Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

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Re:

Post by 8bit9bot » Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:02 am

logicalhippo wrote: How in gods name does the resonant filter work!? Any complicated stuff should be way out of range for such low processing power...

The real question, however, how such a cheap instrument can do digital PWM so well! At low sampling rates, the aliasing caused by a naive implementaiton of PWM would be unbearable! The modern solution is to have bandlimitted "wavetables" for PWM - but this uses way more RAM than could conceivably been on the D50. They must have been doing something tricksy indeed.
ftp://ftp.roland.co.uk/productsupport/M ... 110_OM.pdf

i think your answer lies in the D-110 manual... i was looking it over - it looks like the "linear arithmetic" is additive synthesis (with a subtractive interface) - judging by the illustrations on page 91 - it shows how sine waves of different frequencies and amplitudes add together to create the basic square and saw... i know by changing the "phase" of certain additive partials in a square wave you get different pulse widths; alternatively they may use some kind of forumla to change the 'symetry' of the generated waveforms (serge, massive, and helix vsti's have this type of functionality)

resonance is more of a mystery to me... tho admit it does not sound like real resonance... i think its much more interesting than real reso - so yeah thats my guess

pce

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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by Phollop Willing PA » Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:54 pm

D50 = Classic
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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by HideawayStudio » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:19 pm

I adore the D-50! - I have a D-550 and PG-1000 in the studio - it is far more of a synthesizer than the M1 will ever be (yes I have an M1REX too), it featured some of the most unique factory presets ever (thanks to the synth programming genius Eric Persing) and despite them all being so overused the net is full of really cool up to date presets for them. They feature crunchy 12 bit DACs oozing in music related harmonics, digital resonant filters and PWM! Get a PG-1000 programmer and the D-50 / D-550 are a tweakers wet dream - 808 State swore by them. There are well over 100 parameters and 50 sliders on this beasty. Reality is that since the D-50 is a synth with filters you can make modern sounding patches with it where as the M1, being a ROMpler, will always sound like it's PCM set.

The other synth I think is unfairly put down (probably by naff factory presets and dated PCM) is the once flagship Yamaha SY77 / TG77 and it's bigger cousin the SY99 - these are absolute beasts! They feature around 1000 parameters per voice and are very capable of emulating massive analog sounds - they are basically 8 stackable DX-7s with more algorithms and multiple waveforms warmed by resonant filters. If there was ever a synth a more modern synth that should be nearing genuine classic status - this is it! I have both SY and TG77 now fitted with really cool blue LED backlit high contrast LCD modules. More professional new age sample libraries have featured this synth layered with others than probably any other - like I say - a programmers synth.
Last edited by HideawayStudio on Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re:

Post by HideawayStudio » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:36 pm

logicalhippo wrote:Maybe a little off topic, but this is the first really long D-50 thread in a while.

How in gods name does the resonant filter work!? Any complicated stuff should be way out of range for such low processing power...

The real question, however, how such a cheap instrument can do digital PWM so well! At low sampling rates, the aliasing caused by a naive implementaiton of PWM would be unbearable! The modern solution is to have bandlimitted "wavetables" for PWM - but this uses way more RAM than could conceivably been on the D50. They must have been doing something tricksy indeed.

I've asked this same question on kvraudio, no one there had any idea! Maybe the secret is lost in time... or at least japan.

Err?? - you're thinking far too much like most PC software engineers think thesedays where gigabytes and gighertz are the norm. You'd be amazed with what you can implement in hardware using basic processors to control it. There will always be a way of doing something more efficiently in hardware than software. On the flip side the beauty of software and DSP is that it's so flexible. To implement a digital resonant filter in an ASIC doesn't require any processing power at all and to implement a full PCM sample set using a tiny amount of memory is also possible provided the dynamics are tweaked on the fly through the use of tracking filters and oversampling - this is an old trick that hardware samplers have used from day one. You simply close down the low pass filter more the slower the PCM is clocked out thus keeping aliasing in check. What is often forgotten is that in the old days the processor in a synth often did little more than scan the keyboard, load the presets out of memory, generate clocks and control envelopes and filter settings - the synthesis itself was done in hardware.

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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by Pro5 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:17 pm

So that was 2 against... 20 or something. And 3 years later we can declare the D-50 a classic and a proper synthesizer with a unique sound. done. :lol:

And also it most definitely is NOT just a rompler, and it most definitely has a VA implementation in struct mode 1/2 (NO PCM). Take these FACTS as gospel from those of us who don't fall into the categores of "just read about them", "saw them on TOTP in the 80s" or "looked down my nose at their PCM bell sounds" but who have owned at least one of the units, loved them and spent months/years getting to know them. Not that it takes that amount of dedication to realise how special this synth is. Just listen... :mrgreen:
Last edited by Pro5 on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by Bitexion » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:41 am

Of course! It's also the most used synth on Jarre's Revolutions album. And following concert:



Almost everything you hear here is D50 sounds. I have all the presets in my D50, the Revolution soundset was attached to a magazine as a card once, and ripped to sysex format. Used to sit and play along with it and feel like Jarre himself :) The bell sound in the start is an internal PCM loop (#90) heard in two octaves at once.
The lead sound starting at 1:15 still send shivers down my spine. All the strings are also D50 sounds.

