My Roland D-05 Linear Synthesizer Review


About Roland

Co​​​​mpany Details

Roland Corporation is a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments.

Roland is known for keyboards and synthesizers, guitar products, electronic percussion, digital recording equipment, amplifiers, and audio processing devices.

Roland Website


My Initial Thoughts

Roland Boutique D-05 is a compact recreation of one of Roland’s most famous synthesizers – D-50.

The D-50 was possibly the best synthesizer when it came out in 1987.

It was Roland’s first ever digital synth.

This digital synthesizer was used by many, and this includes Eric Clapton, Enya and even Michael Jackson.

And Roland Boutique D-05 Linear Synthesizer captures the feeling D-50 gave almost perfectly.

With the new technologies previously seen in only a handful of other models, it was really something else. And now, there’s a reboot.

However, launching a reboot of a model as legendary as D-50 can be a risky affair.

After all, there is a legacy to preserve.

So, can this synthesizer live up to the hype?

Let’s take a closer look.

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Roland Sound Module (D-05)
11 Reviews
Roland Sound Module (D-05)
  • Perfect sonic recreation of the D-50 from the...
  • Digital Circuit Behavior (DCB) faithfully...
  • Authentic user interface including joystick...

Feel, Specifications, Dimensions, and Integrations

In its essence, the D-05 is a recreation of an older model.

However, Roland knew that they needed to balance the tradition with innovation with this model.

So they did.

The D-05 makes use of the new DCB technology (Digital Circuit Behavior) for the sound generator.

When it comes to samples, it uses the same loop and PCM the D-50 does and that made it so popular.

And I wasn’t kidding when I said this version is “compact”.

After all, it is 3 times smaller than its predecessor Roland D-50.

It is less than 12 inches wide and a bit over 5 inches deep. It even weighs only 2 pounds (with batteries).

And for a device that small this gem has a lot to offer.

Sound-wise there is basically no difference between the classic and the remake.

That might make you want to ask yourself: “Why buy it at all? Why not just buy a used D-50?”.

Well, this is not just a remake.

Advanced Features and Performance

The D-05 came with quite a bit of improvements.

Not only is it a lot more compact and easy to transport, but it also offers 16 notes of polyphony.

And that is regardless of partial count. It also packs the entire D-50 library in it, and more.

This little guy also functions as a MIDI interface for computer producing and performing and as a USB audio interface.

It also adds a polyphonic sequencer with 64 steps, and an arpeggiator that can add movement to the sound.

There is also an option to alternate between the classic mode and the new mode.

You can also clip the D-05 into the Keyboard Unit and get a synthesizer with 25 keys that are velocity-sensitive.


Pros & Cons of D-05

Benefits

Easy to transport

Captures the nostalgic sound of D-50

The “new mode” that offers a cleaner sound

Drawbacks

Lacks sliders

Original PCM only

Keys bought separately


My Final Thoughts

This one is definitely a “Yes!” when it comes to making a decision.

At least if you are a fan of D-50 but do not have the room for a full-sized synth.

The Roland Boutique D-05 Linear Synthesizer offers everything D-50 does, and more.

It is stylish, compact and it was a challenge to find any flaws in this model.

Of course, if you don’t like the D-50 you won’t make a mistake if you pass on this one too. 


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