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  • Roland D50



    A trombone playing friend of mine gave me his Roland D50 the other day. Not being the keyboard type he told me that it used to work about five years ago. I set it up and attached my Ibanez 20w bass amp that is used regularly and got no sound. I gota message that said "check internal battery". The manual I downloaded said to do it every five years. I've selected the patches but the display only shows gibberish.</P>


    Now for the questions</P>


    Will changing the battery preserve the setting after the unit is powered down? They all go away when I turn it off.</P>


    Is this something a person who tinkers with computers could do? Not me, my friend tinkers but he's not a music guy..</P>


    Did the D50 come with patches preloaded fromtthe factory? No oneseems to know the answer. If it did, they don't work now.</P>


    Are memory cards still available? If so, can they be had with vintage organ patches? </P>


    Is it possible that this instrument has lost it's programming? If so, can it be restored? It's a peice of 80s gear. </P>


    If I can get it working, could it be used as part of a MIDI organ? It has MIDI ports on it. </P>


    Is it worth anything? I know there are folks who like vintage synths out there.</P>


    I joined a D50 group in yahoo but all I get are messages about enlargement and other stuff.</P>


    Thanks from Texas</P>

  • #2
    Re: Roland D50



    What an odd coincidence! I happen to have a D-50 myself. In fact, I'm planning getting another soon. I will try to answer these questions for you one at a time.</p>

    -I don't know <span style="font-style: italic;">how</span> to change the battery, but I can say that one in proper working order will maintain all the preset memory when it is switched off.</p>

    -I would try simply removing the bottom cover and seeing whether there is or isn't a battery in plain sight then. It will probably be a button cell type, (round shaped like a quarter). While computer knowledge is good to have, I doubt it would be of much additional use. While this instrument is digital, it isn't a computer. Knowledge of integrated circuitry would probably be best but, then again you're only changing battery.</p>

    -Indeed, the D-50 came with 88 <span style="font-style: italic;">amazing</span> preset patches. A list of them with sound clips can be found here. Now normally from a synthesist's point of view, good presets aren't necessarily a <span style="font-style: italic;">good</span> thing. They are often used as excuse to make the synth less tweakable, (ie: no knobs). In the case of the D-50, while that is still true, the preset patches are <span style="font-style: italic;">very</span> good and can yield very good results. </p>

    -The memory cards are no longer available new, but they are out there. you can find them on synthesizer forums, Ebay, etc. The former would probably be your best bet. The memory cards come in two varieties, those with more patches and those without. Here is some info and the sound samples of the four patch expansion cards: http://www.synthmania.com/pn-d50-series.htm</p>

    -It is <span style="font-style: italic;">quite</span> possible that the machine has lost the preset memory. Unfortunately, There is NO factory restore function on the D-50. [] I really don't know what they were thinking, as just about every other Roland project has it. [:@] Mine has been modified, and I am trying to find someone with one that has the factory presets that would be willing to do a data transfer so I can get my sounds back. I you find out that yours <span style="font-style: italic;">didn't</span> save your presets, I might be able to send you my memory card so that you can load them on, worst case scenario.</p>

    -Yes you can use it as a MIDI insertion device IF, the hardware/software you connect it to will accept that level of MIDI implementation. Keep in mind that the MIDI on the D-50 was actually designed to control other <span style="text-decoration: underline;">hardware</span> instruments. this was a long time before soft synths and Hauptwerk became available, IE 1987. Of course, I should not have to tell you that there are no drivers available for it. Although, it's possible that you could use a generic MIDI driver and have some success.</p>

    If <span style="font-style: italic;">all</span> you want to do with it is use it as a MIDI controller, for the love of all that is holy in this world allow me to trade with you a keyboard that can do MIDI better and isn't such a <span style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">classic treasure</span> of synthesis! </p>

