We were all fooled into thinking that the FA-07 workstation was the second synthesizer release of the day. But no, Roland snuck out something far more interesting into the RolandCloud. It’s a lovingly modelled, plug-in version of the classic D-50 Linear Arithmetic Synthesizer.
Released in 1987 the Roland D-50 pushed synthesis firmly into the digital age. It defined the pop music of the late 80’s. Remember that electric piano sound so favoured by hit maestros Stock Aitken and Waterman? And for a good long while it killed off the more esoteric analogue sound. Its roots were all about the destruction of everything that’s considered cool these days – but at the same time it exploded the potential of digital sounds and became one of the best-selling keyboards in history. I had a D-20, it was awesome.
Well, now it’s back, and it’s not one of the “Anthology” series, this is a genuine recreation complete with a GUI to match. Using Digital Circuit Behaviour (DCB) technology they claim to have faithfully captured every detail of the original hardware. The interface has all the original controls – which means that there’s bugger all to play with as it was deeply menu driven – so they’ve also included the PG-1000 programmer to stop people remembering why we started hating digital synths.
Currently, the D-50 is only available as part of a Roland Cloud subscription. This is deeply annoying although the whole $20 a month thing is looking increasingly good value when you consider what’s on offer and that it continues to grow.
For more information head on over to the RolandCloud website.