Roland D50 Reverb Types

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desmond
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Roland D50 Reverb Types

Post by desmond » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:34 pm

I'm trying to figure out the D50's handling of Reverb Types, and it's quite confusing (especially without a real one to check the behaviour).

The modern versions of the D50 (V-Synth, Plugin etc) generally have Reverb types 1-32 (non-editable) to choose from. (I don't think they support custom reverb types, but I could be wrong - this is one of the things I'm trying to find out. No reverb type data is saved in the plugin BIN files, for example, suggesting it *only* uses 17-32 from the preset bank, hard-coded in.)

On the D50/550 though, it seems these are organised as Reverb Type 1-16 (Common, not-rewritable), 17-32 (Preset - not-rewritable, ie contained in the preset patch bank), and 17-32 (User bank - rewritable - contained in the user preset bank).

So presumably, on the 50/550, if a patch in a user bank (ie a syx file) refers to Reverb Type 1-16, that will use the appropriate common reverb type. If a patch refers to Reverb Type 17, because it's being loaded to the user bank, it will use the Reverb Type 17 from the user bank (and Reverb Type data for 17-32 is in the SYX file).

(I would imagine then that 99% of user D50 syx files out there have the default data for Reverb Types 17-32, the same as the preset reverb types 17-32, although it's possible that some masochists would have changed the order so now Reverb Type 17 actually sounds like it's using a different algorithm than the default setting for 17.)

Now, these "rewritable" reverb types 17-32 aren't editable as you'd normally expect, as far as I can find out - the only thing you can do is copy Preset 17-32 Reverb Types into User Reverb Types, and/or move them around (why did Roland think *that* was a good idea?!). It seems the reverb data was intended by Roland to let them introduce new reverb types for their own custom patches, as they'd know how to format the reverb data on the card (and in the sysex file).

Anyone have any idea of factory Roland cards that contained new, custom reverb types?

There's no documentation of this reverb type data that I can find out, all I know is the 16 reverb types require 376 bytes from the MIDI sysex docs. Whether this is a little encoded machine code routine to run the FX algorithm on the D50's DSP I don't know.

I will do a survey of the reverb data in all of my available syx files to see what they contain - I vaguely remember doing this a few years back and *very* few banks were using custom reverb types, but can't remember offhand.

Anyone delved into this previous and can shed some light into the custom reverb types?

(Note - the D-05 seems to support the custom reverb types in the same way as the 50/550 and reads the reverb type data from SYX transfers.)

Cheers...

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desmond
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Re: Roland D50 Reverb Types

Post by desmond » Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:13 pm

So, it seems the plugin does indeed bake in Reverb Types 17-32, and doesn't support custom reverb types as such.

For instance, the main five D50 card banks all have some different/edited reverb types. When you load these into an editor, like D50 Librarian, it will show you the reverb types, their edited names, and which patches refer to them, and you can see that each bank has some edited reverbs from the default set of 17-32.

When you import these SYX files into the D50 Cloud Plugin, those custom reverb types are not respected - eg Card 1 Patch 4:3 Soprano Saxaphone uses Reverb Type 17 from that bank, which instead of the default "Bright Cave" from the presets, is called "Very Small Hall". Imported into the plugin, it will just refer to "Bright Cave".

And there are no provisions in the BIN file format for the plugin to save custom reverb data either, so it's ignored when you import SYX files.

However, if you look at the preset banks from Roland that come with the plugin, the banks *do* show edited Reverb Types - eg 3 Preset D:3 Soprano Sax uses reverb type with a changed menu name of "17.PN-D50-01 Type17".

This suggests to me that the factory settings for alternative Reverb Types that came on the Roland cards have also been baked into the plugin, and the included factory banks do correctly reference those. But they will *not* be imported from a SYX file.

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Re: Roland D50 Reverb Types

Post by madtheory » Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:11 pm

This is heavy stuff. Just for the craic, I'm going to see if I can get the Roland Cloud D50 to generate an impulse signal, and make an IR of each reverb. Tried it there, and I need to maybe use a cluster of notes to get enough energy in the IR.

The reverb tails are awful. No dither.

i always thought it was a poor sounding reverb, albeit revolutionary for the time. I always turn it off and use something better.

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Re: Roland D50 Reverb Types

Post by desmond » Wed Apr 21, 2021 4:55 pm

madtheory wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:11 pm
This is heavy stuff. Just for the craic, I'm going to see if I can get the Roland Cloud D50 to generate an impulse signal, and make an IR of each reverb.
So, the D50 has different 17-32 banks for the Preset bank, and each of the four Roland Card banks. I don't know if there were ever any third-party reverbs mad (though I could survey the available D50 sysex banks to see if there were any different ones to the Roland-made settings.)

If I had a real D50, or a D-05, I might be interested at some point to try to reverse engineer the undocumented "Reverb" block (I think it's about 20 bytes per reverb).

I think most likely, it contains undocumented settings to set the internal FX algorithms to different values, in a way that for some reason, Roland didn't want to expose to the user (perhaps because it was too easy to make the limited FX sound bad, maybe?)

But it should be possible to generate variations, dump to the hardware, and figure out the various parameters - and then let them be ultimately user-editable via editor software.

At least D50Librarian lets you explore the Reverb dump and reorder them, copy individual reverb settings between banks and stuff, and even if the docs there, the author says the contents of the reverb settings remain undocumented by Roland. It would be a good little project to figure out, for sure...

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