It’s official, Roland have brought the D-50 Linear Synthesizer back to life in Boutique form. As predicted it’s called the Roland Boutique D-05 and will take us back to the late 1980’s with some fabulous hybrid synthesized and sample based sounds.
Roland Boutique D-05
The look is perfect. The blue writing, the joystick, the tiny screen and those buttons all conjure up memories of preset surfing and scratching your head trying to work out how to program the thing. I’m not sure that menu diving is really a legacy that needs to be celebrated. But in this form factor, there’s not much room the additional controls that were provided by the PG1000 hardware programmer. So, it will an authentic pain in the arse to program. I had a D-20 back in the day and spent many happy hours fiddling with the sounds. However, it was largely the presets that brought the appeal – it was so instantly usable and so familiar now.
It’s not exactly the same hardware as this is recreated using Roland’s Digital Circuit Behaviour technology (DCB), no doubt very similar to their ACB technology. Although they say this is combined with the “exact PCM attack and loop samples as the original”. I’m sure you’ll never tell the difference. It has all the original presets and is compatible with D-50 patches. It has a new 64 step polyphonic sequencer and arpeggiator. I haven’t seen any information on the multi-timbrality as yet but on the front panel it says “Upper” and “Lower” which I’m going to assume refers to the two layered nature of the D-50. This also makes sense if it supports D-50 patches.
More information on the Roland website.