My First Synth
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My First Synth

In 1987 Roland introduced the D050. To capitalize on the success they then released the D-10, D-20, U-110, U-20, and D-70. Each were slightly different but similar.

What I purchased in 1989 was the U-20. For a sequencer I purchased an Atari ST running C-LAB NOTATOR.

On the plus side

  • The pad sounds. Fantasia sold this synth.
  • Built in 6 part sequencer

Less than great

  • The manual. What a mess. It was so bad that when your read about the synthesizer today, you STILL hear people mentioning how bad the manual was.
  • Programming. Sliders? Nobs? What are those. What you want are dozens sub menus to scroll through. This was not a good synth for people that wanted to create new sounds easily.
  • The piano sound. Let's ignore this ever existed.

The Roland U-20

Company Model Price in 1989 Parts Poly Keys Analog/Digital/PCM
Roland U-20 $1800 6+1 30 61 Keys PCM

The Atari ST

(Sequencing and notation system software) by E-Magic
C-LAB was created by E-Magic, which was purchased by Apple, who later discontinued in favor of Steinberg and Cubase.