Roland D-5
Roland D-5

D-5, Digital Synth from Roland.

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songboy 07/27/2009

Roland D-5 : songboy's user review


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What type of keyboard (synth, piano...)? How many octaves?
This is a synth board.  It does have piano patches but they in no way sound like real piano's.
What controlers (pitch, modulation, sustain...)?

It has a single axis pitch controller.  Comes in handy for synth leads and horns, but thats about it
What connection types are there (Audio, MIDI, pedals...)?
The connections are Midi in/out, "Hold" which is the same as sustain and it also has a card slot for Library Roms
How many sounds, effects? What styles? Can they be edited?
There are qute a few sounds on here, I believe somewhere around 60 or more.  I also have two expansion cards so all together, I get around 200 i think.
through a Mac/PC utility program?

There is some software out there that says it can do this, but I haven't tried it yet.  I believe Soundquest Midiquest has compatibility.
What's the polyphony?...
I believe its only around 20 even though I have heard claims that it has 32


Is the sound or effects editing easy?
Unfortunately, the buttons on my D5 are very hard to push and don't always work, so right off the bat, editing sucks.  Beyond that though, I still have to say its quite difficult.  I am so use to computer based synths that I forgot how to quickly run over a hardware board and be efficient.  I am sure practice will help me improve, but I do plan on getting the midi software, seems to be the way to go.

Is the manual clear and sufficient?...
NO, every manual that I have ever had from Roland usually bites the big one.  The one that I got with this looks handwritten as is a lot of technical info that I will have to decipher.

Is the general configuration/setup simple?
well, its pretty easy to turn on and select patches, so yes I guess.


Are they realistic?
NO, not even close.  But thats not why I got it anyway.  I like the thin, harsh sounds that this baby can scream out.  I run it through a host of effects including some MoogerFooger pedals and I get some great lead,pads and piano patches.
What do you think about the effects?
The effects are nothing to go crazy for, the chase is a limited delay, the arpeggiator is Ok, and the other two aren't even worth talking about.

Is the expressiveness acceptable? (touch sensitivity, aftertouch)?
In comparison to todays standards, the expressiveness is really weak.  The range of touch sensitivity is very small and I don't think this unit has aftertouch, even though some say it does.

What sounds do you like or hate?
I love the pads and leads, the piano's are ok, the basses are pretty sweet, some of the horns are ok, and the organs are pretty sweet too.  I pretty much love all the patches but keep in mind that I want them to sound "bad" so I am fairly biased.

Are the A/D and D/A convertors transparent?
Not really sure how to answer this one.  This thing clean sounds like it came right out of a cheezy 80's/90's pop band, but effected and gritted up, it sounds right out of Bjork, Beck or Portishead.  I love it.


What thing do you like most/least about it?
I love the "awful" sounds.  It is great for people writing electronica or just scary/dark rock stuff.  What I don't like is the buttons need to be mashed in order to function, but that might just be mine.

Did you try many other models before getting this one?
Yes, I have lots of synths, but one that is closer that I had is a Casio CZ5000.  The Casio did not have touch sensitivity so it had to go in the end.  That feature alone makes the D5 a way better synth.

What is your opinion about the value for the price?
I paid $100 for the board and two expansion cards and I am very very happy.

Knowing what you know now, would you make the same choice?...
Yes, instantly, I love this thing.

Precision and quality of the sound?
Again, not very realistic at all, but thats not the point in having an old digital synth these days, right?