Roland D-50 Linear Synthesizer

roland_d50_lg (Medium)

At last. I found a D-50 🙂

Always wanted one because they seem to be quite legendary. They are not that expensive but I preferred buying a project just for the challenge of it. So when I browsed the internet one evening and found one that has been online less than 15 minutes advertised as ‘Roland D-50 broken / for parts’. I called the person, got into my car and drove to Amsterdam.

Technical specifications:

  • Polyphony – 16 voices (32 partials with 2 per voice); 8 voices (using 4 partials per voice in Dual or Split Mode)
  • Oscillators – Digital LAS (Linear Arithmetic Synthesis) & PCM, 32 osc.
  • LFO – YES (3 x 2tones = 6 LFOs)
  • Filter – low-pass-resonant
  • Envelopes – ADSR envelopes
  • Effects – YES
  • #Instruments – Monotimbral (can be upgraded for multitimbrality)
  • Keyboard – 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
  • Arpeg/Seq – None
  • Memory – 64 patches
  • Control – MIDI
  • Date Produced – 1987-89

When I got there half an hour later the guy said the phone had been ringing of the hook about the D-50 so I was lucky that I found it shortly after he posted it online.

Broken in this case meant: we lost the powercord and it’s been sitting in a closet for years so we have no idea if it still works.

The only thing that was wrong with it on the outside was that the pitchbender was snapped off but otherwise it looked brand new.

It came with a Roland PN-D50-00 memory card that contains the presets and it was cheap so I bought it.

At home I opened it up and I replaced the EC-101 power chassis part where you connect your funny looking Roland powercord and replaced it with a standard EU chassis part. Just two screws and two wires to solder, thats it, and easily reversable. Now any standard EU powercord will fit so I grabbed one an flicked the switch…

It works fine! Yeah!

It sounds great too 🙂

The only thing that needs to be fixed are 3 or 4 Bank buttons. Those buttons not working is sort of a problem because a lot of the patches cannot be selected now. The pitchbender (while the top part of it broke off) works fine. Haven’t decided what to do with that. Might leave it like that.

Will update soon.


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