Roland D550 Acting Strange

Hey all,

I need some troubleshooting help. I picked up a Roland D550, not only is it so awesome to have, it’s my only true vintage synth. So I have lil experience with such a unit. This morn, it powered on. It’s being triggered via a SH-201 and its stereo outputs from the D550 are going into a Yamaha mixer out to a Boss Katana. Yes, I know I need a keyboard amp for a monitor but I have little money. Lol

After learning the intro to “Man In The Mirror”, I walked away from the gear for about 20 mins. When I went back to play the D550, there was no sound. I experienced this once before with it, and assumed it went to sleep, but that was an assumption. I can see it was still receiving midi info from the SH-201, but there was just no sound. I cranked up the volume on the mixer and I heard a very faint and distorted “Fantasia”.

I unplugged the D550 output (TRS end) and put it directly into the Boss Katana. I heard it better but it was still distorted and filtered sounding. I powered it down and unplugged it from the Katana.

I gave it about 30 mins or more, trying to figure what could do that kind of issue. I went back to it, intending to put the headphones in to be sure there wasn’t anything wrong with the synth itself (D550). Oddly enough, when I powered it on and put it back into the mixer, it was fine. No distortion and no very low volume. I should add, the previous owner glued the master volume of the D550 to max.

So, the possible issues; Could it be that potentiometer going out? As a guitar tech I know a bad pot could cause a not so good signal. Then again, it was perfectly fine after 30 mins? That doesn’t make sense. Could it be the output jacks? Being 30+ years old, it’s quite possible as bad jacks could be the issue too.

Then there is the assumed notion that the synth goes to “sleep”. Over the weekend, when using the D550. I walked away and came back, pressed the keys and there was a delay as if the unit was waking up. Being that in reality, the synth probably isn’t programmed for “standby” what could that mean?

Any help or guidance would be so appreciated. I am sorry to post this all here but again, I am so new to vintage synth worlds. And I so love this D550. I want to keep it going. I just don’t know what could be the issue.

Thanks in advance.

You’re on the right track with your troubleshooting. A faulty potentiometer (pot) or output jack could indeed cause signal issues, especially in a vintage guitar like yours. However, the fact that the problem resolved itself after 30 minutes is a bit puzzling.