Decided to make previews of the patches from the expasion cards for the D50 and D550 as well. This is the first video, for the PN-D50-01 card by Roland themselves.
Finally have previews of all of the Roland D-50 factory presets available for listening on YouTube! The demos are split into two videos, 32 patches played per video.
Those of you who have watched my YouTube videos may remember this video:
Frankly, this was made using samples of the Roland D-50, and about a month ago, I finally have the rackmount version of the real deal: the D-550!
Back in 1987, Roland realized that people wanted a larger variety of sounds than the mere analogs of the years before, but due to tight budget and technological limits could only afford a small amount of sample ROM. This transformed into what they call "Linear Arithmetic" synthesis, in which the typical patch would combine PCM samples (usually short attack snippets of an instrument) with what is arguably the first virtual analog engine. Add built-in chorus and reverb (with the ability to have two different chorus effects to a patch), and you have the bulk of the Roland D-50 synthesizer!
From my personal viewpoint, it's amazing how much effort went into many of the patches. This was thanks partially to the fact that, while traditional synthesizers have four stages of an envelope (the first and last being constant), the D-50 and D-550 have five stages, all of which are completely customizable in level and time. This feature is made especially clear through the famous patch "DigitalNativeDance", a patch almost impossible to accurately recreate with traditional ADSR envelopes.
While drum samples are not included (again, sample size limits of the time), what is included is very impressive. Four samples or synth waveforms can be used in a patch. The PCM samples have three different kinds: the aforementioned attack partials, some wavetable-esque loops (the most complex loops are all unusual synth sounds titled "Spect"), and, finally, some basic sequences of samples recorded in a loop. The synth section has the traditional sawtooth and square/pulse waveforms, but can also have a ring modulator applied to it.
If you're feeling too lazy to program yourself, thankfully, there are several SysEx patches for the D-50 and D-550 online, including dumps from all four expansion cards.
Course, the D-550 has the drawback of its LCD screen and lack of easy editability. I had purchased this unit with a very dim backlight, and evidently, I am not the only user with this problem. Thank God for MIDIQuest.
Overall, while difficult to edit without a MIDI librarian, the sounds you can generate from this device will often be worth it, especially if you're into the sound of the late '80s, whether it be synthpop or new age (whose most famous musician, Enya, was also a D-50 user).
I will try to find the time to remake the video, and for the sake of everyone who may be interested in acquiring one, I hope to play short pieces with ALL of the patches in this remake.
May as well update this blog with a condolence.
Those of you unfamiliar with the guy, he was a former Genesis touring member who also assisted in Peter Gabriel's solo career, and in his later years he was responsible for several vintage synth libraries under the name Hollow Sun, a company whose future I have no idea over. I even emailed him once, albeit about work, so it's a bit personal for me as well.
As a means of tribute, here is my track Welcome to the Club, which involves use of his samples of the Yamaha CP70 piano.
Well, was in a Teamspeak chatroom with a few other synthwave producers, and it got me thinking about how much stuff I had on my Bandcamp. That being said, I finally got around to pulling most of my earlier material from the site, as few seemed interested in it, likely partially because much of it was so badly produced, in retrospect.
This also got me thinking about other ways to optimize my image for the average viewer. Expect me to be spending the next few weeks finding ways to better approach the design of this site as well as Bandcamp, even if just by way of throwing in more blog entries.
Made a YouTube video covering the Terminator theme. This is to celebrate my affiliation with the movies: it was 30 years ago today that the first T800 arrives to kill Sarah Connor.
This time around, I decided to dedicate an entire video to the reviewed synth. Enjoy!
Well, two things worth mentioning right now:
1. Currently talking with the label manager of Future 80s. There will be a limited run of cassete tapes of "An Alien World" for any of the more nostalgic customers, likely to be available on the same page as the Bandcamp downloads. No official date of availability has been estimated, yet, so stay tuned.
2. For the sake of updates, I'll reveal a leak I got regarding "Radio Pure Gently": one of my recent free-download tracks will be played on the station tomorrow! For the sake of surprises, I will not reveal which, though.
Also been busy testing out a recently-acquired Oberheim DPX-1, my most vintage synthesizer yet, but I'll save an in-depth review of it for later.
Well, been going through lots of personal issues, which are not worth delving into, up until recently; hence, the relative lack of music making. Good news is that I've resumed, one example being a new original track that I'm going as far as to give away for free.