Although this concept was
to be taken up by Emu in their various flavours of Proteus (or should
that be Proteii?!), the D110 pre-dated them by a year or more.
Offering 32-voice polyphony and 8-part multi-timbrality,
you could buy cards for the D110 to expand the on-board sounds.
Typically, these were 'orchestral', 'brass', 'woodwind', etc., making
it a versatile source of 'bread and butter' sounds for any number
of musical applications. However, the cost of memory at the time
was high and so the cards (and on-board memory) only had limited
storage. As a result, the samples were short and compromised. That
said, in the right hands, the D110 could sound surprisingly good,
especially at the time (1988). I remember hearing a demo of one
on the Roland stand at a trade show when it was released and it
was very impressive (but then, most Roland demos are!).
Of course, in true Roland fashion, it was a re-packaging
of the technology employed in their D-series and also in true Roland
fashion, it was a bit of a bugger to use with its small LCD and
cramped front panel. In Roland's defence, however, the D110 was
probably never intended as a serious synth programmer's tool but
more as a quick, convenient source of commonly required sounds.
The D110 had some decent sounds and I have one of them
here that has been donated by my good friend from Oz, Dean Morris.
Dean says of this bass sound:
"Slide Bass is one of the presets in the old
D110 module. It is also my 'desert island' bass sound. It's a wonderful
warm bass sound that sounds to me like a cross between a sine synth
bass and a fretless. It takes up lots of space in the bottom of
a mix without sounding muddy, and with a little chorus it's magic."
I agree - this is a really solid, full and all-purpose
bass sound that can be used (and re-used) in almost any musical
genre from rapid sequencing to languid fretless phrasing. However
it's used, it will add weight to almost any track and once again,
I am very grateful to Dean for this contribution.