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Roland Boutique D50

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Roland Boutique D50

Postby Dave B » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:27 pm

Interesting. Roland have released a boutique series D50 in a box (the D05). Looks like a fairly faithful recreation - full 16 voice polyphony on this one which is correct. Plus the boutique arp/seq.

Can't decide if I like this or not.

I know that a couple of chaps have signed up for the Roland Cloud thingy and it looks like Roland seem to be using the cloud plugins to generate boutique boxes. The latest blurb from the suggests that they see ACB/DCB (their analogue and old-skool digital modelling kits) as viable platform for future releases. Could be interesting. Could also spell the death knell for the cloud platform. Which brings me back to the boutique : my biggest worry with Roland is their awful record of computer integration - a few years down the line and it all just drops off their radar regardless of the user base. But the boutique, being hardware, seems to be a bit more robust to this kind of end of life'ing. Maybe I should be more excited by these little boxes...

hmmm.
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby desmond » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:39 pm

It's the plugin in a box, basically.

Pretty cool if you like hardware, want a D50, hate the MIDI timing of the old hardware, like the extra sounds (it comes with all the Roland card banks),, and/or hate the cloud subscription model of the software - and it works with the PG1000 apparently (and iPad editors etc)

Other plugins we know are coming, with the D50-style modern interface include the JD800 and JV1080, and they are apparently reworking/improving the interfaces of the earlier analog modelled plugins.

So they're definitely committed to this product line, both soft and hard, for a while at least.

Great to see Eric Persing talking about the lovely "Soundtrack" patch video...
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby Wonks » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:46 pm

But you can buy an original D50 for the less than the D-05, plus you get a superb full-sized keybed with aftertouch and no wall-wart power supply. I know the supply of old working D-50s is limited, but they are out there at sensible prices.
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby Dave B » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:34 pm

It's a valid point Wonks, but the key part is that the supply is limited - I recently was looking for a decent keybed and you're right : the D50 is just about the best that was made. But I've come across a few failures and Roland keep a limited supply of spares. And they are 30 years old now....

In fact, I'm not sure that Roland even have a decent weighted synth action keyboard in their current product range! Oh how times have changed... :(
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:11 pm

I have yet to hear an interesting sound in all of the demos of the D-05. They all sound pretty meh to me. In fact, none of the Boutiques have piqued my interest. Which is good because I have enough GAS!

The Novation Peak, on the other hand, does the classic Roland sound and a whole lot more, in my opinion.
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby desmond » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:40 pm

There are some good modern D50 soundsets that get away from the old cliche stuff, and sound much more modern and contemporary, and probably nearer to the JD800/990 stuff which is generally well liked by people who like the Roland vibe.

The CL Projects soundsets in particular are really good...

It's probably a good time to release some new D50 soundsets, giving all the attention and the plugin and Boutique products out now...
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby johnny h » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:55 pm

I've seen a lot of D50s rotting in the corner of studios. Fun for 30 minutes but as soon as you try using it in a track you realise every possible decent sound has been hammered to death, making it nigh on impossible to sound creative or original.

As a rule; analogue gets better with age while digital turns into vinegar.

The D50 came out in 1987.
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby desmond » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:12 pm

johnny h wrote:I've seen a lot of D50s rotting in the corner of studios. Fun for 30 minutes but as soon as you try using it in a track you realise every possible decent sound has been hammered to death, making it nigh on impossible to sound creative or original.

If you want to use a D50 *and* sound creative and original, a good start would be to stay away from the factory presets and, maybe, program it yourself with something new.

A synth is more than the sum of it's presets, and you can be creative and original with *anything*... 8-)
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby Zukan » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:53 am

Is this for people with Trump fingers or do we cucumber dudes get a look in?
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby SecretSam » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:47 pm

desmond wrote:
johnny h wrote:I've seen a lot of D50s rotting in the corner of studios. Fun for 30 minutes but as soon as you try using it in a track you realise every possible decent sound has been hammered to death, making it nigh on impossible to sound creative or original.

If you want to use a D50 *and* sound creative and original, a good start would be to stay away from the factory presets and, maybe, program it yourself with something new.

A synth is more than the sum of it's presets, and you can be creative and original with *anything*... 8-)


Have you ever tried programming a D-50 ? It is as much fun as trying to play a guitar with tweezers.
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:04 pm

SecretSam wrote:Have you ever tried programming a D-50 ? It is as much fun as trying to play a guitar with tweezers.

Sure, I've been playing with the plugin... it's fine. There are computer editors, iPad editors etc for those that can't face programming the hardware without a programmer.

It's a lot easier than some synths I could mention... :headbang:
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby SecretSam » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:13 pm

Fair enough. I am guessing the DX7 ?
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:17 pm

SecretSam wrote:Fair enough. I am guessing the DX7 ?

Well, good FM programming is complex for a number of reasons, sure, but *any* synth with a complex parameter set struggles with offering access to them without a dedicated front panel, to varying degrees of success.

Ever tried programming a Cheetah MS800? You can't even hear the results of your edit until you make the change, exit edit mode, then play, go back to edit mode, tweak again, exit, listen...

At least the D50 used a somewhat familiar method of synthesis, had a large (for the time) display, and a dedicated programmer unit for the hardware, so it wasn't doing too badly, imo...
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby baward » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:25 pm

Wonks wrote:But you can buy an original D50 for the less than the D-05, plus you get a superb full-sized keybed with aftertouch and no wall-wart power supply. I know the supply of old working D-50s is limited, but they are out there at sensible prices.

