift off the back sheet metal and remove the board battery. initialize on restart and we're back in business.

now, i know about the whole aftertouch business and have my motu midi interface stopping all those messages before my D-20 can get even a glimpse of them, but so far as i know it there isn't any aftertouch in a system bank message, is there? also interesting is the spotty nature of this problem. is my D-20 dying?

by the way, my ROMs are version 1.0.0. are there newer ROMs for this disturbing little animal?


ps: a hell of a lot of dust can accumulate in a baby D.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-11-2000 at 20:31
Chris P. a part-time user from USA writes:
Here is some of the bad myths about the Keyboard: Third Party sounds: They are out there, it is just a matter of looking Programing: Not nearly that hard(though it does take awhile). Sounds: Yes most of presets are bad, but they are on all (well not kurzwell) keyboards, thats why you write your own patches, duh. The paino sounds fine too onec you tweak it a bit. Relaibility: My D-20 is reliable. of course saying any instrument is relaible is up to the user. The Good things: You can find it dirt cheap, and really it does still sound pretty good. It may not be good for electronica, but hey the d series was the standbye for the etherial styles of the late eighties mid ninties(New age, Dark Pop, etc...) and dammit it is good at being etherial. You can save your patches on a disk drive(even though it is slow), one of the few digitals from that age to do it. Everybody seems to hate it (thats an advantage all its own) It uses a fairly unique qay of doing things only eighties digitals can do, which means, lots of time spent over it getting your neck sore. Problems i agree with: The display is too small-and not that great. The disk drive is slow.. The squencer is useless(i don't use sequencers)

I actually like the keyboard alot, it is no where near the new ones, but it feels good playing a board not designed for people who make dance music and are way to obsessed with twiddling knobs. A good keyboard, especially since it sells for under 300 used in prome condition.


Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Dec-15-1999 at 22:04
nolgie a professional user from usa writes:
Im very pleased with my d20 for now because i haven't seen something as simple as this keyboard perform so the sence that it does exactly what is asked!

as far as perfomance i rate it to be ahead of it's time at a gloomy perspective!

but if longevity and satisfaction is your concern then sit back and learn the board!

posted Thursday-Oct-28-1999 at 05:27
Rob R. a professional user from USA writes:
Probably one of the most useless pieces of hardware ever created. Looking at a used model? Forget it. Buy a Roland D-50 or an Ensoniq ESQ-1/SQ-80. The sound quality is average. Third party sounds are non-existant. Programming is akin to sticking a sharp stick in your eye. Warning: Midi this board at your own risk! When sent a Midi aftertouch message by most other manufacturers gear, the D-20 will lock up. (Not the thing you want when playing at an Air Show for 15,000 people!) If this is your first board, then its a place to learn. But for any serious studio or live work its not worth the cash.

Rating: 1 out of 5 posted Thursday-Mar-25-1999 at 17:38
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