Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

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Post by CS_TBL » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:35 pm

D-Collector wrote:What I find strange is that you are willing to dismiss the D-50 on grounds of theory rather than sound.
What's wrong with theory? I can tell you -in theory- an instrument sampled each note sounds more realistic than an instrument sampled each 6 halves. In theory I can tell you that more available LFOs, fluctuation mechanisms and scalers make it easier to inject human errors and human playing into a sound. I can tell you in theory that 12 solo violins make a vastly better violins-ensemble sound than one recording of a violin ensemble (obviously at the cost of RAM and polyphony). I don't need a real synth for that, if it works in theory then it'll work in practice. I bought my SN2 on review+specs alone -new-, the specs were vast so I assumed the synth was vast, and it (still) is!

So again, what synth engine feature does the D50 have, which can't be found in another synth?
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Post by Don Solaris » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:36 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:Would you D-50 users/owners say that the D-50 possesses a certain function or character (but NOT preset) that cannot be easily attained from another synth
Well i think we concluded this part (see DAC's / aliasing / dither discussion above). It is mostly about that, plus two stereo chorus lines. Being a sound designer / programmer for some 14 years now, i think i know to spot when the sound is unique. If we go back to late 80's i can boldly say M-1 certainly isn't unique, neither is U-20. But D-50 has that something, a glassy / crystal sounding output which is just a result of specific circumstances (aliasing, dither, DACs) - nothing magical.

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Post by Don Solaris » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:57 pm

CS_TBL wrote:So again, what synth engine feature does the D50 have, which can't be found in another synth?
Remember one thing (and i've been in sound design for over a decade now): Feature means nothing. It means zero. Null....

My Neptune 2 analog synth has the same features as MiniMoog. So how come Neptune 2 doesn't cost $3000 and a crappy old midi-less MiniMoog isn't $500?

SOUND! :wink:


So, CS TBL why don't you buy yourself a D-550 and judge the whole thing by yourself. Grab one while they are still cheap. A little bird told me there will be a big demand for vintage digitals, just a few years from now.
CS_TBL wrote:So how's the mentioned pw/m done? 2 sawtooths with one inverted? Or just tens of separately sampled pw steps?
Now wait a minute! You wrote and commented so much about D-50 yet you don't even know how it works? Image

Ok, remember the first VA synth, the Nord Lead? Well it wasn't actually the first one. It was the D-50. 8) A square wave (with variable pulse width) and sinewave are digitally generated inside the Wave Generator. Square wave is fed to Filter, after which it gets multiplied with a sine wave to produce a saw wave - this is how we can have Saw Width Modulation, and also a reason why saw on D-50 sounds a little bit dull. From this point a digital switch is added so that user can either pick the square or the newly generated saw. The rest is obvious from the picture below.

Image

This above is a single synth line. There are 4 lines available as 2 pairs. Each pair can contain either a synth or PCM sample (or both) which can be either mixed or multiplied (Amplitude Modulation). Each pair has its own stereo chorus. Together two pairs are mixed into a stereo reverb, and go out through a fantastic sounding D/A converter. That is basically how D-50 works.

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Post by Mr. Black » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:36 pm

Like it or not, the D50 was the first VA, this was discussed a while back.

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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:36 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:I know it goes against all that it means to be a synth nerd, but I just wanted those sounds that I'd heard a million times before. Same as if I had of bought an SG and a JCM 800.
Naww, I wouldn't say so! I love the Optigan and the Mellotron as much as the next guy!
There is just a difference between seeking a preset sound, and using a synth for its synthesis properties, and I think that distinction might be a little lost on threads like this. (not by you, just in general)
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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:39 pm

Don Solaris wrote:Remember one thing (and i've been in sound design for over a decade now): Feature means nothing. It means zero. Null....