If I only had the space...
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby SecretSam » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:02 pm

I just got rid of mine. 1980s digital will wear out its irreplaceable components any minute now.

I did really like the keyboard, but not much else.
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby johnny h » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:43 pm

desmond wrote:
johnny h wrote:I've seen a lot of D50s rotting in the corner of studios. Fun for 30 minutes but as soon as you try using it in a track you realise every possible decent sound has been hammered to death, making it nigh on impossible to sound creative or original.

If you want to use a D50 *and* sound creative and original, a good start would be to stay away from the factory presets and, maybe, program it yourself with something new.

A synth is more than the sum of it's presets, and you can be creative and original with *anything*... 8-)
But why would you bother? The D50 was great in its day, but its day was 1987 and things have moved on so much since then. Its hardly an obscure synth. It sold in the bucketloads and its extremely limited capabilities have been explored in every way possible. Its not as if the D50 had particularly intuitive programming, either.

Even as a nostalgia tool it feels a bit redundant, the sound set was not anywhere close to the iconic, genre defining Korg M1 (classic house piano, organ bass, even the Seinfeld slap bass).

I agree in principle that you can be creative and original with anything, but with the D-50 its like trying to make juice with used oranges.
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby Dave B » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:24 pm

In fairness, the D50 preceded the M1by quite a few months - Roland showed what could be built and others followed suite. Korg really just got the 'workstation' concept right - largely, I feel, by basing it on the existing Ensoniq ESQ1 (but adding a set of drum samples). The M1 is just as distinctive and difficult to program. At the time, I couldn't stand it - its presets stuck out to much. It wasn't until someone I know loaded a whole new set of sounds into his M1 that I relented and realised that, if pushed, it could actually sound quite good. But this was the era of preset madness...

I agree with Sam - old digital synths have a limited lifespan (I had Ensoniq kit that was unrepairable by the late 90s) so I like the idea that someone is measuring and modelling and keeping the sound available. I just feel that this is $50 plugin really.

I just wish Roland would sort out the plug out architecture properly and release some decent kit - you know ... a proper keybed .. aftertouch ... proper psu ... 61 keys ... all the things that we used to take for granted....
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby Blott » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:13 pm

Dave B wrote:I just wish Roland would sort out the plug out architecture properly and release some decent kit - you know ... a proper keybed .. aftertouch ... proper psu ... 61 keys ... all the things that we used to take for granted....

I hate to say it, but it's not going to happen. :(

Roland aren't interested in quality now or long term anymore, these days it's all about shifting quantity.

And their support is woeful - they've already abandoned the System 8 - no more dedicated 'plugouts' for that!!!!

Rehousing old sounds in cheap plastic boxes is I'm sure a much bigger revenue stream than a Jupiter 80 for example.

However sales of the Jupiter 80 are poor because of a seriously terrible UI, a total lack of knobs for such a powerful synth engine and terrible patch management & DAW integration.

Their lack of support for this high end product is shameful.
It's still a current product and was released 6 years ago, yet has seen just 1 update to it's Mac USB driver - in fact the latest officially supported Mac OS is Yosemite...that OS stopped shipping with Macs two years ago for crying out loud!
Apple have released THREE new operating systems since Yosemite was introduced!!!!

Similar for the Integra 7 too.

I know, as I've owned (and sold), both them. :(

It kills me to say it as I'm a fan and have owned dozens of Roland products over the years.

Up until the mid 90's or perhaps even up until 2000 they were heads and shoulders above Korg and Yamaha IMO.

Sadly though Roland have traded on their legacy for the last 25 years or so.

That's fine, but I'm not sure what they'll be trading on in a further 25 years time, as their legacy at that point won't be nearly as impressive.

I can't imagine anyone being desperate for Roland to re-launch the FA-06 in 2047 for example.

In fact can anyone tell me what Roland's flagship product is now?
For Yamaha it's the Montage, For Korg it's the Kronos, for Roland it's the....what exactly?

So they've taken shortcuts and though they are probably reaping short term success by rekindling the past in cheap plastic cases, they have all but lost their status as quality brand now IMO.

A shame, really is.

There would be no one happier than me if they go on to prove me wrong and release a load of killer kit over the next decade, but based on recent announcements that's looking unlikely. :(
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby R_A » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:34 am

Blott wrote:It kills me to say it as I'm a fan and have owned dozens of Roland products over the years.

I feel you Blott! But keep the faith - if one manufacturer is going to release an unexpected bonkers masterpiece it'll be Roland.

My hope is that the some of the influx of cash Roland gets from the Boutique range will get ploughed back into some new flagship instruments and in the short term, with a bit of luck, they might re-release the JD-XA in a nice new case!
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Re: Roland Boutique D50

Postby johnny h » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:31 pm

R_A wrote:
Blott wrote:It kills me to say it as I'm a fan and have owned dozens of Roland products over the years.

I feel you Blott! But keep the faith - if one manufacturer is going to release an unexpected bonkers masterpiece it'll be Roland.
You are joking?

The last time Roland was ahead of the curve was in 1987 with the release of the D50. In 1988 Korg released the M1, and Roland never got close to leading the pack again.

The desperate nostalgia thing is really pathetic. Year after year they release externally powered, uninspiring digital rehashes of their famous synths and drum machines. The one recent "analogue" synth they released was actually manufactured by Studio Electronics. I guess they sacked their analogue team back in the 80s.

Just to recap, in 1987 Rick Astley released "Never gonna give you up" and Everton won the first division.
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