First in a new 'series', where myself and Auxiliary artists talk about our fave pieces of hardware, just for the hell of it. I'm gonna start with one of my fave pieces, the Roland D-50.
A lot of people overlook the D-50 for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's digital, which is a horrible word amongst synth enthusiasts, and secondly, there's not a single slider or rotary on it. It's a button only menu driven monster of a synth though. It was released in the late 80's and was Roland's answer to Yamaha's DX7, but released as the DX7's popularity was waning. This made the D-50 THE synth to own during the time. It was used by everyone from Phil Collins, Madonna, Jean Michel Jarre, and sadly, Enya.
The D-50 is truly unique. It uses a type of synthesis called Linear Arithmetic synthesis, or LA synthesis for short. It uses a traditional subtractive synthesis, but adds 8-bit PCM waveforms into the mix too, which allows for some really evolving complex pad sounds that you hear a lot in my music. What I love about the sounds that you can create with the D-50 is that it doesn't really sound digital. It doesn't have that typical high end tinny sheen to it that people associate with digital synths. It sounds more analog than some analog modelling synths I own!
Programming the synth is easy if you have the PG-1000 controller. If not, menu diving isn't too hard with this beauty, but if you own a PC, the D-50 Librarian software is all you need, as it contains a full editor, sysex manager and a virtual PG-1000 for real-time manipulation.
A good example of the D-50 in my music is the opening chords on Sacred Moment that I wrote with Synkro. It would have been too easy to name check Untitled D-50 Loop #1 from AUX003!