Page 1 of 11

Roland D50 is it a classic or out of date?

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:23 pm
by replicalex
So I was thinking of picking up a D50 (a friend has one pretty cheap with the pg1000).

I've read up on it and I have 1 simple question I suppose.

Lots of reviews are like ' wow classic!! never part with it, best thing roland ever built, nothing sounds like it, etc. etc.' 8)

others are like 'forget it killed by the Korg M1 and then the JD800' :?

so which is it?
classic or outta date?
Also anyone know what they go for these days?

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:32 pm
by Synthaholic
Classic. Get one. The only thing "dated" about it is the presets, and they're still wonderful. With the PG1000 you can create killer sounds.

Maybe it was killed by the M1 when it came out, but which would I rather have now? The D-50.

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:19 pm
by gcoudert
I had a D50 which I sold, then a few years later, I replaced it with a D550. It is a classic and it sounds huge but it has two main problems in my opinion:

- the envelopes' attacks aren't sharp enough for my taste
- you can't filter the PCM samples

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

Gilles

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:48 pm
by replicalex
mmmmm..

thanks for the info.
I have mostly analogue gear and was thinking of adding something a bit more...well... digital sounding I suppose.
I have a dx200 and a ds evolver too which do that job I guess....
Now I'm not so sure.

thanks guys.
Anyone else got an opinion.
Or suggestions for a cool digital synth? (besides the dx7 and d50)
I'm sure its a classic, I just dunno if its gonna fit in with my style of music.
(electro..kinda)

decisions...decisions.

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:35 pm
by Mr. Black
The M1 does not sound nearly as good as the D50, it's non resonant filter's pale in comparison (accually the JD800's filter is the best sounding out of all 3)M1 may have a few sounds , that cheezy dance piano alot of people like it slap bass and choir, but i don't think it can really compete with the D50 on a synthesis level, D50 has a high end sheen to it that has not been reproduced on another synth yet to date if you want acoustic sounds D50's not the synth,but if you want more authentic analogish sounds,new age ethreal, soundscape ambiant,it's a great synth.

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:07 am
by crystalmsc
a classic to me, since I like the dirtier sounding of it over the emulation and stay with the orginal hardware instead. other great digital synth to look for is the MicrowaveXT which blend nicely with the analogs.

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:03 pm
by i_watch_stars
It depends.

The most valid comparison IMO is D50/D550 vs JD800/JD990, leaving the M1 out which is not really even a synthesizer but a preset box.

To many, the JD800/990 superseded the D50. It is, essentially, D50 Reloaded. It has the same Tone/structure idea behind it (although it eschews upper and lower layers and parts). However, owning both the JD and the D550, it is clear that each has its own special charm that isn't captured by the other.

The D50 has a certain warmth and "charm", of sounding more vintage and aiming for some realistic sounds, but missing the mark. This makes it a really unique synth to have because of *how* it misses the mark and sounds so "D50". As usual, the preset haters appear and slam the D50's presets, but IMO the D50 contains some of the beast presets ever made. When its not imitating something real, it has freedom to make majestic beauties such as "Glass voices", "STAR TREK voices", "Fantasia", etc. Even when it is aiming for realism, you have lots of ethereal new age sounds at your disposal.

The JD on the other hand more "hits the mark" in terms of realism, but, who are we kidding. If you want realism get GIGAStudio or whatever, because that would be a better bet. Everything the D50 does, the JD does better; better and more effects, more waveforms, filtertypes, bells and whistles, etc. Also its a LOT easier to program (but the D50 isn't that bad). The JD990 can be expanded as well.

But still, something is missing that makes it different from the D50. It doesn't have the same waveforms, and the ones it does have sound much more clear and lack the digital warmth of the D50. Also the D50 has very unique sounding pulse and PWM.

Basically I would tell you that if you have the money and desire, get both. If you just want one synth, or don't have the money, get the JD-800/990 over the D50. I wouldn't get just the D50 unless you are specifically looking for that late 80's early 90's digital sound, and don't mind a lack of realism. If that is your thing, then absolutely get the D50.

PS: Just so you know, if you ask the VSE community if you should buy something 99% will always say "yes" with a knee j**k type response. Next time just offer a "vs" type thread.

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:19 pm
by Stab Frenzy
i_watch_stars wrote:The D50 has a certain warmth and "charm", of sounding more vintage and aiming for some realistic sounds, but missing the mark. This makes it a really unique synth to have because of *how* it misses the mark and sounds so "D50".
Totally agree. I was playing the V-Synth XT in a shop on the weekend and those strings and horns are just so emotive! I've got to get the VC-1 for my V-Synth.

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:23 pm
by seamonkey
Whether it's a classic or not should not be the reason you want to buy a D50.
Does it give you the sound you want to color your music?
Forget all the hype and..................................listen!
The D50 excels at beautiful pads, ethereal sounds and I've been able to get some nice twisted filtered sounds out of it.
It's true many of the presets are sucky, I have at least 7 Rom cards and 75% of the patches on each of them are ho-hum but the few that are good are really really good and then if you twist your own you can create some really awesome sounds.

