Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

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Don Solaris
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Post by Don Solaris » Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:29 pm

replicalex wrote:So I was thinking of picking up a D50 (a friend has one pretty cheap with the pg1000).
My advice is to skip the D-50 and go with D-550. Takes less space, and most importantly (what most don't know) you can do realtime filter cutoff using a mod wheel! Here is a trick: in D-550 you can set aftertouch to modulate a cutoff. Now on you master keyboard just set mod wheel to have CC aftertouch and from now on you can enjoy endless filter tweaks, sequence sweeps, etc. Audio demo example.

i_watch_stars wrote:To many, the JD800/990 superseded the D50. It is, essentially, D50 Reloaded.
I wouldn't compare these two cause there is no much in common between D-50 and JD series except the name Roland. They are actually two completely different synths, based on different technology, different sound structure and most importantly they sound different.

For start JD can not sound as fat as D-50. Reason for this is D-50 can have 4 oscillators with pulse width modulation (JD doesnt even have the PWM), each with its own lfo rate, each detuned, etc. In short, as FAT as digital can make.

D-50 is essentially made of "virtual analog" (VA synth) with modeled pulse/saw oscillators, PWM, 6 LFOs and a resonant filter. The second part is a small PCM section made of sampled transients. Together can be combined and mixed / modulated using Ring Modulation (AM). The D/A converters give it unique and a very distinctive glassy (crystal) sound. JD-990 is however just a classic rompler, with different sound. They are like Ferrari and Lamborghini of digital synths. :wink:

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Post by Don Solaris » Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:30 pm

Cycom wrote:I asked the guy if he could share those patches....basically he said no. Shame, as they're lovely.

Anyone have them?
That's easy. Go here: http://analogkid.us/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=general

Contact site owner Analog Kid. Tell him Don Solaris sent you and that you need link to his D-50 patch collection. He is a great guy and owns the biggest D-50 patch collection in the world. You should ask him for permission to put the link here on VSE forum so that others can enjoy these patches.

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Post by solderguy » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:31 pm

Another digital reason for the D-50 "analog fatness": the built-in signal processing block can apply separate chorusing fx to the Upper and Lower tones, for example you can have a Juno or Dimension style chorus ( but implemented digitally ), on each tone, operating at different rates for each.... that together with a bit of vibrato, PWM, osc and layer detuning, all fed into a single reverb can make a very thick sound.

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Post by D-Collector » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:32 pm

Don Solaris wrote:
Cycom wrote:I asked the guy if he could share those patches....basically he said no. Shame, as they're lovely.

Anyone have them?
That's easy. Go here: http://analogkid.us/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=general

Contact site owner Analog Kid. Tell him Don Solaris sent you and that you need link to his D-50 patch collection. He is a great guy and owns the biggest D-50 patch collection in the world. You should ask him for permission to put the link here on VSE forum so that others can enjoy these patches.
Thank you for the info Don. He even had an advanced and basic manual in that archive, key cleaning instructions, and many banks I have never tested (:

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Post by mattio » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:36 pm

I just got one of these the other day. I´m really happy with it, I didn´t really know what to expect form it as I had never tried one before. I think it´s got class and sounds really good. It must have been a sound-designers wet dream back when it first came out.

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Post by Cycom » Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:40 am

Thanks for the info Don Solaris and D-Collector. :thumbup:

Quick questions about the D-50:

-Does anyone know which D-50 model/serial numbers to look out for? From what I know the earlier batches are plagued with insane hissing due to bad converters. I used to own one and the noise was so bad that I couldn't make it sit well in a mix. Does the D-550 solve these problems? What about MIDI spec for both? I'd like to try all of these new (for me) patches with my OSX midi librarian.

-How is the VariOs option for the V-Synth? Does it retain the warm character of the D-50?
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Post by Hossinfeffa » Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:29 am

Cycom wrote: -Does anyone know which D-50 model/serial numbers to look out for? From what I know the earlier batches are plagued with insane hissing due to bad converters. I used to own one and the noise was so bad that I couldn't make it sit well in a mix. Does the D-550 solve these problems? What about MIDI spec for both? I'd like to try all of these new (for me) patches with my OSX midi librarian.
Yeah, I just saw that in the other thread and was wondering myself. I have a D-50 and it does have noise, but in my opinion it's not bad. It just sounds like character to it. But maybe earlier models had worse noise problems. (Mine is from December 1987.)
Well fffff.

