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Roland D20 User Manual !!TOP!!

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Roland D20 User Manual

You can get more sounds either by purchasing disks made specifically for the D-20 or you can get MIDI (.mid) or Sysex (.syx) files to send to your keyboard from your computer via MIDI. You can get a copy of the owners manual here. See chapter 5 of the owners manual volume 2 for instructions on how to transfer/receive data via MIDI.

THESE DAYS IT seems that an instrument's packaging is almost as important as its sound. Providing a flavour to suit every taste is sound business sense.Take Roland's latest instruments to use the L/A synthesis introduced on the D50: the D110, D10 and D20. All three instruments are essentially the same but presented in different guises to suit different requirements.The D110 (reviewed last month) is an expander intended to offer all the things musicians and studios found wanting on the company's multi-timbral MT32 L/A expander - 19" rack-mounting format, front-panel programmability, battery backup of user sounds, and individual audio outs. If you already have your full quota of keyboards, the D110 could be just what you're looking for.The D10, on the other hand, is intended for keyboard players who use external sequencing, while the D20 is the same instrument but for the addition of an onboard sequencer and disk drive - the all-in-one approach for the musician who doesn't have an external sequencer. Like I said: a flavour to suit every taste.

ROLAND DESCRIBE THE D20 as a "Multi Timbral Linear Synthesiser Multi Track Sequencer": dedicated followers of instrument fashion will probably prefer to call it a music workstation. This one has a 61-note keyboard which is sensitive to attack velocity but not aftertouch (nor can the D20's sounds respond to aftertouch). The synth is multi-timbral and has an onboard digital drum machine, an onboard digital reverb, an onboard sequencer and an onboard disk drive. Notice the onboard bit: we're talking living in a box, here. But is this integrated approach really able to provide, in one instrument, all the music-making power that today's musicians require?Essentially you can use the D20 in any one of three modes: Synth, Rhythm and Sequencer, each accessible from a dedicated front-panel button. Each of these modes can also be set to either of two configurations: Performance or Multi Timbral. The former allows you to play a Patch (which consists of one or two Tones, organised in whole, split or dual modes) on the keyboard while the latter gives you access to eight independent Timbres (each consisting of a single Tone) which can be played multi-timbrally from an external MIDI device or internally using the onboard sequencer. The D20 provides you with 128 Preset and 64 Programmable Tones (of course you can edit the Presets and store the results in the Programmable memories).For those of you who are a little rusty on your Linear Arithmetic synthesis (which, incidentally, is an all-digital system), a Tone consists of from 1-4 partials, each partial being either a synth waveform (sawtooth or square) or any one of 256 PCM samples. Each pair of partials (1&2 and 3&4) an be assigned a Structure which, essentially, determines what combination of synth and PCM partials to use; at this stage you can introduce ring modulation of the partials.A PCM partial can have its pitch modified by a single LFO and a pitch envelope, while its TVA (Time Variant Amplifier) level an be modified by an amplitude envelope. To this configuration a synth partial adds a TVF (Time Variant Filter) section with cutoff frequency modifiable by resonance and filter envelope, and pulse-width modulation of the square wave. D50 owners will notice that this is a slightly simplified version of the D50's Tone architecture. (For a fuller explanation of L/A synthesis, refer to the D50 review in MT May and June '87.) Incidentally, while the D20's front-panel access to editing isn't too labour-intensive, you might still like to check out yet another of Roland's plug-in programmers - in this case the PG10, which is compatible with the D110, D10 and D20.The D20's Rhythm mode gives you access to 32 preset and 32 programmable one-bar rhythm patterns. You can select these in real-time in any order, record the programmable patterns, and play on top of these patterns using either the D20's 63 onboard PCM percussion samples (known as Preset Rhythm Tones), the currently-selected synth Patch (in Performance mode) or any of eight Timbres (in Multi Timbral mode). Up to eight Tones an be sounded simultaneously in each rhythm pattern, while a maximum of 96 notes can be recorded per pattern.The onboard sequencer has nine tracks and an store approximately 16,000 notes (pre controllers). Tracks 1-7 an play a single Tone, track eight an be either a synth or a rhythm track, while track nine is a dedicated rhythm track. Incidentally, the D10 has the dedicated rhythm track as well as, of course, the 64 rhythm patterns.The maximum