Roland D110

Roland's D110 was a very underrated little module. It's principal purpose was to provide users with a range of stock sounds that would just be generally useful in a wide range of different musical styles.

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.