Looking for Roland D-50 equivalents

Hi everyone, I have a vintage Roland D-50 hardware synth that I’m trying to retire. I signed up for Roland’s cloud service to get access to their soft synth version of the D-50, but I noticed that at least one classic patch, “Staccato Heaven,” isn’t as good as the original – it’s missing the percussive attack in the upper registers. My question to the Forum: can anyone point me toward a similar patch within the Arturia lineup of software synths? Many thanks. –Mark

Hi @markcareaga and welcome to The Sound Explorers Forum!

I’d probably take a look into Pigments if you don’t already have it.
Not to say there’s an exact copy in there, rather it’s an unbelievably powerful synth which is the lost likely to be able to do that for you.
I actually bought a Roland D-05 a couple of years back for similar reasons, most of the patches are bang on, the infamous ‘Digital Native Dance’ is rather disappointing though.



I have the D50 (cloud) but dont use it much as I prefer the JD800. I had a look at the patch and you could try decreasing the value of T2 on the TVA ENV for the Lower Partial 1 which makes the attack sound. This makes it a little “clicker”. You could also try adjusting the Part Balance and/or the Low and High EQ gains to emphasise the attack.

I know we are way off Aturia territory here but these changes may give you what you are looking without the need to recreate the entire sound in another synth.

Good luck.
PS. The D50 sounds great and maybe I should use it more often :slight_smile:


Hi, @matjones. Thank you for the warm welcome, great to be here. I purchased the V Collection last year when it went on sale for 50% off, so I do have Pigments – will definitely check that out. Thanks for the tip. That’s cool you got a D-05. I didn’t know about that piece of hardware until now. Interesting that Roland’s soft synths are falling short of the mark on more than one patch. Kinda hoping Arturia will do a remake of the D-50 at some point.


Hi, @Funtmaster. Thank you for taking the time to reply. I haven’t gotten under the hood and edited D-50 patch settings since the late 1980s (and it was a pain using the D-50’s interface), but I’ll give that a try. Thanks for the tip.

I keep hoping one of the V Collections will suddenly magic me an Arturia D50V because I absolutely do not want to subscribe to Roland’s ‘perpetual payment’ model to access a D50. Sadly it never happens. They probably can’t get the rights to licence it from Roland because it would be a direct competitor to Roland’s own cloud D50.

The days when you just literally bought something ONCE and it was yours forever (music, films, hardware, apps, computer games, literally everything) and you had no fear of it being obsoleted or deleted without trace…that was when we peaked as a species and we didn’t even know it.


Hi @Jon_Vincent. I hear you about subscriptions, especially when they fail to deliver any meaningful value over time (like Adobe Creative Suite). With Roland Cloud, however, you can purchase a soft D50 for something like USD 150 and not have to subscribe, just have to maintain a Roland Cloud account. The major downside, for me at least, is Arturia won’t support third party .vst or .au within Analog Lab, so I’m forced to use Apple’s MainStage. Not a huge issue, but I haven’t gotten as much functionality out of my KeyLab 61 mkII (at least not yet … still relatively new to DAWs, etc.). On a somewhat related note, you might enjoy reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, if you haven’t already.

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You can buy a lifetime key and not subscribe.

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Yep it’s a horrible machine to tweak for sure, there are plenty of editors around these days though.
I use this one, it’s free too! https://d50librarian391566194.wordpress.com/downloads/


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Thanks @matjones – I’m a Mac user (looks like the one you sent is Windows only), but I’ll do some looking around.

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Yep, exactly @Funtmaster. I forgot that it comes with 6 patch collections, which was a nice surprise.

There are plenty around surprisingly, a quick web search for D-50 Editor kicks up a whole load of results.

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Have you tried the UVI “Digital Synsations”? It has a (sort of) representation of the D-50 -
of course, it is not “spot on”, but it does indeed have some very good approximations, IMHO…and better than the ones that were touted in the “Synth Anthology” series…again, IMHO.
There was some guys out there that had sampled all the original patches- but I cannot remember what the name of the company was…

I got UVI DS for free a few years back now and i used to own an M1, i can honestly say their ‘M1’ is absolutely nothing like the real thing, that’s not being harsh, just honest.
Even Korg’s own M1 plugin isn’t a spot on reproduction of the hardware, the ‘Flexatone’ preset is clearly based on the original sample but other than that it’s way off the hardware surprisingly.

Same here. Been hoping for an Arturia take on the D-50. Was even expecting V Collection X to feature such a digital synth. There’s something about these sounds which is hard to describe.
To my ear, that includes a range of products from the M1 to the XV-2020. The SQ-80 also has some of that.

Unlikely to happen with the D-50 specifically since Roland is actively defending its IP, in that case.

Which is why this free Reaktor ensemble is interesting.

In the end, I find satisfaction in other synths which produce similar sounds, including some which avoid direct references to vintage synths. In this category, AudioKit Pro’s King of Digital figures among my favourites. I already enjoyed Digital D1 for D-50ism. KoD is much more stable. (And, with a quick fix, can run on macOS.)

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Hello @matjones and @Eddo – thanks for the tips!

And hi @Enkerli, thanks for your thoughtful reply and pointing me / us toward the Reaktor G-50, sounds promising. That said, I appreciate your perspective about exploring other synths with similar sounds. Since I have the Arturia V collection, I have a lot of great soft synths to play with (except, alas! Pigments, which I may break down and buy, especially if I spot it on sale). As I start working toward another reunion with my old bandmates, I’m dusting off some of our originals from the late 80s and trying them out with different sounds, rather than try to recreate patches I made on my Alpha Juno 2 (which I still have). I forgot how fun synth programming can be.


You’ll likely enjoy Pigments and it does come on sale, especially for those who already have Arturia softsynths.
In some ways, you might be able to recreate a number of sounds which will bring you that vibe. It might require a bit of work… though it’s a fun learning experience.

Also, don’t forget that there are several soundpacks for Pigments. I’d say that some of them are worth it (based on a discussion we’ve had in another thread).

Synth programming is indeed a lot of fun when you open your ears to possibilities.

There is also a great free VST emulation of the Kawai K1, which used a similar style of synthesis as the D-50.


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A band i was in MANY years ago had a K1M, we used to call it ‘the poor man’s D-50’ back then :rofl:
It wasn’t a bad machine for the time or the money though.

The K1-II was the first big synth I ever owned! It’s still there, hiding in the non-functional gear closet. :smiley:

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