My Neptune 2 analog synth has the same features as MiniMoog. So how come Neptune 2 doesn't cost $3000 and a crappy old midi-less MiniMoog isn't $500?
I am definitely in the sound over function camp, but I wouldn't say that function means nothing. Some synths have functions that no other synths have... which gives them a desirability because they are the only (or one of the few, etc.) synth that does that thing.
For me, if the D-50 had something like that, it would be more valid as a synthesis tool.
But, of course, it would be more MORE valid to me if it had a unique sound irrespective of functionality... because I'm in that Sound camp with you.
:)
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Post by CS_TBL » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:57 pm

Don Solaris wrote: Remember one thing (and i've been in sound design for over a decade now): Feature means nothing. It means zero. Null....
That's merely your opinion, not a fact. And since we're seemingly listing experience here: I've been crafting sounds since 1990 or something, 2op, 4op, 6op, and 8op FM, additive (my own software), subtractive, physical modeling and in-depth sampling/editing/generating. If features mean zero to you, then so be it.. your loss.
My Neptune 2 analog synth has the same features as MiniMoog. So how come Neptune 2 doesn't cost $3000 and a crappy old midi-less MiniMoog isn't $500?
How should I know, I don't have either of those two, and frankly I can't be bothered to ever get those anyway, they're not my style.
So, CS TBL why don't you buy yourself a D-550 and judge the whole thing by yourself. Grab one while they are still cheap. A little bird told me there will be a big demand for vintage digitals, just a few years from now.
yea rite.. :P I'd rather put money on softsynths and various midi/usb controllers, or otherwise some more rack modules in which you can upload a VSTi, like there's already, so ppl can gig with 'm on stage (ppl don't trust computers yet). But that's another discussion..
Now wait a minute! You wrote and commented so much about D-50 yet you don't even know how it works?
That was ages ago, early 90's or something, do you expect me to remember all that? I've also toyed with a Kawai K4 for a while but I wouldn't be able to just lay out that thing here if someone asked for it. I'm telling you: I've played/dived into the D5, D10, D50 and D70, I even remember in which section of the shop they were placed.

But this all is going into endless circles. I've a suggestion: since you obviously have a D(5)50, record a few of your best/unique patches (single notes, no chords), mp3/host 'em, and I'll give my comments on them. In case you're going to use samples: preferably something with standard samples, something which could be recreated in another synth in which those samples may not be present, unless you allow me to use the odd raw sample of that same D(5)50 I could throw into a sampler.. :P
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Post by Cycom » Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:22 pm

CS_TBL wrote:
Don Solaris wrote: Remember one thing (and i've been in sound design for over a decade now): Feature means nothing. It means zero. Null....
That's merely your opinion, not a fact. And since we're seemingly listing experience here: I've been crafting sounds since 1990 or something, 2op, 4op, 6op, and 8op FM, additive (my own software), subtractive, physical modeling and in-depth sampling/editing/generating. If features mean zero to you, then so be it.. your loss.
My Neptune 2 analog synth has the same features as MiniMoog. So how come Neptune 2 doesn't cost $3000 and a crappy old midi-less MiniMoog isn't $500?
How should I know, I don't have either of those two, and frankly I can't be bothered to ever get those anyway, they're not my style.
So, CS TBL why don't you buy yourself a D-550 and judge the whole thing by yourself. Grab one while they are still cheap. A little bird told me there will be a big demand for vintage digitals, just a few years from now.
yea rite.. :P I'd rather put money on softsynths and various midi/usb controllers, or otherwise some more rack modules in which you can upload a VSTi, like there's already, so ppl can gig with 'm on stage (ppl don't trust computers yet). But that's another discussion..
Now wait a minute! You wrote and commented so much about D-50 yet you don't even know how it works?
That was ages ago, early 90's or something, do you expect me to remember all that? I've also toyed with a Kawai K4 for a while but I wouldn't be able to just lay out that thing here if someone asked for it. I'm telling you: I've played/dived into the D5, D10, D50 and D70, I even remember in which section of the shop they were placed.

