Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

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Post by CS_TBL » Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:41 pm

D-Collector wrote:I guess you don't need to read a book either, as you just take a look at the front and then know every word inside it.
You guessed wrong..

Once you know which parameters a synth has you can make a good estimation of the sounds one can and cannot make with it.
No you don't have to spend a year with the D-50 to familiarize with it, but you need more than a brief look to fully explore it's depths and sonic possibilities. To do this you may need years.
That would be true for about every other (semi-)advanced synth then, which wouldn't make the D50 special compared to other synths.
Unless of course you are some kind of genius.
That's of course a tricky statement to make .. :P

But for what it's worth: Let's quote a sounddesigner teacher (Ernst Bonis, an FM guru among other things) at my study instead. I didn't follow any advanced sounddesign classes for those 4 years (went for the composition/production road instead), and at the end of the 4yr course I planned a private meeting with him. I demoed some of the things I was doing and he labeled me "best sounddesigner in the study's history", and I
got sounddesign as extra major on my diploma.. :P

Anyway, the discussion is going into the wrong way I think. The O.T. was 'D50 classic or outdated' and I choose 'outdated'. If it's forbidden to label it outdated, why ask for opinions in the first place? It's almost as if it's 'not done' to criticize D50, which reminds me of the old homecomputer feuds in the late 80's and early 90's. So, let's stick to measurable D50 facts and not waste time on the backgrounds of 'me'. tnx :lol:
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Post by CS_TBL » Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:51 pm

Don Solaris wrote:Well, that actually doesn't work right. Because with each key press the PWM effect will get restarted or skipped. And the joy of true PWM is a constant evolving timbre. :wink:
Ok, shall I meet you somewhere in the middle then? If you'd treat the D50 as an analogue synth then it's probably a good synth, comparable with some other models from that era. It's the samples I feel are dated. And I can't even blame Roland, back then it was what it was for the amount of money you could spend on it. Just imagine that RAM *wasn't* so expensive back then, but for some odd reason there weren't really consumer ROMplers back then, and the D50 would be the first ROMpler. Just imagine that back then it was feasible to have 128MB ROM, would Roland have used those small noisy 8bit samples then? I guess not. The samples of the D50 sound what they are: small, because it was expensive back then. Technologically speaking that's dated. It may be that ppl *like* dated, but it still is just that: dated.
The only problem is, Fantasia patch is ALL you can emulate. :lol:. The sound palette D-50 is capable to generate is way too big to be emulated with a conventional synth like a JD or JV.
Should I record my FM8 glass patch ? :P You see, there's more than just JV and JD synths.
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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:14 pm

Don Solaris wrote:Personally i hate the 303. If you hate it too, that makes us two. Still i don't see the point of discussion about the "context" of some instrument. Correct me if i'm wrong but i think that part should be left to the musician and / or application.
Fair enough about context, but it's hard to escape context with synths, unfortunately. If every synthesist was purely that, and used each synthesizer in order to design sounds, that would be one thing... but there is a giant blur between those who make sounds with synths and those who simply play synths. Since the D-50 was part of a vast sweeping movement to make the synthesizer into essentially an organ concept, where one chooses a sound and plays that sound, it, for many years, had that "context."
This is why it was reviled by many, in combination with total overuse of its presets.

However, I totally agree with what you said about the value of the synth really relying on the application of the musician... and hopefully that includes musical use of the synthesis capabilities of the instrument, as it seems to with you!


Standard disclaimer which seems to be necessary when I post about anything that isn't analog: Any statement I make about a digital synth has nothing to do with how analog it sounds, or whether it is "as good as analog," nor am I making any assessment of its validity in a comparison to an analog synth (unless the discussion is specifically to do with how a digital synth compares to an analog synth in the making of analog sounds).
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Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:18 pm

mao wrote:The question is:

Why buy a VC-1 card when D-550 are still cheap enough to buy the Real Thing?
Because you already own a V-Synth and the VC-1 is cheaper and easier to edit than a 550.

The thing with emulating digital synths is that you can copy all the code straight over and it does the exact same thing, unlike analogue emulations where you have to try to approximate how an analogue component would behave using digital code.

Of course if you don't have a V-Synth already and you just want the sound of the original presets and aren't interested in the V-Synth for what it does then a 550 is a better buy by a long shot.

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:27 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:Since the D-50 was part of a vast sweeping movement to make the synthesizer into essentially an organ concept, where one chooses a sound and plays that sound, it, for many years, had that "context."
This is why it was reviled by many, in combination with total overuse of its presets.
Any theories as to why those same people didn't hate the Prophet 5? Was it just that it was easy to tweak the cutoff knob and have a slightly different version of the preset?

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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:43 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote:Since the D-50 was part of a vast sweeping movement to make the synthesizer into essentially an organ concept, where one chooses a sound and plays that sound, it, for many years, had that "context."
This is why it was reviled by many, in combination with total overuse of its presets.
Any theories as to why those same people didn't hate the Prophet 5? Was it just that it was easy to tweak the cutoff knob and have a slightly different version of the preset?
Good point! The difference, I suppose, would exist in the immediate editability of the sound on the comparatively simple Prophet 5, and the more-willing-to-author-sounds mindset of the 70s.
Also, there is a distinction between "presets" and "patch storage."
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Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:50 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:Also, there is a distinction between "presets" and "patch storage."
True indeed, but I seem to remember reading somewhere about a very large percentage of P5s returning to the factory for service with all presets intact. If I stated a number I'd just be guessing, but I recall it was pretty high. That sync lead sound is pretty common, almost to the point of overuse.

