« Probably the best in the series »Published on 11/24/17 at 12:14
I’m not a big fan of Roland’s Boutique series. I’ve owned the Juno, the Jupiter and the TR-09, and I’ve long hesitated before getting this D-05 in loving memory of my good ol’ D-550
Well, I ‘ain’t been disappointed!
It’s really lovely, smaller than the other models in the series I think – at least it’s not as wide. The original model’s color scheme is partly reproduced, as with the rest of the series. Accessing banks, presets and sequences is as easy as can be!
I’ve read here and there there were output gain problems, so I took the step to plug my MindPrint preamp behind it, just in case…
I still consider this new fashion of putting a minijack out irritating, but I must admit the size of the device would hardly have made a full-sized XLR a legit option
The power supply, MIDI and audio all go through a mini-USB connector (mini-connectors for a mini-synth: quite logical somehow): just install a driver and here you go!
Strangely, there’s only one knob on the back side for volume setting. All tweakings are done using the buttons and switches as well as + and -, just like on the original.
Driver : OK, USB : OK, audio signal : OK… Here we go!
It sounds great from the very start – a little cleaner compared with the original if I remember correctly, but it delivers the same warmth.
The effects are not exaggerated.
I’m getting my old feelings back!
The small joystick seems quite fragile, but it does the job.
The 2 ribbons sound interesting and are respectively used for pitch bend and modulation, plus a nice ladder filter.
But let’s concentrate on the sound: well, this is where this nice little guy really shines! The sound structure is the exact same compared with the original, except it was modelled by Roland. Put them side by side in a blind test, and I dare you to recognize which is which.
Regarding the editing process… Well, that’s less brilliant. Linear synthesis is approximately to Roland what FM synthesis was to Yamaha – that’s very harsh. Plus, you certainly wouldn’t consider getting into upper-level synthesis with a 2-line screen and four control buttons, so I looked for an editor and, well… that was not easy.
For Windows, you’ll find what you need.
For iOS, you’ll find what you need – provided you pay for it
As for Mac OS X… well, not so much to be found.
But don’t be afraid, you’ll still find an EXCELLENT software http://ctrlr.org/roland-d50-editor/ which is free, very efficient and comprehensive.
So, now we can finally tweak it as we like. My advice is (as usual) to start from a preset you like and manipulate the dozens of sliders: you’ll soon understand which has which effect. Well, that’s not the most usual way into the world of linear synthesis, but that’s quite efficient.
But for the lazy ones – and I shall know, I’m one – who are after the sounds from their youth, this tiny synth can get those of its predecessors, and god knows you’ll find many all over the internet.
So… It’s a beautiful life, ain’t it?