Roland D50 Microtrack No. 1

As part of my One Synthesizer Sound Every Day project I am producing a series of microtracks inspired by the textures of factory presets or custom patches, found or discovered within a variety of electronic instruments. Today I’m presenting the first of these microtracks that I produced using my Roland D-50. I have had this synth since it was new. Yes, the one with the custom, spray painted, yellow stripes on it. Back then I had to have my father co-sign a loan for me to afford it. Although it was impossible to sample with it, the D-50 had a huge variety of sounds possible at the time using the built in 8-bit PCM sample library combined with Linear Arithmatic Synthesis or LAS.

I lost interest in the D-50 to analog, sampling, and modeling instruments for almost a decade, rarely bringing it out to use as a controller, or for an FX patch here and there. After seeing Roy Ayers keyboard player using one recently, I’m rediscovering the instrument as well as enjoying the nostalgia of hearing it again. One thing I don’t miss about it is how time consuming it is to program your own patches. Without the PG-1000 (BTW: I’m looking for one of these) it is a very tedious process, although it does have a joystick to modify selected values.

Fortunately the wealth of presets available for the D-50 still makes it a desirable instrument. To create this track I used the “Clock Factory” preset to produce a percussive loop. I can’t claim this composition as my own, since I’m simply playing a key and using aftertouch to alter the pitch, but it’s fun to appreciate the evolving patches that the Roland engineers managed to come up with.

Clock Factory

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