The Roland D-50

Out of every Digital Synthesizer I’ve ever played, or thought about, the Roland D-50  has always held some kind of “Mystical Aura” in my mind. “What is this crazy LA Synthesis, and why does it sound So Good!” I would think. I have always dreamed of owning one, along with the PG-1000 programming module that complimented this beautiful digital legend. 1987 is when I started my “Synthetic” Musical Journey, and was the exact year this Legend was released. Unable to afford the D-50 during that time, I settled for an affordable alternative, the Kawai K1, which of course I still have to this very day, and will never part with.

Roland_D-50_Front_(tweaked_image)

My 30 year wait has finally come to an end! Roland’s Cloud has finally released what so many have been anticipating, the Software equivalent of the Roland D-50, and after so many comparisons I have researched online, this is as close to the “real deal” as it gets. Complete with a built in PG-1000 programming console!

roland-pg-1000-synth-programmer-396933

I was hesitant to join Roland’s Cloud, but after news of this release, I took the dive. I’m not a fan of subscription based services, as the basic introductory price of $19.95 per month just to play this instrument is a bit daunting, but considering the first 30 days is free, I had nothing to lose, well, for at least 30 days 😉 I have actually witnessed a Roland D-50 along with a PG-1000 in pristine condition go for upwards of $900.00, and $500.00  respectively on eBay. The first year including a free month on Roland’s Cloud would be $219.45, just a thought.

Beside the financial aspects, I have had the chance to spend 3 days learning Linear Arithmetic Synthesis, the internal engine that drives the D-50. After years of Synthesis Programming, it became second nature within an hour of “Tweaking” presets to gain familiarity. I’m especially impressed with the “TVA/TVF” Envelope Generators. Not your normal “ADSR” and more akin to Casio CZ, 8 Stage Generators than anything I’ve encountered, but with much more flexibility.

D50 plugout

I must state, this isn’t a review, this is more of a celebration. For anyone reading this who hasn’t done so already, I encourage you to hop on over to Roland’s Cloud based service, and claim your free month to delve into not only the D-50, but they have much much more! Available as of this writing:  The Roland System-8, System-1, Jupiter-8, SH-101, Juno-106, System 100, Promars, SH-2, Sound Canvas, as well as sample based Rompler’s like: Anthology 1985, 1987, 1990, Guitars, Piano, and much more …All for a FREE MONTH! Thank You Roland, you finally came through, and one of the check marks on my bucket-list is filled! 😀

Roland D-50 VS Control Panels:

Patch

Lower and Upper Common

Lower and Upper Partial Select

As an add to this post, and delving into the Roland D-50 learning curve, I found a great resource for those who ever get stuck programming this legend. I highly recommend the “Roland D50 Creative Book” available there: The Cult of D-50. Now available within the “Sound & Instrument Resources” link list to your right 😉

cultofd50

Update 6/26/2017:

Delving Deep into “LA” Synthesis, and finally understanding the Roland D50 Architecture, a few sounds have emerged. Think I’ll finish a bank at this point 😉 All sounds “Raw” using only on board effects. Sounds in Sequence:

Galactic Pad I > U:Saw String L:Airy String – Modulation:Pressure
Galactic Pad II > U:Tibetan L:Hi Q – Modulation:Pressure
Crystal Tines > U:Cathedral L:Chime Pad – Modulation:Pressure  (My Version of Fantasia)
Synergy Pad > U:DK Synergy L:DK Synergy – Modulation:Pressure

Update 7/1/2017:

For those who need assistance programming your own sounds with the Roland D50 VS, a great video tutorial has been created here:

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