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Post by D-Collector » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:51 pm

CS_TBL wrote:
D-Collector wrote:I guess you don't need to read a book either, as you just take a look at the front and then know every word inside it.
You guessed wrong..

Once you know which parameters a synth has you can make a good estimation of the sounds one can and cannot make with it.
No you don't have to spend a year with the D-50 to familiarize with it, but you need more than a brief look to fully explore it's depths and sonic possibilities. To do this you may need years.
That would be true for about every other (semi-)advanced synth then, which wouldn't make the D50 special compared to other synths.
Unless of course you are some kind of genius.
That's of course a tricky statement to make .. :P

But for what it's worth: Let's quote a sounddesigner teacher (Ernst Bonis, an FM guru among other things) at my study instead. I didn't follow any advanced sounddesign classes for those 4 years (went for the composition/production road instead), and at the end of the 4yr course I planned a private meeting with him. I demoed some of the things I was doing and he labeled me "best sounddesigner in the study's history", and I
got sounddesign as extra major on my diploma.. :P

Anyway, the discussion is going into the wrong way I think. The O.T. was 'D50 classic or outdated' and I choose 'outdated'. If it's forbidden to label it outdated, why ask for opinions in the first place? It's almost as if it's 'not done' to criticize D50, which reminds me of the old homecomputer feuds in the late 80's and early 90's. So, let's stick to measurable D50 facts and not waste time on the backgrounds of 'me'. tnx :lol:
I never brought up your background (you just did that yourself), nor have I any intentions questioning it.

Of course it's not forbidden to feel that it is outdated. Every person has its own taste, and to many the D-50 will never be right. I think you yourself said that you prefer sounds that emulate acoustic instruments, rather than typical synth sounds. Then you might not like the D-50, and that's perfectly allright.

But you say the party is over, because you've had a brief overview of the parameters and found that there is nothing special to the synth, that modern variants can do the exact same thing, and there is hardly any reason to use the D-50 anymore.

It just seems strange to me.

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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:01 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote:Also, there is a distinction between "presets" and "patch storage."
True indeed, but I seem to remember reading somewhere about a very large percentage of P5s returning to the factory for service with all presets intact. If I stated a number I'd just be guessing, but I recall it was pretty high. That sync lead sound is pretty common, almost to the point of overuse.
I have heard that same rumour about the DX7... which is the basis for the thing I'm talking about!
I was actually going to post a question asking about what percentage of the Prophet's factory patches had been changed. Interesting.

The question is, though... apart from the Cars, was the sync preset overused when the Prophet was originally popular?
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Post by CS_TBL » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:03 pm

D-Collector wrote:I never brought up your background (you just did that yourself), nor have I any intentions questioning it.
Ok, well then, let's scrap that whole side section and continue with the rest then.. :D
But you say the party is over, because you've had a brief overview of the parameters and found that there is nothing special to the synth, that modern variants can do the exact same thing, and there is hardly any reason to use the D-50 anymore.

It just seems strange to me.
Why would it be strange? Can you list me synth engine features which are unique to the D50, while not mentioning 'analogue oscillators' and 'the sample ROM' ? For the analogue part there are analogue alternatives, and for the sample ROM there are modern alternatives (which one can dull down to 8bit/lofi/shortloops if required)
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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:04 pm

My question about the D-50 is this:

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, as well as is quite desirable to a lot of people?
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Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:20 pm

CS_TBL wrote:Can you list me synth engine features which are unique to the D50, while not mentioning 'analogue oscillators' and 'the sample ROM' ? For the analogue part there are analogue alternatives
Hate to break it to you, but there's no analogue in the D-50, it's 100% digital. This is from back in the days when sticking 'digital' or 'turbo' on anything made it worth twice as much, so there was no extra love for analogue.
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, as well as is quite desirable to a lot of people?
While I'm not a D-50 owner, I just have the VC-1 card, I will freely admit that I bought it with the sole intention of using it for the presets. Perhaps there's some magic in it that sets it aside from all other synths, I don't know. All I wanted was those sweet brass and string presets.

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.

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Post by CS_TBL » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:27 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote: Hate to break it to you, but there's no analogue in the D-50, it's 100% digital.
Ah ok, I was under the assumption it was a hybrid (it's been ages since I touched one :P). So how's the mentioned pw/m done? 2 sawtooths with one inverted? Or just tens of separately sampled pw steps?
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Post by D-Collector » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:07 pm

CS_TBL wrote: Why would it be strange? Can you list me synth engine features which are unique to the D50, while not mentioning 'analogue oscillators' and 'the sample ROM' ? For the analogue part there are analogue alternatives, and for the sample ROM there are modern alternatives (which one can dull down to 8bit/lofi/shortloops if required)
What I find strange is that you are willing to dismiss the D-50 on grounds of theory rather than sound.

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Post by Don Solaris » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:30 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.
:thumbleft:

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