    Moving on:</p>

    - Prices vary. I got mine for $100, but Vintage Synth Explorer shows them in the 4-600 dollar range. They say the same about the Korg M1 though, and I have seen those go for under $250. Real world value? Probably in the $150-200 range in good condition, less than $80 if it doesn't work right.</p>

    Here are a few good D-50 links for you:</p>

    http://www.vintagesynth.com/ </p>

    http://www.synthmania.com/d-50.htm</p>

    http://www.synthmania.com/pn-d50-series.htm</p>

    http://www.youtube.com/profile_video...ymecki&amp;p=r</p>

    http://www.youtube.com/profile_video...ode909&amp;p=r</p>

    </p>

    Good luck!</p>

    </p>

    -Joe</p>


    </p>

    </p>

    </p>

    </p>

    </p>

    </p>

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Roland D50



      Thanks Joe,</P>


      I guess this thimg must have some kind of program in it because it lets me set the keyboard split function but of course it goes away when I turn it off. It just dosen't produce any sound when I choose a patch. Do the patches have names that show on the display? All I see are meaningless combinations of number and letters. Could I have it connected to the amp improperly? Is a bass amp the wrong thing to use? </P>


      The back looks easy to remove so I think I'm going to tackle the battery replacement. Hopefully it won't be very expensive. </P>


      This unit is in very good condition. The only flaw is that the diagrams on the upper right side are worn of in places. Ohterwise almost no marks of any kind. </P>


      If it will work, I probably will use it as a combo organ if it has appropriate patches are in it..</P>

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Roland D50



        hi mark</P>


        marga here. how did u manage to go on with the d 50? i happen to be in the same situation! any hope to have this ols beautiful little thing to sound agaian?</P>


        cheers</P>


        marga</P>
        <P mce_keep="true"></P>

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Roland D50



          The D50 has some wonderful sounds. I have one and a number of D550's which are the rack mount equivalent.</P>


          I should have the books somewhere here if any interest.</P>


          I replaced the batteries and had to reinitialize them as I recall. I put some ARCO strings and YEAH which is a beautiful string chorus.</P>


          I probably have a few of the cards around. Rather limited polyphony but very nice sound.</P>


          Al</P>

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Roland D50



            Hey ya'll,</P>


            I got the bottom off my D-50 and found the internal battery. The trouble is that it is clamped down really tight and the battery holder appears to have no screws or spring clips. The battery appears to be a common size and type that could be easily changed if I could just figure out the clampingmechanism. Any ideas?</P>

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Roland D50



              Progress report:</P>


              I pried the battery from its holder using a Pampered Chef orange peeler. The battery in my daughter's metronone was the same kind so I changed it. Now the D-50 will hold it's tuning at 440hz when I turn it off and back on. There are however no patches or sounds. I'm guessing that the patches had to be loaded from a ROM card that I don't have. I suppose the RAM card that I don't have either was where you stored patches that you had edited. Any ideas? I know Roland dosen't make the cards anymore. Will old ones available on ebay still work after all this time?</P>

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Roland D50

                Yes.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Roland D50



                  Thank you,</P>


                  It worked fine. I was able to sell it to a guy who had a whole pocketful of memory cards. Perhaps I should have kept it but synths really aren't my thing. Your input kept me from letting it go for nothing. </P>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Roland D50

                    How much did you get for it?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Roland D50

                      I ran the D-50 on CL for a few weeks. I got only one inquiry and I let it go for $100. Upon closer inspection it wasscuffed and scratchedup with the decals worn off completelyin places. Probably gigged? The display started having problems and there turned out to be some bad keys when the buyer got it to play. I probably let it go too cheap but I'm trying to be ready with cash when that "right" organ comes along.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Roland D50

                        I forgot, the synth didn't have the correct power cord. I was using a vacuum cleaner cord that I had to modify (whittle away plastic) to make it fit. I also had no original manuals or memory cards or other accessories for it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Roland D50

                          In that shape, I'm sure it was worth about $100 (or less). That kind of synthesizer isn't exactly what you would call user reparable.

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