D50 Waveforms

I’m interested in picking up an Ambika, and would like to learn more about the D50 waveforms that are included. I love the sound of the Roland D-50. Any information and/or demos would be greatly appreciated.

Some single cycle waveforms from D50 strings and choirs patches were used to make a few wavetables, but it’s anecdotal.

@pichenettes how do you mean it’s anecdotal? Do you mean they may have come from a D50, but you’re not sure?


I needed material to make wavetables, collected interesting bits from various sources and these sources happened to include recording of D50 patches. It’s not even a “D50 waveform” in the sense that it comes from the data ROM of the D50 - since it was probably from a recording of a patch.

The manual doesn’t say “D50 waveforms” but clearly states “waveforms extracted from D50 patches”.

So really, if you want the D50 sound, grab a D10/D20/D50 or their rack version. Ambika doesn’t emulate them - they are too different in terms of architecture (4 oscillators rather than 2, effects, longer samples than simple cycle waveforms…)

The D50 synthesis was really about the use of attack samples as the determining feature of a sound. The waveforms used for the sustain and tail are not really that unique. (ducks to avoid projectiles trown by D50 fanatics)

The best D50 is the D50 card for the V-Synth. Why? the interface is usable :slight_smile:

There was a programmer available for the D50. They come up 2nd-hand occasionally. Probably for silly money, mind you…


Actually, if you want an LA synth with a nice UI, the JD-800 is a pretty good option, if you have the space for one (they’re a substantial chunk of early 90s plastic goodness).


The D50 programmer PG1000 is ultra-expensive for what it does: MIDI sysex. You need to retrigger a note before any changes in the sound are heard. This is typical of the old synths where digital was a buzzword and the CPUs were underpowered. CCs, RPN and NRPN were almost unheard of in those days.

The same goes for old Ensoniqs, Oberheim Matrix 6/1000 and a whole heap of oldies.

You’re better off with an editor for a D50 than a programmer.

When Roland released the JD800/990 we arrived at the age of faster CPUs and real-time sound-sculpting again. Via Sysex on the JD800… You can pry the JD990 from my cold dead fingers.

I’m sure I’ve told the story of my brief JD-800 ownership several times on this forum. I do still miss it, sometimes, though I don’t have space for it now.


Yes, the programmer is an option but its fatal flaw is you need to keep retriggering notes.

The V-Synth has a graphical touch screen, a, vector XY pad and lots of knobs. It’s the ideal platform for anyone wanting D50 sounds. The D50 card is rare so you’re most likely to find it bundled with a synth.

Demo vid

Has anybody an idea of a good D50/20 editor?

Virtual PG-1000?

I have a Roland VariOS with the D-50 card and it is excellent but I also have a JD800 and a JD-990. The JDs sound very similar to the D-50 but are so much easier to program and the JD-990 can pan each of the 4 elements (mono elements stereo FX on JD800). But if you want the genuine D-50 sound then samples or the genuine article is the only real option (only because one or two patches sound slightly different on the VariOS even though SOS mag says otherwise). I will be releasing a sample set on http://www.defectivenation.co.uk sometime soon (about 7 or 8 DVDs 4 notes an octave).

HOWEVER I have a few variations of Shruthi and a collection of 4-poles + Midipal for poly duties BUT I will be ordering an Ambika very, very soon. Maybe with $ x SMR4 & 2 x 4pm (I do not have a Shruthi SMR4). I would advise anybody to take a serious look at both the Shruthi, Ambika and the Eurorack stuff. I missed out the other as I have no experience of it. The wavetables are superb and the filters, well I have a decent collection of Waldorf synths, a KAWAI K3m and an Ensoniq ESQm and yet I spend more time on the Shruthis - seriously. Being able to play stuff through the filters and loading your own wavetables is just great for me and extends the use considerably.

Comparing the D-50 with a wavetable synth is rather ridiculous, the usual apples and oranges applies here although some of the D-50 sounds can be replicated with a wavetable synth but NOT the distinctive well known patches used on so many hit records (and that guy Jean Michelle Jarre used nothing but preset D-50 sounds on at least one album - one day I might try creating them on an MI wavetable synth but not any time soon).

Although the original post was made in July I would advise milkbath to buy a cheap Shruthi and, if he likes it sell it and buy an Ambika if a poly synth is needed. I would advise anybody else who would struggle to save for an Ambika to do the same.

I am sure that one of those Behringer BCR2000 controllers could manage a D-50, I have one and use it on many of my synths BUT I would not gig with one and I would store it in its original box for safety as they are pretty flimsy but cheap :wink: