Since I bought my first U-20 3 years ago I gradually obtained more and more of these cards. There are 15 of them and I collected 11. Today I bought the SN-U110-10 Rock Drums card which should be in the mail somewhere this week. (so that’s 12 cards out of 15) The Rock Drums card contains samples of the famous TR-808 drum computer and therefore people tend to ask crazy money for this card. I have no idea why because pretty much everything Roland has ever made contains drum samples from the TR-808 and TR-909.. From cheap E-series arranger keyboards to the Sound Canvas series.
Ebay sellers tend to ask 30 to 80 euro’s for these cards.. I have never paid more that 5 euro’s for one of these.. even the Rock Drums card I bought today was 5 euro’s :-). Some might be a bit more valuable than the others but generally I don’t think they are worth a lot of money. (this is mainly because the synthesizers they are intended for are not very popular)
This doesn’t mean that they don’t sound good because: they sound very good 🙂
Okay, I don’t like all the cards but there are some nice sounds on some of them. My favorite to this point was the SN-U110-02 Latin Drums & Effects card. This is awesome. Very nice drum sounds and a lot of very cool sound effects.
The only cards that I’m missing are the Sound Effects card (#11) and the #8 Synthesizer and #9 Guitar and Keyboards card. The data for the #8 and #9 cards is already included in the U-20 an U-220’s ROM memory so they can only be used with a U-110. If you have them lying around I would still want them though 🙂 There is currently a #11 Sound Effects card for sale on marktplaats.nl but the seller wants 50 euro’s..
Maybe I’ll buy a Roland U-110 module one day just to play around with 4 cards simultaneously. I’ve seen several for sale for 30 euro’s recently. I’ve read that the U-110 sounds less ‘clean’ than the U-220 and the U-20 due to different filters or something like that and people say that’s a good thing.
I now have a U-20 (two actually) and this is one of my favourite synths. It’s very basic but I really like the build quality, the looks, the keybed and the sound. Most U-20’s listed on my main source for gear (Marktplaats) are broken now a days. They all have the same keybed issues and push buttons that don’t work anymore. If the internal CR2032 battery dies the patch memory is erased resulting in no sound output and strange characters on the display. All relatively easy fixes but economically not worth it. I bought my U-20’s for 20 euro’s each. A mint U-20 will fetch maybe 75-100 euro’s in the Netherlands so I’m never selling mine.
This would be a cool challenge: create or recreate an 80’s or 90’s song with just the U-20/U-220/U-110 and the cards. Should be possible to create something cool 🙂
Update: The SN-u110-10 Rock drums card came in the mail and the SN-u110-11 Sound Effects card should arrive soon. So only cards 8 and 9 are missing. Anyone? 🙂
Update april 12th 2016:
Someone gave me the #11 Sound Effects card and the #10 Rock Drums arrived in the mail two weeks ago. So only #8 and #9 to go 🙂