I agree the D50 has surpassed the M1 with it's cult status and sought after sound as time goes by.

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:54 pm
by Hossinfeffa
You're kinda in my old shoes on that subject. In early February I was debating over the D-50 and JD-800 as well. I already loved and was for certain getting a D-50 since I had heard so many demo's on it. But then, someone from a band told me they have a JD-800, which I started to look into. After a few days, I was wanting to buy a JD-800. In the end, I decided to get the D-50 since I had knew more about it and was wanting it for a longer time. Plus, it's cheaper than a JD-800. :lol:

Do I regret not getting a JD-800? No, not at all. The JD-800 sounds very nice and can create marvelous sounds. It can even sound exactly like an electric guitar if you play it right. gives an example of that. (5:15)

Once I got my D-50 the sounds it created and how warm it sounded for a digital synth just caught my ear and kept it. I'm very pleased with the D-50 and I think it's a very versatile synth. It has a slight hiss to it when you crank it up, but that's because it's an old digital, and a noise gate should take care of that. Not sure if the JD-800 suffers from the same.

The decision is up to you, really. Since you're getting the D-50 and the PG-1000, you're basically getting all you would have on a JD-800 as well, plus or minus a few things. The D-50 will sound more vintage though while the JD-800 will have that kind of early 90s sound, rather than late 80s. Both great synths.

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:03 pm
by madtheory
Stab Frenzy wrote:
i_watch_stars wrote:The D50 has a certain warmth and "charm", of sounding more vintage and aiming for some realistic sounds, but missing the mark. This makes it a really unique synth to have because of *how* it misses the mark and sounds so "D50".
Totally agree. I was playing the V-Synth XT in a shop on the weekend and those strings and horns are just so emotive! I've got to get the VC-1 for my V-Synth.
Ya, the D-50 has "that" sound, a kind of expensive glossy sheen. It's very nice. Nothing like it. The JD and JV stuff is great too, but in a different way, and they don't have the PG1000.

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:55 pm
by replicalex
Many thanks for all the points of view.
I wasnt going to get it just because its a classic...
I want to make sure it'll fit into my studio...sonically that is.
I did some more digging around youtube etc. to get a better idea of its sounds. Yeah it sounds pretty unique, but I'm still not sure about it.

I seen Hogbertos JD800 when I was buying his JX10, but didnt get to play with it :cry: but it looked like a cool synth.

While digging I came across the KORGs DW/EX8000 and the DSS1 and they sound / look interesting too.
I guess I need to do some more thinking before I go spending money.
Thanks again guys.

oh and i_watch_stars...thanks for the advice about posting here. Will do.

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:55 pm
by Synthaholic
You'll love it. Even if the presets don't cut the mustard for you, it has a surprisingly powerful synth engine for a digital of that age. 2 tones w/2 partials each, 3 LFOs per tone (so 6 per patch... yes that's a lot of LFOs!), 2 multi-stage envelopes per partial (plus a pitch envelope at the tone level), each partial can be synth or PCM, one partial can ring-modulate the other, lowpass resonant filter (on synth partials only), plus chorus, a cheesy reverb, and parametric EQ. Synth partials can be sawtooth or pulse (with real PWM even on the sawtooth). The 2 tones that make up a patch can be split or layered, or placed on 2 consecutive MIDI channels (so the D-50 is somewhat bi-timberal).

I had a D-50 in my old rig and I loved it so much, that I recently added a D-550 (rackmount version of D-50) to my current rig. I still want to find a PG-1000 for it.

D-50 sounds layer beautifully with other synths as well. In my last song I used a D-50 and TX802 (DX7II) patch layered and it was probably the best synth voice I ever made.

BTW, what other synths do you have? Just so we have an idea what sonic palette your studio has now.

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:42 am
by tallowwaters
Stab Frenzy wrote:
i_watch_stars wrote:The D50 has a certain warmth and "charm", of sounding more vintage and aiming for some realistic sounds, but missing the mark. This makes it a really unique synth to have because of *how* it misses the mark and sounds so "D50".
Totally agree. I was playing the V-Synth XT in a shop on the weekend and those strings and horns are just so emotive! I've got to get the VC-1 for my V-Synth.
you and me both fella. shame both of the cards cost as much as i paid for my V.

:oops:

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:30 pm
by D-Collector
The D-50 is a true classic. End of story.

People say "oh, but it hasn't got realistic sounds like the M1".
When I buy a synthesizer, I do it for the sake of sound synthesis - like the name implies. And analog-like synthesis is something the D-50 does extremely well.

If I wanted realistic bass or piano, I would buy the real thing.

Others say the D-50 is impenetrable, or difficult to program.
Well, I say then you are obviously not even trying to understand it.

It is really quite easy, and navigating the windows is fast and effective.
You just have to spend some time with it.

As for the PG-1000, I have never owned it so I can't tell.

Btw, I stumbled over this nice page some time ago:
http://bobbyblues.recup.ch/roland_d-50/d-50.htm