Roland D-50 help.....

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Roland D-50 help.....

Post by pianogrl697 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:52 pm

Hey everyone!

I am new here! Just got a Roland D-50 the other night and already having a ball with it! I am very new to synthesizers, too - I play piano and have used basic keyboards, etc. but synthesizers are a little more advanced from what I'm seeing - which is fine because I am willing to learn. I figured this would be a great "starter" synth for me - eventually I would like to invest in a Yamaha Motif 8X or Korg M3. but not yet.

I found a manual online for the Roland but it's "advanced" - I am curious to know if there is a "less technical" manual out there?

Also, I somewhat understand how to use the sound banks and edit the sounds (e.g transpose, chase and portamento buttons give the sounds different "effects" and changes the key signature/pitch) - the other night I was "tweaking" with a few sounds, changing the instruments, the balance, the L tone edit and U tone edit etc. and some of the adjustments sounded awesome - however, now I forget how I did it....it was under the L tone and U tone edit buttons and I played with the decrement and increment buttons, I've tried to adjust the sounds and I cannot seem to get it to work out like I did the other night. I don't remember the "steps" I did to achieve the different sound adjustments. Again, I am sure it's a lot more simpler than I think, but, still learning here, lol.

I would appreciate any help!

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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by fh991586 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:47 pm

Check the basic manual here:
ftp://ftp.roland.co.uk/ProductSupport/D-50/
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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by pianogrl697 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:16 am

THANK YOU!!

My other concern was, I plan on getting a Yamaha Motif XS8 and I love some of the sounds from the Yamaha DX7 - and since both brands are Yamaha I'm not sure if they are compatible - I wouldn't want to have to purchase a Yam DX7 just for the sounds when it could be possible to load the sounds from a DX7 to the Motif (makes sense?)

Also, last thing, can you import sound banks from other same brand or even different brand synths? For example, like loading sound banks from a Roland D-70 into a D-50 or even sounds from a D-50 into the Yam Motif? I wasn't sure if they were all compatible within each other since they are .SYX files - or if you had to import the sounds from one same brand synth into another - like Roland to Roland, Yam to Yam, etc.

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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by rhino » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:46 am

First, welcome to our crazy world !

With only the fewest of exceptions, you can only load .SYX files into the SAME IDENTICAL SYNTH !!
If they are rackmount and keyboard versions (Roland D-50 and D-550, Yamaha DX7-II and TX-802, etc.) the that will usualy work. A VERY FEW synths are 'backward compatable' with a previous model: You can load sounds from an Ensoniq ESQ-1 into the newer SQ-80...
This is a very common question from new synth players. The SYSEX is only the file format that transfers the data from one synth to another. EACH make and model has it's own 'code' that tells it how to make a certain sound. Sysex from another make or model would just be gibberish to a different one.
Not a big Yamaha user, but (help me, guys...) can you get a add-on module to put into the Motif that does FM?
Also, the Motif may well have sampling capabilities that would let you play back FM sounds programed on another synth.
EDIT:
Just read the specs on the Motif - has sampling, but no FM option. You may want to pick up a used TX-802, or TG-77 for those FM sounds. You can connect them via MIDI right to your Motif.
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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by gcoudert » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:27 am

If you like some of the sounds in the DX7, why don't you get a TX7 module? I don't know where in the world you are but you can usually pick one up for £40 here in the UK (which is US$62 / EU47 at today's rates). Basically, it's a non-programmable version of the DX7 although you can load DX7 sysex banks into it; if you decide to get one, let me know what sounds you want. I'll get a sysex bank together for you and guide you through the transfer process. I have both a DX7 and TX7.

I'm glad you like your D50. It's a great synth; I once had a D50 and D550 module. Look at it as 4 synths in one. Each patch is made up of four sounds: 2 in your lower 'tone' and two in the upper 'tone' - each sound in the tones is either a synth waveform (saw, square, triangle, etc.) or a PCM sample [P] as you can see from the diagrams on the front panel.
Turn three of the sounds off and play around with one part only then switch another one on and program that one, etc. - just remember that the filter parameters [DCF] have no effect whatsoever on PCM samples in the D50; they only work with synth waveforms.

Going back to your D50/D70 example, they are two completely different machines. Despite their names, the two machines have nothing in common, to be honest, so they are not compatible at all. I have owned both and the D70 is no match for the D50's powerful synth engine.
As far as I am aware, the only other synths that can load DX7 sysex are the Yamaha SY77 - and even then, I don't think it's straightforward - and the NI software synths FM7 and FM8.

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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by Synthaholic » Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:49 pm

The DX7 and Motif XS are completely different synths... in fact, the only thing they have in common are the "Yamaha" printed on them. :)

That said, if you get the Motif, it does have some sampled waveforms from the DX synths in it, and some presets based on the more popular DX7 presets, mainly electric pianos, clav, etc. These may suit you fine, but if you want to dig into FM synth programming, you'll need a real FM synth. I have a Motif XS6 and I've supplemented it with a TX802 (FM module) and a D-550 (rack version of the awesome D-50), also an Alesis Andromeda so I have a real analog synth too.
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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by KrisH » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:29 am

The D-50 that I got a few months ago is my first hardware synth, and I'm learning a lot about basic synthesis principles just by playing with it. But the built-in editing capability is tedious, so I downloaded a software editor that passes parameter tweaks and patches from your computer to the machine via midi: http://www.d50librarian.co.uk/ It's free/donationware, and worth using. Have fun! It got me understanding my soft-synths more, and looking at more hardware synth options, too.

