Roland D-50


The Roland D-50 is a digital synthesizer used by Prince in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was acquired by Prince in 1987 and went on to become the main keyboard on Lovesexy and Batman. Songs that feature sounds from the D-50 include Eye No (Soundtrack), Alphabet Street (Steel Pick), Glam Slam (Arco Strings, Jete Strings), Positivity (Syn Marimba, DigitalNativeDance, Soundtrack), The Future (Gamelan Bell), Scandalous (Oriental Bell, Jete Strings, Arco Strings). It was still Prince's main studio keyboard on the Love Symbol album.

The D-50 was also used live by Dr Fink, Boni Boyer and Rosie Gaines. Dr Fink also used a Roland D-550, which is a rack version of the D-50. He layered the two units to create a bigger sound.

Song Part Patch Name Patch Number
Eye No (0:00, Intro) Soundtrack A-37
Alphabet Street (4:39, Solo) Steel Pick A-82
Alphabet Street (4:57, Pad) Future Pad A-87
Alphabet Street (5:10, Outro) Rock Organ A-58
Glam Slam (0:06, Verse) Arco Strings A-14
Glam Slam (4:18, Outro) Jete Strings A-54
Anna Stesia (0:43, Bassline) Stereo Polysynth A-55
Anna Stesia (1:49, Fill) Metal Harp A-12
Anna Stesia (2:17, Arpeggios) Breathy Chiffer A-31
Anna Stesia (3:00, Lead Synth) Flute-Piano Duo A-23
Anna Stesia (3:08, Strings) Jete Strings A-54
Lovesexy (0:09, Intro) Pizzagogo A-44
Lovesexy (0:20, Main Riff) Horn Section A-15
Lovesexy (0:40, Bassline) Slap Brass A-33
Positivity (0:10, Riff) Syn Marimba A-72
Positivity (6:30, Ascending Riff) DigitalNativeDance A-21
Positivity (6:40, Outro) Soundtrack A-37
The Future (0:09, Intro) Gamelan Bell A-32
Arms Of Orion (0:00, Intro) Synthetic Electric A-28
Arms Of Orion (1:19, Second Verse) Digital Cello A-76
Arms Of Orion (4:08, Outro) Arco Strings A-14
Vicki Waiting (0:09, Intro) Slow Rotor A-18
Vicki Waiting (0:18, Intro) Picked Guitar Duo A-68
Vicki Waiting (0:18, Intro) Nylon Atmosphere A-27
Lemon Crush (0:18, Intro) Syn Marimba A-72
Scandalous (0:00, Intro) Oriental Bells A-62
Scandalous (0:05, Intro) Jete Strings A-54
Scandalous (0:07, Intro) Arco Strings A-14
Scandalous (2:03, Verse 2) Metal Harp A-12
It's pretty much the same keyboard setup Prince records with, but I'll try to enhance the sounds. Instead of having one D-50 per patch, I’ll stack another one on there to fatten it up. I have three [Roland] D-550s in my rack, and a couple of Emax IIs; I'll do all kinds of different things with them.
He still uses a lot of Fairlight samples that he created. I know that for the Batman album and for Graffiti Bridge, he pretty much used a [Roland] D-50 and the old Emax 12-bit CD-ROM library for a lot of sounds.