Synth Site: Roland: D-50 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5
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Neven Dayvid a professional user from Berlin writes:
The depth and warmth this synth is capable of, even in 2010, remains unequalled by most newer synths. I regard it as a classic in its own right. Never mind the hiss, the clumsy menu structure, - just like I still reach for a Solina or Logan when I want strings, I would still prefer the D50 over newer workstations when it comes to lush background textures. An btw, programming isn´t quite as hard as it´s often made out to be...once you grasp the dual voice (parts) structure favoured by Roland. The glassy tonal quality it has makes it ideal for layering with other synths. It truly has its niche in the frequency spectrum that no other (hardware) synth can touch.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Sep-07-2010 at 19:34
tony a hobbyist user from usa writes:
I was there at the unveiling of the D50. It has a beautiful history. But everyone must understand something very important. The D50 had a serious affair with the Yamaha DX7II. Those two were almost inseparable. The DX7II had the hard hitting sounds like the bells and metallic sounds and sound architecture that did not use samples but still amazes till this day. The D50 went right after the DX and added the reverb and 8 bit samples with hard hitting metallic sounds among others but it did not dethrone the DX. Instead it became an accesory and help to the DX. That's why I own both the DX7IIFD and the D50. I can't part with either. They have a mutual affection in sound comparison. The DX wins in electric pianos and vibes and does pad strings and bells and whistles and certain effects very well. Listen to my youtube demo titled Yamaha DX7II outdated? The D50 wins in pads and effects and horn sounds and hammond B3 renditions. These two go together like a horse and carriage. You gotta have them both. They need each other and together they transformed the keyboard world. And that's why they are still useful today. Those two are here to stay because everyone post D50 and DX kept going after their sounds. Gotta love those two

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Sep-07-2010 at 11:43
JX4EVA a professional user from UK writes:
"@Bryn a professional user from N. Wales writes:"

who wrote: "This synth is total rompler."

BZZZZ! WRONG. Have you actually used one? If so you would know the PCM side is completely bypassable/option and in most cases (In the best of the patches used today) the patches use Stucture 1 which if you knew anything about the D-50 you would know doesn't include ANY PCM SAMPLES at all. It's actually akin to a Virtual Analog in this regard (in fact, many say it was the first VA synth ever - it just didn't know it).

Everything that followed were ROMPLERS (M1 I'm looking at you with disgust and lack of filters) but the D-50 has an AMAZING synth architecture. What roland did was take stock of their analog synths up to that point (JP-8, JX-8P/Super JX) and say 'how can we get this but in a digital world?' And the D-50 was the answer. It's actually a very strange way to go about finding a solution to the 'problem' back in 87. It is this strangness that today makes the D-50 and infinitely programmable *SYNTH* (not a sample playback machine). Also you have to see it's wealth of features (Ring mod, PWM, 2 virtual analog synth 'units' for patches) to realise it was like a 'super synth' done in compact digital form.

After the M1 is when things changed (for the worse) not the D-50. Even Roland eventually followed (as did Yamaha) releasing pure romplers (some with great filters i.e the SY85, some with complete lack of anything special -i.e the M1).

I can't help thinking you wrote the above based on other people's misguided opinions and certainly not from any time spent actually looking at the synth's architecture. Seriously STRUCTURE 1 is an amazing thing to use on the D-50.. no samples... it's obviously not as 'fat' as a true analog (some anyway) but that misses the point, it's how it can use that unique character combined with the things only DIGITAL synths can do which makes it stunning.

Any fan of synthersizers in general who can not accept and appreciate the D-50 must be mad. I think they are actually fans of 'keyboards' and want all singing/dancing 100% realistic piano/horn/string workstation machines. It's the lack of all this that makes the D-50 able to hold it's own against certain 'classic' analog gear, those analogs can't always do what the D-50 can pull off however.

And: "The D50 is not multitimbral, unlike other D range synths. The effects are very primative. The D20 is a better deal."

Proper synth users don't really give a shit about multitimbrality.. we don't do 'all in one box' stuff. For me (and my room of synths) the D-50s lack of multitimbrality (technicaly it's bi-timbral btw) is a bonus. I love it's focus, and I love it's LACK of sequencer etc. I DETEST the modern 'synths' all singing/all dancing? Why bother? our Computers are for that (DAWS). The D-50 is to the synth world as a a Telecaster is to the guitar world. It's not an 'all in one solution' and I for one am glad. As for your 'D-20' (or any other 'D' synth) comment. I can only laugh. :)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-03-2009 at 18:49
JX4EVA a professional user from UK writes:
Stunning in almost all regards. I can't agree with the short sighted reviews that put it down based on it's 'over used' presets. This synth is a special beauty in the history of synths. Yes it's digital but it's so different to everything that followed. It has soul, emotion, depth...

And no it's not meant to do convincing 'real' sounds (Piano, Guitar etc), at least in today's context. At the time, yeah it made a stab at it (as did the DX7 - another misunderstood synth in a modern context), but it's seriously programmable and very powerful. Dump the presets, grab some analog banks or an editor and go to town. Beautiful.

On top of this, it has a good feel and LOOKS AMAZING, compact but purposeful, sleek and exciting. Roland hasn't made a better synth (in context) since this. It's up there with the Jupiter 8 as one of the best Roland ever made.

Grab one now before prices get even higher. Mine was £80 in almost mint condition with no faults. If I can find more for similar money I'd gladly own more of them they are that nice.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-03-2009 at 18:03
Sean a professional user from England writes:
People do not listen to the reviews that say the D50 is lame, look at it this way, more people sell on the newer stuff than ever sell on D50's have a look through sound on sound there are far more newer synths being sold on than this baby, believe me when i say i will never sell mine and i would beat anyone to a pulp if they tried to steal it, roland has never produced a better keyboard since this one, their 'D70 supersynth' was nothing of the sort and only an upgraded U20 it is no way a LA synth, back to the D50 in my opinion this synth can produce someof the most wild and varied sounds this side of a fairlight or synclavier take a trawl on youtube and see what it does, todays gear is all flash and no substance. although i reprogrammed most of the voices on mine i kept some of the factory ones because quite simply they cannot be bettered, i remade 'digital native dance' into quite simply a scary sounding breathy monster, i know that a lot of my sounds are out there in D50 land as i sold a couple of D50's which were programmed by me, look out for 'jack the slash' 'phased vox' 'aliens' and 'the intruder' and you'll understand me when i say this baby can be programmed untill the day you die. to all those people who hate your D50's sell me your's i would always give another a home as i loved them, also if you put it through external effects dont use super clean modern ones use older types, believe me you wont regret it. peace to you all.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-23-2009 at 12:57
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