Billed as the next in line to the Roland "LA" synthesis crown, the D70 is an odd keyboard. It actually has more in common with the U-20/220 series ROMplers than with the D-50/550, which it was "kind-of meant" to replace. In fact, if you open it up, you''ll find the circuit boards are labelled "U50". Unfortunately, the D70 / U50 was rushed into production, to compete with the likes of the Korg M1 and T1/T2/T3ex series machines.
The D-70 has a sample playback engine married to D50 style TVF filters, together with on-board effects, and a percussion soundset. The filters are resonant, and add some much needed "welly". This is the D-70's redeeming feature, because the filters are actually pretty damn good. It's a shame that (to this reviewer's knowledge) it doesn't seem possible to filter the drum samples though.
Performance wise, the D70 has a good quality 76 note keyboard in a sleek housing, and given its size, it's remarkably light. It is equipped with a large LCD display, to the left of which are 4 assignable faders. There is a fifth controller fader, labelled "C1" just above the pitch bender, in between the volume and brightness (filter cutoff) faders. The faders can be assigned in real-time to the following parameters: Level, Pan, Tuning, Cutoff, Resonance, Attack, and Release, using the keypad to the left of fader 1. The four faders equate to the four tones that can be used to make up a patch, rather like the D50's "upper / lower partials" although the more tones you apply, the lower the polyphony. This gives the performer real-time tweakability for doing filter sweeps, changing the relative levels of tones (for drawbar-style effects), etc. As an added bonus, the faders send MIDI data
..."so we go to FON studios in Sheffield and have a mess about on their stuff. They've got a D70 there." The duo used a more recent FON acquisition, a Roland JD800, on the remix of `We Are Back'. "We're probably one of the first to use it on a dance record", observes Bell with a...
...SY77 RCM/AFM, Ensoniq Transwave, Ultraproteus Morphing Filters, etc etc. And I have them all, so I’d really like a D70. Please do tell me if you manage to come up with anything interesting using the DLM, as the examples I’ve heard sound kinda naff.
...digital age. The cityscape of Chicago I posted in B&W a bit back is one of them. Taken on a D70 with a crappy kit lens and no colors. No manipulation at all except for the yellow filter to pop the clouds, so nothing to distract from it but the composition itself. It is...
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