Released in 1988 along with the Roland D-50 and the rest of the D-Series, the D-110 was one of the first multitimbral sample-based synthesizers on the market. Its very similar to the Roland D-50 synthesizer (which was bi-timbral), although it is more closely related to the MT-32, a table-top unit primarily aimed at the home keyboard market. The D-110 features included 32 voices and 8-part multi-timbrality, dynamic voice allocation, voice reserve and multiple polyphonic outputs.
Capable of decent new synth-type sounds the D-110 is a cheaper alternative to the classic D-50. Unfortunately, it lacks the D-50's strengths (multiple onboard effects, parametric EQ and multiple-LFO modulation), The D-110 was a re-packaging of the technology employed in their D-50 however, the D-110 was probably never intended as a serious synth programmer's tool but more as a quick, convenient source of commonly used sounds.
Roland released the U-20 Keyboard and U-220 rack in 1989. They were RS-PCM synths (ReSynthesized Pulse Code Modulation) so its synthesizer functions are limited mostly to combining existing samples, although sound can be customized through editing its ADSR envelope and applying DSP effects. The U-20 features 6 part multitimbrality with a 7th drum part and 30 voice polyphony, plus 2 direct outputs and 2 stereo outputs. Also included was reverb, chorus and delay effects.
Editing the U-20 and U-220 is simple, but there are no filters. With several performance features, the U-20 has a five octave, 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch. There's an on-board arpeggiator, a chord-memory feature and the U-20 and U-220 accepts Roland SNU-110 sound library cards. Besides instrument waveforms/tones, the U-20 and U-220 also features drum samples. The editing options are few and limited to choosing tone, setting level, pitch, vibrato, and effects parameters - so the U-series is not the best option if you want a programmable synthesizer that you can edit and create your own sounds.
Our D-110, U-20 and U-220 patches are available as system exclusive or standard midi files. If your computer has a midi interface connected or sound card to the USB port, you can use your midi interface to load in the sounds. We provide the software along with your order that will load in the sounds for you. Midi interfaces are an inexpensive alternative to purchasing RAM or PCM cards and we sell them starting at under $100. We also provide the software that will let you load in the sounds via MIDI with your order. Our sounds will also get you back in business if your D-110, U-20 or U-220 battery has died and you lost all the sounds in the memory.
If your just getting into synthesizers and on a budget, a used D-110, U-20 or U-220 is worth looking into.