The Roland D110 is the 1-U rack version of the popular D-10 and, therefore, has to be connected to a MIDI keyboard or computer to be used. The D-110 was a very popular module at the time it came out because it was multi-timbral and, therefore, can produce multiple sounds (patches) simultaneously.
The D110 is based on L.A. (Linear Arithmetic) synthesis employed in 1987 in the classic D-50, although the synthesis structure is not as complete and versatile as its big brother. The D110 is more more similar to the D-10, D-5 and D-20, and even has a front slot for a memory card, like those keyboards also had.
Image: Front of Roland D110.
Image: back of Roland D110 with Midi connections, stereo outs, and 6 assignable mono outputs.
Image: the D110 was one of my first synthesizers. Here it is on top of my white Crumar Bit99 connected through Midi. On top on the D110 I had the small 4-channel Boss BX-4 stereo mixer and a analog tape recorder for making recordings of this gig in ‘De Witte Zwaan'(11 september 1992) in Berlicum, the Netherlands.
Image: currently I have the Roland D110 in my 19-inch rack. Here you see it below the Roland A800 Midi patcher. This setup allows me to connect to D110 to any of my other synthesizers, Hammond XK5, or computer.
LA synthesis combines traditional subtractive synthesis with PCM-based samples. The term “linear arithmetic” refers to synthesis that is all digital (linear) and a summing (arithmetic) of sounds. Roland did not use the term additive, as additive synthesis already refers to a different synthesis method.
One of the more complex parts of a sound to program is the attack transient, so Roland added a suite of sampled attack transients to subtractive synthesis. As well as the attack transients, Roland added a suite of single-cycle sampled waveforms that could be continuously looped. Sounds could now have three components: An attack, a body made from a subtractive synth sound (saw or pulse wave through a filter) and an “embellishment” of one of many looped samples. (The looped samples also contained a collection of totally synthetic waves derived from additive synthesis, as well as sequences of inharmonic wave cycles. Thus, LA synthesis offered the realistic sounds of a sampler with the control and creativity of a synthesizer.)
The PCM waveforms could be modified with a pitch envelope and a time-variant amplifier. Waveforms from the sound wave generators could be further modified with time-variant filters for cutoff frequency and resonance. These modified waveforms were called “partials”.
Two partials grouped together created a tone. Tones could be modified using up to three low-frequency oscillators, a pitch envelope, a programmable equalizer, and on-board effects such as reverberation and chorus. Two tones grouped together created a patch.
How does it sound?
The sounds on the D-110 are typical L.A. synthesis, and there are a lot of those “usual suspects” heard in other instruments that belong to this line.