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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by wildpaws » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:45 pm

Synthaholic wrote:The DX7 and Motif XS are completely different synths... in fact, the only thing they have in common are the "Yamaha" printed on them. :)

That said, if you get the Motif, it does have some sampled waveforms from the DX synths in it, and some presets based on the more popular DX7 presets, mainly electric pianos, clav, etc. These may suit you fine, but if you want to dig into FM synth programming, you'll need a real FM synth. I have a Motif XS6 and I've supplemented it with a TX802 (FM module) and a D-550 (rack version of the awesome D-50), also an Alesis Andromeda so I have a real analog synth too.
And the TG77 rack (FM + AWM, and also the SY77/99) does a superb job of FM synthesis, IMHO better than any of the DX7, TX7, DX7II, and TX802 synths/modules, better than any other Yamaha FM synth except perhaps the FS1R.
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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by pianogrl697 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:12 am

Wow...thank you all so much for all your kind and helpful responses - I've posted on other forums and no one would ever respond or I never got such nice responses like these so thank you! There is so much to take in, LOL! I want to start little and work my way up. I was told to purchase a MIDI controller keyboard and this way you can control any patch you want (so I was told...again, learning here.....)

Anyways....because the previous owner had "messed around" with the Internal (factory presets) they are not the "original" patches and have different names and sounds - but there are some really neat patches that I want to "back up" before I reset the internal bank to it's default settings. I downloaded/installed the MIDI-OX program to transfer patches to the synth but first I want to back up the data that's in there now before I "erase" anything. Any idea how to do this? I have the IN/OUT MIDI cable/USB but not much luck here. I tried to look at the manual and I see stuff about writing and transferring data from the computer to the device but nothing about device to computer. Even looked on Google about "backing up/saving patches to computer" nothing I'm looking for. I'm confused.

I figured the patches would be "coded" for copyright issues to avoid usage on other synths - meaning Roland D-50 sounds are specifically programed to work for D-50 and nothing else. I will look into something less expensive to use DX-7 patches on instead of purchasing a whole DX-7 keyboard. Eventually I want a Yamaha Motif X8 or Korg M1. Still trying to make up my mind...

I'm from the USA, BTW. :)

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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by rhino » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:32 am

Well, friend - again welcome to our CRAZY world. You will need to attatch the synth to your computer with the MIDI to USB device. THEN you will most likely need a EDITOR/LIBRARIAN program made for the D-50. The problem is most synths do not have a control or a menu to SEND a MIDI DUMP of all the patches to a computer...the computer must send a COMMAND to the synth telling it to send copies of the patches back to the computer program. If you are not ready to jump into the quagmire of synthesizer/computer interfacing, I suggest you look on Ebay for a memory cartfidge for the D-50... an M-256E...then you can save your current sounds to it.
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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by pianogrl697 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:26 am

It's all set up/attached, etc. but I don't think I'm doing something correctly. UGH! I am going to try this instead, though: http://www.d50librarian.co.uk/

Thanks for everything!!

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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by pianogrl697 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:52 am

Okay FINALLY getting somewhere here *does happy dance* and figured out how to receive/send data to synth however.....when I go to click on "Receive Data from D-50" option off the main "Tools" menu it is grayed out, meaning I cannot click on it. The little "keyboard" icon with the "pointing down" arrow (also means to receive data) on the upper menu is grayed out, too. I cannot seem to get data received but it looks like I can send Data...which I don't want to do just yet until I figure out why the "receive" data is grayed out....I am using this program, BTW: http://www.d50librarian.co.uk/

All cables are connected and I even pushed and held down the "Data transfer" on the Roland and pushed the B. Dump where you'd get the Bulk Dump O. option, hit enter, it would say "Sending" and then "Complete." Yet nothing is on my computer, lol.

And that's it. Nothing pops up on my computer screen or anything. This librarian only supports the "One way transfer."

Any tips??

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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by gcoudert » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:19 am

Make sure that "Memory protect" is turned off on the D50.
Check that the MIDI channels (typically channel 1) match on both the software and D50.
I think (but I could be wrong) that you have to connect the two devices to each other both ways (MIDI In to Out and Out to In) for 'handshake' purposes.
I hope it works! I no longer own my D50/D550 but I'm pretty sure that I used D50 Librarian at the time. Is it the one that allows you to compile your own banks from individual patches of sysex banks? If not, I've probably got that one somewhere.
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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by pianogrl697 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:19 pm

I e-mailed the person from the librarian site and he told me:

The main reason that the "Recieve data from D-50" menu item (and corresponding toolbar button) is greyed out is if the MIDI Input port isn't configured correctly. Click on the Tools->Configure MIDI Ports and make sure that an appropriate MIDI port is selected for "Input". It sounds like the "Output" port is configured if you can transmit to the D-50.

But I will follow your suggestions as well as the one above. Both In/Out cables are plugged in and the USB is hooked up to the computer - when the "transfer" is happening a green light flashes on the little box that's with the cable - a red light is on too but that never goes off, I figure it's like a power "On" indicator, nothing seems to be loose or anything. I did set up the Configuration but I'll look again and see what's up. I'll post my updates later. Thank you so much!

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Re: Roland D-50 help.....

Post by gcoudert » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:08 am

Start with what he suggested. The software does need to know what port/device the MIDI data will go through.
Also, make sure your USB/MIDI cable is connected the right way round. I used to have one for my laptop and couldn't get it to work until I realised its MIDI plugs were labelled wrongly (the arrows were pointing in the wrong direction)!!!

You could also try D50-LDR (D50 Loader). It can transmit sysex files as well as receive them. You can download it here:
http://www.epsilonx.com/rolandla/synth-d50-550.htm (9 rows down).
GC

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