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Classic 1980s Vibes
The D50 is one of those keyboards that, alongside the DX-7 and Korg M1, really helped to define the mid-late 1980s. This keyboard's strength is in creamy pads and strings, and it's really fun if you can find the optional PG-1000 programmer.
Roland D50 marked the beginning of the end....
I have the honor of buying the first Roland D50 that came to Chicago. It was an instant hit because just pressing one key (DIgital Native Dance factory preset) and you were wowed and mesmerized. Roland's genius was to create a keyboard with preset sounds so strong, the thought of programming your own seems pointless and unnecessary. I have owned three D50 (and a rackmount D550) plus the PG-1000 multi-slider programmer, and have never really made my own patches -- something I felt compelled to do on every synth before the D50. The problem is for many years, music artists became lazy with customization and the end of original sounds pretty much ended. Up to the present time, it's far less about making your own sound than finding the right patch and maybe tweaking it a bit. Nothing wrong with this, as most musicians are eager to get ideas laid as quickly as possible, are geeky programmers trying to stretch sonic boundaries. That said, today's tools have more tweak-ability than ever and plenty of enterprising non-geeks are stretching and working magic customization in ways never imagined during the heyday of the D50. Still, there is something to be said for the one that broke the mold. -cThaWzrd
A touch of 80s brilliance
You've probably seen the many youtube videos showcasing the default patches. Yes, they are a bit cliched but for good reason. They all sound amazing! Personally I don't use synths to replicate acoustic instruments, so ignore those (even the good ones) but if you want something that can handle a range of timbres then you wont go wrong. It excels at breathy, open, sounds, as well as chiming glassy ones, so I often combine these.
It's easier to program than a DX7 but still isn't easy, so keep that in mind!
Enya used this in late 80's and even for her currently latest album from 2015! The sound can be rather primitive in today's standards, but it has this awesome 1980's vibe, purity and warmth, and somehow it does sound better than the new virtual Roland Cloud plugin version.
a great Classic Old School synth...!
It's not an EDM machine; however, if you want to make an Enya album, there are some beautiful sounds in this one. If you're really creative, you can even integrate it 'subtly' into Hard Metal (I was at a Black Sabbath concert back in the late 80's and they had a guy on keyboards who was playing some really dark and moody keyboard lines with one of these while the band played their set...) I have the rack mount version (Roland D-550); Same animal without the keyboard.
Does this Board need a review
If you don't already know the importance and significance of this synth then you should pack up your studio and return to Apple Garageband. There are few pieces of equipment that will ever hold legendary status. This is Simply one of them. The Roland D-50 stands at the apex along side the Mini Moog, Arp 2600, TR-808,-TR-909, Emulator, MP60, DX-7 and arguably the K-2000S. Just google the list of songs and artists that this synth has accompanied. Artists didn't even deviate from the presets. That's how good this synth was (is).