Synth Site: Roland: D-50 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5
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joey dee a part-time user from usa writes:
i play industrial/ambiant music.the d50 is a great synth for odd digital pad,string and very odd digital noises.alot of the factory/card patches are way too 80s pop sounding but most can be altererd to be quite usefull.i mostly use it for pad/string sound where it excells at.i try to stay away from the cheesy horns and piano far as editing-screw using the optional factory programmer,i use sounddiver and it works very well and is easy to do editing.i recently had a key that wouldnt respond to velocity,if you have that problem it is easily repaired by opening up the unit and cleaning the lil rubber contacts the keys use to trigger the sound.i havent had any other problems ever besides that ,so i can say that the d50 is a very reliable board.and it feels great to play-some of rolands best keyboard action.its sound is excellent to,just dont expect to get a great bass sound and youll stay happy.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Sep-26-2002 at 20:37
Sašo Podobnik a part-time user from Slovenia writes:
The fact that best illustrates how I feel about the D-550 is that I only owned it for four months. During that time, I spent a lot of time programming it but I rarely liked the sounds the D-550 produced. I'm a very mediocre programmer, so in order to pinpoint the problem, I downloaded a ton patches off the internet and checked them out one by one. It turned out we were both to blame - I for poor programming and the D-550 for mellow, expressionless sound.

Subjectively speaking, I found patch programming very difficult, especially making the transition between the sampled attack and the synthesised "body" of the sound, in particular when all four partials were used. If a sound sort-of worked in a certain range, it was bound to sound terrible two octaves up or down. I tried to solve this problem by relying only on the analogue waveforms, but it turned out to be a bad idea; the D-550 relies on its samples for character and if you leave them out, you get a cold and thin analogue emulation. To sum up, I suspect that I was trying to use the D-550 for something it wasn't made to do and with my programming skills, I was bound to fail. I DID manage to get one aggressive sound out of it, the only one that made it into a song. If you'd like to hear it, please e-mail me at

I admit, I was warned before I bought it: "this is a pad synth, my boy", the owner said. But I thought I knew better and I'd be able to squeeze aggression out of it yet. I wasn't though, and even though that, theoretically, a synth that defined the late 80's pop sound should work great in an 80's pop band, this wasn't the case. I'm going to spend the money from the sale on another Roland - the MKS-30. It's a punchy, warm, and simple analogue synth - everything I missed in the D-550.

I must stress that the D-550 is by no means a bad synth, but it's not an all-rounder. It will do great strings, pads and ethereal sounds, but it is likely to disappoint as a lead or bass synth. Think carefully about your needs before you buy this one - you can save yourself some bother.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-23-2002 at 14:41
mooger a part-time user from belgium writes:
I have been using it live as a Master keyboard 'cos it as a good synth action so I didn't really use the internal sounds but since a few weeks I've been using in a new band and it surprised me again how good it sounds. I'm mainly geared towards analog stuff (but I don't make electronic music and certainly not prog rock). I had been considering buying another analog poly which excels in string sounds but the D50 is so great in luscious and spacy strings I dumped the idea quickly. For a digital synth it has lots of character and it complements my analogs fabulously.

I think it must have been used in lots of eighties movies. True analogs have waaaayyy more character than digital synths but the D50 is one of those remarkable exceptions that really stands on it's own.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Mar-10-2002 at 21:12
sharplessblue a hobbyist user from Belgium writes:
I have one D-50 for about 4 years now and I think this will stay a 'forever'synth. There are (happily) alot of good synthesizers and the D50 is sure one of them. It can produce such unique sounds which you can not produce with another synth. I was able to buy a mint PG1000 and I am looking forward to experiment with it! You can buy an expansion card for the D50 (and D550) that is produced by a german company, called 'Musitronics'. This card makes the D50 (or D550) multi-timbral so you can play 4 patches at the same time. It also triples the memory (192 patches in this case) and it costs 59 US$ or 69 Euro. See

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Nov-06-2001 at 19:43
Jeff from West palm beach, FL USA writes:
I love the D-50 and have had it for 12 yrs. Hear are some of the patches I've matched to the "T" Separate Ways (Journey) - Jump (Van Halen) - The Final Countdown (Europe) - Blue Collar Man (Styx) - Intro to "Only time will tell" (Asia) - Why Can't this be love (Van Halen) - 1984 (Van Halen) - Low Synth Bass in intro to "Right Now" (Van Halen) - Troubled Child (Journey) High on you (Survivor).....and of course the D-50 has been used in quite a few mid to late 80's songs such as the STACCATO HEAVEN patch in "Say you will" (Foreigner)... Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" used the brass stabs and trumpets...Don Henley's "End of the Innocence" uses the "Soundtrack" patch.... Milli Vanilli's "Girl you know it's true and Paula Abdul's "Forever your girl" use it extensively throughout the whole songs. Great for movies..... Also you can catch the D-50 Patches in some Mike & the Mechanics songs. Don't worry about crappy presets in a synth. most synths have 50/50 presets..good and bad. Every synth is that way. Learn to be a programmer and create your own patches, you'll be alot more at ease using synths. Do not look for a piano sound from the D-50, you won't find it!!! The Roland D-50 is a SYNTHESIZER. Do you want me to spell it out? SYNTHESIZER. If you want a piano a good piano module or a "Digital Piano"..geared specifically FOR piano. So all you cry babies out there that are saying the D-50 sucks because it doesn't have a piano have to understand that a synthesizer is for synth pads, strings and analog sounds. DAMN good ones at that!

Although...I've created a hell of a hammond B3 organ sound on the D-50. NOT the real THING...but when played LIVE on stage, it sounds as close to it as possible.

posted Friday-Oct-12-2001 at 03:01
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