OF D50

"The Case of the Lost Soundbanks"
by Cult of D50 - 04.19.2016

Welcome to another edition of "The Digital Shrine". We're going to talk about an unresolved mistery today. But let's start by the beginning, by listening to the following track:

Nice uh? You just witnessed one of the greatest mysteries in the history of Roland D-50 sound design; The Mystery of Carl Johnson's Sound Banks.

They are two: "Descent into madness" and "Voltage Drift". It is said that both sound banks make the D-50 sound like never before. Bigger, deeper... amazingly alive. And they were on sale for a couple of months during 2014, until late October that year.

Then, they disappeared.

No one knows exactly what happened. Some sources say that Carl decided to take them down "for personal reasons". I personally tried to contact him, but he made a very good job erasing every trace of his magical work from the Internet (besides, the fact that he has the same name as a popular video-game character doesn't help).

During my investigations, I've asked about it on the Roland D50 Facebook Users Group and most of the people never heard of him nor his work, but someone wrote:

"I have read somewhere that he got pissed off because no one seemed to respect the hours spent making this, copying it freely. So he decided to pull it from the market."

I'm not so sure about that. If so, why is it impossible to find the sound banks? They should be on the pirate sites, don't you think? BitTorrent maybe? The forums? Nope. Not at all. Today, they just don't exist. And, men! I have made my homework! Its -impossible- to find "Voltage Drift" and "Descent into Madness" on the Internet (besides some e-Bay D550 auction that included one of these sound banks preloaded, but it ended quickly). The only trace left of Carl Johnson's amazing D50 sound design skills is an old record of him on Youtube:

To make things even more mysterious, I've found a blog post promoting "Voltage Drift", with a link to a track by "Laurie Laptop" as a demonstration of some of his best sounds. Well... guess what? Laurie Laptop's track also dissapeared.

Uhm... strange. I think I need Holmes...

You could be asking "why the obsession?" Well, as you may see on this website, I have very strong feelings about the D-50. It inspires me to make better music, to be a better artist. And if there's anything that can make my favorite instrument to shine even more, I want to have it. As you may want to have it too.

Other people said on the forum that taking it down was not a very wise business decision. It may be true, but I want to remark that this is more than "just business". This is about keeping an amazing technology alive and inspirational for many of us. It's not about business. It's about the music to come. Music that still needs to be revealed. It's not about business, It's about legacy. I think there's a lot of space in the world waiting to be filled with Carl sounds. And he deserves it.

So, now you know the mistery. And if we collaborate, maybe we can combine our efforts to reach him and convince him of re-releasing his amazing work. Carl: if you are reading this, please take this blog post as a manifestation of respect and admiration. I would personally not only pay for those sound banks, but also collaborate on promoting them on this website and every place I can.

I invite you to comment on this post, so if ever Carl reads this, he will know that the world still needs him. Thanks! :)

DEC 9 - 2016: UPDATE 1: Some very important news regarding this case! Yesterday, Alexander Vinokourov contacted me after reading this article, telling me that he got "Voltage Drift". And he sent it to me. This is the proof:

Carl Johnson Voltage Drift loaded on my D50

I have been playing with the sounds until 4AM last night, and let me tell you something: these are some very crazy patches. Not suitable for any kind of music, but still very interesting since they take the D50 to another level.

Ok, I know what you are thinking right now: share them! And I want to do it, I really want. Still, I think we should give some more time to Carl to show up and claim for his work before considering for public domain release. So, since today december 9, 2016 I will give 30 days of time to Carl to show up. If after 30 days, we still have no news from him, then I will upload Voltage Drift here for you guys.

FYI there is still one more bank missing, "Descent into madness", lets hope it will be found too...


1:1 Voltage Drift
1:2 OB-Xa Sequence
1:3 Orange Dream
1:4 CS-80 Brass-String
1:5 LFO Strings
1:6 Sequencer Chase
1:7 Prophet 5 Strings
1:8 Starlight
2:1 Steinerian
2:2 Obbie VCAs
2:3 Moog Lead-Bass
2:4 Got to be Oberheim
2:5 ELKA
2:6 MKS-80 Arpeggio
2:7 D-50 DNA
2:8 Xia Dynasty
3:1 Night Tones
3:2 Phased Motion
3:3 String me UP
3:4 Voltage Distort
3:5 Theremin
3:6 New Delhi Sitar
3:7 IF TD HAD A D-50
3:8 Oxygenetics
4:1 Berlin Modular
4:2 Synth DNA
4:3 Future Solina
4:4 Malfunction
4:5 D-50 Goes Big
4:6 D-50 eats ANALOG
4:7 Moog Bass Strings
4:8 ARP Odyssey
5:1 Analog Wash
5:2 Parisian
5:3 Trojan
5:4 Arise Sir Synth
5:5 Oscillating
5:6 CS-80 Brass-Seq
5:7 Light Square Wave
5:8 Spaced Out Keys
6:1 Disorted Mellotron
6:2 Dreamscape
6:3 Suspended
6:4 Eminent Strings
6:5 Little Bird
6:6 Flanger
6:7 70s Repeator
6:8 Sugar Synth 1
7:1 String Machine
7:2 Palace
7:3 Classic P5
7:4 Modulate Motion
7:5 Unstable
7:6 Delicate Pulse
7:7 On a Journey
8:1 Sugar Synth 2
8:2 Circuit Message
8:3 Stars to Dust
8:4 Transmission
8:5 Echoes
8:6 Barbieri Texture
8:7 Synthetics
8:8 D-50 CHOP