Also the sequence around 4:50 is just clever use of the 4 LFO's and delays. And THAT lead sound again. Plus fireworks!

I love the sawtooth on this synth, it sounds deep and heavy and fat, can be used on its own in lead sounds. Also has a "ripping" quality to it. I know it's shaped like a shark fin, kind of a mix between square and saw, maybe that's why.

Once you realize that it's like having 4 separate poly synths in one engine, you can start doing amazing things with it. AFAIK, it was also the first synth to include a full set of digital reverb and delay effects. Definately Roland's flagship synth in 1988. One of the nicest sounding Sample+synthesis synths ever made. The samples are just tiny attack sections from real-world instruments, and when paired with subtractive synthesis, sounds almost like real instruments. Plus a set of weird sampled loops that change pitch and playback speed around the keyboard.

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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by Pro5 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:34 pm

True, I think most D-50 owners have loaded up the Jarre sounds at least once. I personally feel they don't show the D-50 in the best light however and play more into the hands of the d-50 naysayers. Hands down the best examples of why the D-50 is such a great synth are in the many non pcm 'analog-esque' patches out there. Inc a superb set posted by one of the forum members on here. I've had many hard and soft synths and can get none of them to sound like the D-50 at it's best and most unique. They all lack something the D-50 just has by default. It doesn't do all kinds of sounds well, but when it does it really does. And does it with warmth and character. Not something I can say about any other digital synth I've tried (nor in fact some later DCO analogs).

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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by Bitexion » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:43 pm

It's a bit of a hassle to make pure analog sounds with it since you have to set each filter and envelope on each part.
But also a great way to add a bit of extra oomph. Don't remember if you can copy filter/eg settings from part to part?
Haven't had mine switched on in a couple years..hope i can find that strange square power cable in my mess of cables :P

I just remember that my D-50 world changed completely when I discovered the systexd50 midi/editor program and that there were zip files with hundreds of soundbanks from cards out there, that I could insta-swap with sysexd50 and play.
Suddenly I went from the legendary but slightly boring Factory set to thousands of sounds.

Imagine that someone could make an entire soundbank of ONLY Hammond B3 sounds, and the patches don't all sound the same. Even though there are no drawbars. Lots of hammond samples in there though, with different drawbar settings.

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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by ERIC31 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:07 pm



This is the best D50 video I've ever seen! All of this guys videos are the best around! Katsunori UJIIE is the man!!
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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by HideawayStudio » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:00 pm

Bitexion wrote:Of course! It's also the most used synth on Jarre's Revolutions album. And following concert:

Almost everything you hear here is D50 sounds. I have all the presets in my D50, the Revolution soundset was attached to a magazine as a card once, and ripped to sysex format. Used to sit and play along with it and feel like Jarre himself :) The bell sound in the start is an internal PCM loop (#90) heard in two octaves at once.
The lead sound starting at 1:15 still send shivers down my spine. All the strings are also D50 sounds.

Also the sequence around 4:50 is just clever use of the 4 LFO's and delays. And THAT lead sound again. Plus fireworks!

I love the sawtooth on this synth, it sounds deep and heavy and fat, can be used on its own in lead sounds. Also has a "ripping" quality to it. I know it's shaped like a shark fin, kind of a mix between square and saw, maybe that's why.

Once you realize that it's like having 4 separate poly synths in one engine, you can start doing amazing things with it. AFAIK, it was also the first synth to include a full set of digital reverb and delay effects. Definately Roland's flagship synth in 1988. One of the nicest sounding Sample+synthesis synths ever made. The samples are just tiny attack sections from real-world instruments, and when paired with subtractive synthesis, sounds almost like real instruments. Plus a set of weird sampled loops that change pitch and playback speed around the keyboard.
I am also a huge fan of the D-50 and JMJ used it to great effect during this era.

What also makes the D-50 are Eric Persing's wonderful (albeit overused) factory presets which spawned a whole raft of pop hits and lives on to this day immortalised in countless old Amiga demo tunes!! (yes the infamous ST-01 sample disk was over 30% sampled D-50 factory presets!).
Last edited by HideawayStudio on Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Post by Bitexion » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:52 pm

Yup, Ujie is one of the best out there on youtube. He works for Yamaha making presets for their new synths, plus is an active musician. Doesn't matter if you don't know Japanese, his body language and enthusiasm for anything from a Matrix-12 to a Yamaha Motif XF makes you understand. He's also very good at showing what he does, and you can pick out the english "synth" words.

He's also done presets for Roland and Korg synths. His English is actually very decent, but I guess he's reading from a pre-rehearsed script when he presents synths at NAMM etc. in English. I've subscribed to his youtube channel MusictrackJP for a couple years now.

I didn't realize the ST-01 disk was mostly D-50 samples, but I sure as h**l used it back in the day with Soundtracker :)
I had lots of ST-## disks back in the day.

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