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Post by OriginalJambo » Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:48 am

Hossinfeffa wrote:I have a D-50 and it does have noise, but in my opinion it's not bad. It just sounds like character to it. But maybe earlier models had worse noise problems. (Mine is from December 1987.)
Yes, the earlier models are to blame.

I've owned 2 D-50s (one I'm holding for a friend) and my original was the nosiest bit of gear I've ever used. The one I'm holding on to at the moment however, is fine.

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Post by midi2 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:20 am

go for it!! :) I have a jv-1080 and i d like to trade it for a d-550...but i wasn't that lucky :wink:

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Post by Don Solaris » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:10 am

D-Collector wrote:Thank you for the info Don. He even had an advanced and basic manual in that archive, key cleaning instructions, and many banks I have never tested
Yeah. He has it all. Feel free to post link here in the thread so that others can fetch the archive.

Cycom wrote:Does anyone know which D-50 model/serial numbers to look out for? From what I know the earlier batches are plagued with insane hissing due to bad converters. I used to own one and the noise was so bad that I couldn't make it sit well in a mix.
I also had the early model D-50. It was hissing like crazy. Due to the lack of funds i sold it. Few years later i bought newer version and the hiss was much lower. Then i sold D-50 to buy D-550 (reason explained in my previous post) to find out it is the most noiseless version of them all.

If you decide to go with D-550 i can give you my D-550 serial number, but i think by the time D-550 were going out of factory, the noise issue was already solved. So... now you got two good reasons to get yourself a D-550 (less noise & filter cutoff). :wink:

Only downside of D-550 is that LCD unit uses EL foil. They work something like 2000 hours and then get dim. Luckily, foils are available from here for cheap, and installation takes 20 minutes max.

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Post by Don Solaris » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:31 am

gcoudert wrote:I now have a JV1080 and it can do pretty much everything the D50 does, and a lot more too...
:roll:

...except to sound like D-50:

Linear Drift - Roland D-50 only. Demo by Analog Kid
Green Crystals - Roland D-50 only. Demo by Paolo Di Nicolantonio
Seashore Morning - Roland D-550 only. Demo by Don Solaris

... hats off when you make JV-1080 sound like that. :salute:

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Post by mattio » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:06 am

Sorry if anybody feel I'm changing subject here, that's not my intention but is there any known way to check the assembly date on the D-50's?
I know theres a neat way to check this on the JX-8P which involves pressing a few buttons while powering on etc.

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Post by mao » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:46 am

Don Solaris wrote: Only downside of D-550 is that LCD unit uses EL foil. They work something like 2000 hours and then get dim. Luckily, foils are available from here for cheap, and installation takes 20 minutes max.
My D550 has the backlight gone... I asked for raplacement but technicians said to me that a backlight OFF can be 3 different problem... so they need to open it check voltages and other things and it's about 100 euro to do it.

In your link I see that for a D550 the EL foil costs 25 euro... and it's quite easy to change. How can I be sure that the missing backlight is due to the EL foil not working? Thanks in advance.

The D550 is a great synth. there are no other roland synth that sounds the same... nor the v-synth LA card.

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Post by D-Collector » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:37 pm

Here is the link to the patch archive.

http://analogkid.us/Patches/Linear.zip

Many great banks. :D
(Note that there are a lot of duplicates)

But nothing beats creating your own though :wink:
Then you get exactly what you want.


The serial number on my D-50 is 813 605. I don't know when it was made, but I don't find it to be noisy. It depends on the patch, some of which can be a little noisy.

I have a little question too. I have the Musitronics m.ex. card installed, but I can't access the extra internal bank. Did they sell those cards with the extra storage purely as an option? I read in the m.ex. manual that the standard version has storage for 64 extra patches. Their website has little info on this.

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Post by Cycom » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:01 pm

D-Collector wrote:Here is the link to the patch archive.

http://analogkid.us/Patches/Linear.zip

Many great banks. :D
(Note that there are a lot of duplicates)

But nothing beats creating your own though :wink:
Then you get exactly what you want.


The serial number on my D-50 is 813 605. I don't know when it was made, but I don't find it to be noisy. It depends on the patch, some of which can be a little noisy.

I have a little question too. I have the Musitronics m.ex. card installed, but I can't access the extra internal bank. Did they sell those cards with the extra storage purely as an option? I read in the m.ex. manual that the standard version has storage for 64 extra patches. Their website has little info on this.
The patches that use PCM samples are noisier than the one's without. That's what I noticed when I had mine.
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