Synth Site: Roland: U-20 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.7 out of 5
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Leon Hughes a professional user from UK writes:
Why is everyone saying the acoustic piano is good? It's crap even compared to my MU100R. The electric piano sounds though are very good. The synth is also excellent as a master controller. I especially like the fact you can assign any control change to both the two sliders on the pannel and the foot controller. Why is everyone complaining about the operating system? I know this synth inside out and it's one of the easiest to use. All very straight forward. The synth is around 14 years old now but I would never sell mine! The only problem I have encountered is with the crap quality buttons on the front pannel... but then load of Rolan gear has these.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Apr-17-2002 at 22:58
Jer a hobbyist user from Canada writes:
Just got a U-20 about a month ago for $250 CDN... then i found it still going for around $400 CDN everywhere else -- minimum. First keyboard since DX-27.

I needed it solely as a controller for my computer... what a freaking deal!

A basic, programmamber controller was selling for about $300 -- so this baby was certainly a great deal because it is a synth too! It has some great features and is still much better (IMHO) tha pure controllers in the same price range.

Very impressed with the sounds... keys are weak, so I have to get three new ones, but otherwise the machine has been completely serviced and is in great shape.

Took it apart, had to realod the factory (or someone else's version of the factory) data back in, but other than that I am impressed.

If people think the interface is confusing, try reading the manual! You'd think if they were going to make a setup that complex that they'd write a VERY DETAILED manual. You can get by if you red it a couple of times, and practice, practice, practice.. programming that is :)

(I also own a DR-550, the manual is much better for that one).

Just get one... you won't regret it. :)

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Sunday-Nov-11-2001 at 11:02
Bruce S a professional user from United States writes:
The U20 is limited in sample memory and had some very interesting cards that contained about 1mb of samples. The U20 could take 2 cards and honestly, they were quite good, great saxes, very expressive. Almost all of these card sounds found their way into the XP 50 or better synths and various JV expansion boards. The internal sample set was well thought out and useful. As a performance synth the U20 is still good. For sequencing...well, you can do some interesting things with it but even when it first came out it was pretty limited.

The pianos on this synth are worth the cost. It is not a very programmable unit but makes up for that deficiency by offering a good set of samples and high quality keyboard and overall build.

Expensive in it's day but also somewhat reasonable performance for price and could be used in almost any kind of music...and that is still true.

Roland dropped the ball on the JV and XP series by not using the U20's piano samples. All the XP samples, and I'm not slagging the XP's but compared to the U20 many of the same samples sound compressed.

Cool tool as long as you don't intend on programming it or using it as your main sequencing keyboard.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jun-19-2001 at 07:38
Elias Zois a hobbyist user from Greece writes:
I bought my U20 on 1992 and I still use it on studio and live shows. I repaired it three times, because of the dust that was getting on the operational buttons, specially the cursors. The keys still operate great. I have most of the ROM cards and one RAM card. I am looking for the ORGAN card here in Greece but I can't find it. If someone has it and want's to get rid of it, just let me know.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-25-2000 at 20:37
Steve Raymar from USA writes:
I must be a lucky so and so. I bought my U20 back in '92 new with the manual for about $900(on sale) and the battery still works, all the keys still work and I've cleaned a mountain of dust off of it. I like all the sounds in it except for the drum sounds. If you want some wierd sounds try detuning the drums! Play them with cross delay and use the pitch bend generously. If you want more voices try programming a drum set with a bass in it. If you want filters you can run analog sounds through the direct out into a wah-wah, auto wah and distortion pedals. There's a great U20 page at that also offers a fantastic editor that includes a drum mapper. If you need more analog there's always the virtual analog synth VAZ plus at: for about $40 that will give you the history of analog. Also the Random pitch waves in the LFO can give you some interesting effects. Open this thing up!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Sunday-Aug-27-2000 at 06:00
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