DEC 11 - 2016: UPDATE 2: Well, it seems that the case is solved as both banks have been found! Last night, an anonymous collaborator sent me "Descent into madness" to my email. Now we have recovered the two lost banks! Thanks to all who participated and contributed to this quest. I've been playing a couple of minutes with the patches and damn they are crazy! It includes many sci-fi/terror sounds... Ok, as I stated before, I will wait a couple of weeks before making them "public". Let's hope Carl shows up!


1:1 The Descent
1:2 Memory Returns
1:3 The Oval Mask
1:4 The Sleeper
1:5 Breaking Through
1:6 Bite the Hand that
1:7 The Devils Breath
1:8 Time to Reflect
2:1 Incantation
2:2 Sand Dune
2:3 The Calling
2:4 Sought After
2:5 Beast is Coming
2:6 Annabelles Dream
2:7 -----Oh No-----
2:8 Horror at No 22
3:1 Flight of the Mind
3:2 Its Behind Yooooou
3:3 The Last letter
3:4 Ill be Back
3:5 Sorry to Here
3:6 Unconnected
3:7 Is there no Escape
3:8 D U E L
4:1 WHAT was THAT
4:2 Flooding Back
4:3 Rainy Nights
4:4 a WARNING to YOU
4:5 The Hunger
4:6 She Worries Me
4:7 The Pain Begins
4:8 Hes on my Shoulder
5:1 Respite
5:2 They Talk 2 Decide
5:3 On a Bad Day
5:4 S U N R I S E
5:5 Wonder of it All
5:6 Keep to the Path
5:7 I saw an ANGEL
5:8 Send for HELP
6:1 Get the F--- Out
6:2 Long ROAD Back
6:3 Turn a New Page
6:4 IN T H E END
6:5 Shadow Play
6:6 Damaged Cells
6:7 Glimpse of Light
6:8 Careful they Hear
7:1 Too Much Info
7:2 A l c h e m y
7:3 Tortured Souls
7:4 Wheres the Hope
7:5 Passing of T i m e
7:6 Cant Communicate
7:7 In and Out of Life
7:8 Wheres the Hope 2
8:1 Taken to the Light
8:2 Cuts Like a Knife
8:3 Murky Waters
8:4 The Heart Decides
8:5 Logical Conclusion
8:6 Sound Of Waves
8:7 A Hollow Place
8:8 Into MaDneSs

JAN 21, 2016 - UPDATE 3: Sadly, Carl did not show up. I've been receiving lots of e-mails regarding this issue during the last weeks. Many of you asked me NOT to upload the missing banks to Cult of D50, and suggested that I should wait a little more time to respect Carl's decision... Ok, I have changed my mind (for now). Because if Carl wants to start selling the soundbanks again, I dont want to be the one who ruined his business. So, this will be the end of the topic for now here at Cult of D50. The missing banks have been recovered. They are safe. They have great patches that would be of great inspiration for many musicions. In the meantime, I will keep trying to contact Carl. Thanks for reading.

APR 3, 2017 - UPDATE 3: After almost one year of research, the lost soundbanks have been recovered and are now publicly available at the Downloads section.

Hello World!

After many years of surfing the web, digging deep down the sea of bits and bytes looking for information about the Roland D50, I've decided to create my own website and try to concentrate as much information as I can. So, here I am, writing the first blog post :)

This website is hosted at Neocities, a very nice Geocities-alike hosting service that aims to revive "the old creative web of the nineties", in times when all modern websites look almost the same (boring!). I'm very happy to be part of the Neocities community, and I invite you to browse some of the other websites of this place. Some of them are really nice trips to the funniest era of the world wide web!

Oh, let me introduce myself. My name is Facundo Arena, I´m producer of The Kyoto Connection project. We do sweet electrornic music mixed with japanese sounds. Over the latest ten years, TKC released six albums with more than a millon downloads world-wide! (they are all free to download, using Creative Commons licenses). If you listen to my music, you'll quickly discover that digital synths, and specially the Roland D50 are the core of our sound. Let me show you one of our latest releases!

My dream is to build a big community of Roland D50 fans. I know it'll take some time, but with your help, we can do it. Day after day lots of people turn on their D50/D550s to make music (check out the live pictures senction), so I think that this website could be a nice reference for all of them to discover all the potential of our favorite synth. I'll do my best to keep this place updated day after day, and if you want to join me on my adventure, you are welcomed!

Finally, I invite you to interact by leaving a comment on this blog, or by joining the forum.

Enjoy The Cult Of D50!