But this all is going into endless circles. I've a suggestion: since you obviously have a D(5)50, record a few of your best/unique patches (single notes, no chords), mp3/host 'em, and I'll give my comments on them. In case you're going to use samples: preferably something with standard samples, something which could be recreated in another synth in which those samples may not be present, unless you allow me to use the odd raw sample of that same D(5)50 I could throw into a sampler.. :P
:roll:

Now he has to post sound examples from the D-50 to prove his point? You are ridiculous.
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Post by solderguy » Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:37 pm

Looking at specs, features from owners manual cannot substitute for actually experiencing a synth firsthand. The Peavey DPM3 digital synth has a very nice interface and fairly good "analog-emulating" feature-set for it's time (around 1990), in addition to substantial sample memory. When you've spent some time using it though, you discover things like very poor attack time resolution on the envelopes, and the filter responding very sluggishly to fast envelope changes. Stuff like this isn't mentioned in the manual... what manufacturer even gives specs for "filter control time constant" or "minimum envelope time quantisation"? Probably none. And you won't find out about this unless you try it yourself (or hear about it on a forum, or listen to an mp3 that isn't overly processed with fx). Similar pro/con scenario with the Ensoniq ESQ-1. Don't get me wrong, I've never met a synth I don't like, it's just that I like some a lot more than others. : D

It may be possible to use feature-lists as a basis to make fairly good judgements of how a synth will sound in the case of something like the Yamaha DX line, they share a lot of similarities.

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Post by Hossinfeffa » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:01 pm

To be completely honest, I bought the D-50 for the sound of it rather than just the name. I'm just now hearing it used in a lot of songs when I payed no mind to it before and never knew about it. I was considering a JD-800. Reason I didn't pick the JD-800 was because I felt more of an attachment to the D-50 and that sound just hooked me a bit more.

I admit, what first showed me about the D-50 was the Jean Michel Jarre album, Revolutions. These sounds I liked but at the time I wasn't expecting to go out and buy it. Later on I started watching demos of the D-50 on youtube, and seeing the sound and possibilities of it. One man, Radek Tymecki, is who really opened my eyes to it. (And to my surprise I just checked and his account is suspended, apparently because his cover songs were copyright infringement. :( ) Sure, in the video he used a lot of sounds from Revolutions, but he also used sounds that I loved from previous Jarre albums. After this, I moved on to a 20 minute video of mostly pad sounds. (Not Roland presets.) I noticed that the D-50 had a certain warmth about it and a beauty that came from the sound, as well as being highly flexible.

I watched the JD-800 demo's more and even a serious musician recommended me to get the JD-800 over the D-50. I would actually still like to get a JD-800 someday, but I am happy to say that once I got my D-50 and could personally try it, I had no regrets and I still have none. I'm still trying to grasp having such an instrument in my possession, even though it's not rare.
Well fffff.

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Post by Dano » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:46 pm

OK, this thread began innocently enough but I know threads like this often go downhill. There have been good points made on both sides of the argument but please, no personal attacks.

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Post by CS_TBL » Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:53 pm

Right, then I'll stick to my first remark at page 5: I think the D50 outdated and I'll leave it at that.. :roll:
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Post by portland » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:41 am

words are very
unnecessary
they can only do harm

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Post by OriginalJambo » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:41 am

With those samples I'm afraid it's quite fair to say the D-50 sounds dated. So do the ESQ-1 and DX7 IMO, but that doesn't mean they sound bad per se - it's just that they still sound like they did in the 80s.

I do like some of the sounds I've heard from the D-50, but a lot of those attack samples are almost unusable IMO. Sure you can dig but when you can get results quicker from something else what's the point?

If you like the D-50 that's great, but it sounds just like it did in 1987. And there's nothing wrong with that - h**l that's why most people buy 'em! ;)
Last edited by OriginalJambo on Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Yoozer » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:59 am

Cycom wrote: Now he has to post sound examples from the D-50 to prove his point? You are ridiculous.
It's a good thing he already did ;).

http://www.rolandsynthesis.com/tmp/demos/D-50demo1.mp3
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