length of a sequence is 500 bars, though by selecting a time signature of 8/4 you can effectively record up to 1000 4/4 bars (assuming you don't use up all the memory first).But multi-timbral capability is ultimately at the mercy of an instrument's polyphony. The D20 can play up to 32 partials simultaneously, its actual polyphony depending on how many partials are assigned to each Patch or Timbre that it's playing. For instance, if you're playing a one-partial sound you've got 32-voice polyphony, but if you're playing a four-partial sound that figure is reduced to eight voices. When you're in Multi Timbral mode and using Timbres with varying numbers of partials, the actual polyphony is free-floating. It's worth bearing in mind that each sounding Preset Rhythm Tone counts as one partial, while of course the Programmable Tones in the Rhythm Setup can be from 1-4 partials.With the MT32, Roland introduced a feature known as "partial reserve", which allowed you to reserve voices for a specific musical part in a multi-timbral context. The D110 has this very sensible feature, and according to the D20's SysEx memory map it has the feature too - but there's absolutely no way of accessing it from the synth's front panel. Why oh why, Roland?The onboard disk-drive (atop which you'll find the latest fashion accessory: a moulded disk tray) takes 3.5" DSDD floppies and can store approximately 35,000 notes. There are four file types: Song, Sound, Rhythm and All (the latter saving the complete data of the D20). You can, of course, format disks onboard the D20 (this takes a lengthy 150 seconds), and update and delete files. At one point in the manual there appears the sentence "It takes quite a long time for data to be saved". I think I'd second that.Using an M256D RAM card you can save 128 Patches, 128 Timbres, 64 Programmable Tones, 32 Rhythm patterns, one Rhythm track and one Rhythm Setup (see later). Additionally you can transfer complete sound and rhythm data (but not sequence data) via MIDI SysEx.THE D20 COMES with a healthy number and variety of sounds. Between the Patches and the Timbres you've got 256 sounds, though remember that these are drawing on 192 Tones, each of which are made up of a combination of synth and PCM sounds.The D20 has 256 PCM samples divided into rhythm, attack, sustained, decay and effect categories. The rhythm samples (which for some reason are included twice, the second grouping not being affected by master tuning) are not the same as the Preset Rhythm Tones.The attack samples concentrate on providing the attack envelope segments of all manner of instruments. These are the reason why everyone got so excited about L/A synthesis in the first place: the fact that you could combine synthesised sounds with the realism of actual instrument attack samples (always the most difficult stage to recreate, but precisely the one which gives a sound so much of its character).The sustained samples are looped sustain segments, again covering a variety of instruments such as organ, sax, trumpet, trombone, electric piano, female voice and harpsichord - an attempt, methinks, to edge into Kawai K1 territory. The decay samples, which are labelled 'shot 1-16', are basically noise samples, while the effect sounds are loops of individual or grouped samples. Altogether these samples provide a wide range of sounds to be mixed with one another, mixed with synth waveforms or used by themselves.The type of sounds that come with the D20 will be familiar enough to anyone who's ever used an L/A instrument There are plenty of delicate, shimmering bell-like sounds, a variety of tuned and ethnic percussion sounds, breathy choirs and flutes, bass sounds which can be fat and raspy, rich and warm or bright and sharp, warm phased electric piano sounds which'll melt you in seconds, harsh and metallic electric pianos, bright and punchy synth brass, the usual excellent range of organ sounds (church, Leslie, Hammond and shades in between)... I could go on. But it's also true that not everything in the L/A garden is rosy. Overall I'd say that solo strings and brass are not the D20's strong point, the strings in particular often sound thin and electronic. And, on the whole, the ensemble string sounds don't quite seem to cut it, either. But maybe these are just my own preferences.Still, it's worth bearing in mind that, despite the sample snatches, the D20 is ultimately a synthesiser whereas, to my mind, Korg's recent M1 synth manages a much more successful hybrid of sampled and synthesised sounds - and also, to my mind, manages much fuller synth textures, though not necessarily warmer ones (I think perhaps the D20 wins out here).One point worth making is that the D20's L/A sounds work well together in a multi-timbral environment. The quickest way to hear this is to listen to the inbuilt ROM sequences, which have been specifically designed to show off the synth in a variety of musical styles (you've just got to listen to number eight, 'Dinner Set'). 041b061a72


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