Synth Site: Roland: U-20 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.7 out of 5
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Tony Evans a professional user from USA writes:
Really nice sounds but a clumsy interface and even clumsier sound architecture.

Very limited programming options - no filter, coarse envelope adjustment.

Dense chords tend to cause note lag, but that's not so noticeable if it's used as a MIDI module.

Built-in effects are fairly good.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:13
Raoul a hobbyist user from The Netherlands writes:
I got mine second hand abouthalf a year ago. My rating is 3 out of five as a synth, which it isn't, like the text on the thing according to Roland: PCM- keyboard. So what more would you expect? As such, I really like it. The keyboard has great feel and there are enough keys on it for my cat and me to play simultaneously. Most sound are rubbish, and take my advice: skip all factory presets, especially the useless timbres like "native" and the like. They're so simple you can always reprogram them yourself and probably to a better job on them. Multi timbrality of six voices makes 31 notes of polyphony indispensable. It has a mind of its own; every now and then it gets tired and the decides to play only half of the programmed timbres. If the poor sound quality for lead synths didn't discourage you to use it on stage, this maybe will. The thing is great though using it in a mix, which is why I am still content with it; it's just precisely right as background sound and solo's on piano sound well enough, too. No weird sounds from this baby; it's just too nice for that. So, compared to a Korg Z1 or something, well... But I got some nice sounds of the stranger kind out of it. You should check this out: Take acc. piano 2 and bring the pithc down all the way; then lower the attack to your own liking. Combine this sound with a "heavy electric guitar" of which the pitch is turned down as well and the sustain lowered. You should turn the pan somewhat out of the middle for both sounds, one left, one right. Adjust the amp settings at will, but do not use the lfo. You now have a basic bitimbal patch that can be used with various kind of sounds so that in the en you use a tri-timbral sound. Using more timbres in one patch would be unwise because sounds will drop out. good luck, and if you're rich: get yaself a z-1 or trinity.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:13
Joseph A. Russo a hobbyist user from Canada writes:
I bought the U20 about 3 years ago and it has been ok. Luckly it came with a manual

or else i would be screwed. But after hours and hours of editing and saving it becomes

simple. The sounds are ok, the piano sounds are amazing, the strings could be

better, and the rest of the sounds are ok too. They can be edited to what ever liking.

It only has 6 parts for midi channels and only 30 voice reserve. The voice reserve has

been the only problem though. I have the latin and FX Percussions, orchestral strings,

and pipe organ and harpsichord PCM cards, they do just well. (good violin/cello sample).

If you find one used for $400 or less don't hesistate, get one.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:13
John a part time user from New York, USA writes:
I bought my U20 in the early 90s. At the time it was a great alternative to the M1. As many users have said, it's acoustic piano sound is one of the best going. Otherwise, I don't use it for much anymore. Let it be know that I have also had problems with the keys.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:13
Christian J. Schoenewald a part time user from Washington, DC. United States writes:
I bought my U-20 in May of 1991. I have had other synths from Kawai, and Korg, none of them came close to the natural souds of the U-20. It does not allow you to play the great leads you can find with units like the JP-8000, but for background and piano leads at is perfect. In the many years that I have had my synth I have never had a problem with the keys, and I have moved with it at least seven times. I lived in South Dakota for three years, it gets very dusty there in the spring and summer, and I never had a problem. I also have not found the programming to be that bad, maybe since I basically started out with the U-20 I just did not know any other way. I currently own four of the PCM cards, without them the unit does have more limits. I am looking for more cards, if anyone knows where I can find them please contact me with information. The only problem I have with it is the inter-face. I do not like the back lighted LCD display. The U-20 makes for a great synth by itself, but it is able to shine when you add something like a JP-8000 to it in your setup.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:13
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