Now Roland’s got it right: who better to give a hands-on of that new D-50 reboot (the D-05) than Legowelt, marvelous Dutch musical madman?

I’ll say this: the D-50 had way more fans than I realized. Sure, the thing is a synth classic, and birthed a lot of absurdly well known presets, but it doesn’t have the ubiquity of an 808 or 303, which seem to stand more on the line of the invention of the flute or violin. (Okay, maybe piccolo or bassoon – depending on your point of view.)

But from looking around CDM’s own stats and social media, y’all love your D-50.

Roland also did a good job of explaining what the history of this was. (Wait… but I want that Oberheim and Yamaha, too.) It’s worth reflecting on how influential and clever those sound designs were, overused now as they have been.

RA are making some pretty pads with it. Okay, RA, I guess me and Nick de Friez and Roland had better practice and answer this beautiful lushness:

Also, presets … they’re presumably what a lot of you came for. I’m sorry, I’m having some serious late 80s flashbacks, and not sure entirely how I feel about it:

Oddest of all, people are doing comparisons between the D-50 and D-05. The thing is, while emulating analog circuits introduces differences, emulating digital is … well, going to sound exactly the same, if you have access to all the original specs as Roland does. But yes, the D-05 is smaller, more battery powered, more not-a-keyboard, and has that arpeggiator and step sequencer and USB and MIDI. If you need to get what I just said in a video – a nice video, to be fair – go nuts with this:

I actually do like the D-50 as a synth. I’m really curious to get hands on the D-05 and make it sound unlike the usual D-50, though (see that nice RA video above, even as YouTubers complain that it’s out of sync).

  • beatboxing

    I remember when the D50 appeared in the music stores in the 80s. It was clean and complex at the same time, but when you started going through the presets it pulled me into the schlockiest new age music of the day. I recall that during my visits to the music stores I spent most of my time with the alpha juno and emulator iii (the xpander was too high up on the keyboard rack for me to reach 🙂

    I’m sure with enough work and creativity you could use it well in a mix, but other synthesis approaches yielded more usable and attractive sounds – quicker, and with more fun in the process of dialing them in.

  • Fred

    Yes, and what’s the problem with presets? Guitars have (arguably) one preset and nobody ever complained.