Roland JD-800

Roland JD-800 Image

The JD-800 is Roland's answer to half a decade of hard-to-program synthesizers. Covered in sliders that act as dedicated editors just like a classic analog synth, the JD-800 is an extremely programmable and hands-on digital synthesizer. It is also an interesting and great sounding digital synth with incredible flexibility and control. Internal ROM based waveforms are combined to build your sounds. The sounds are based on Roland's D-50, but updated for the nineties with multimode filters - uncommon but welcome at the time.

The JD-800 came in a tough metal case capped off on the sides with large plastic covers. Programming may be a little too flexible for some users, but once you know what you're doing with it, almost any sound you can dream up can be dialed in and stored.

Roland JD-800 Image

It has been used by William Ørbit, Emerson Lake & Palmer, 808 State, Ken Ishii, Astral Projection, Rabbit in the Moon, Depeche Mode, Underworld, Tangerine Dream, LTJ Bukem, Apollo 440, Jean Michel Jarre, ATB, Vangelis, Pet Shop Boys, Faithless, Luke Vibert, Mouse on Mars, Laurent Garnier, MC Hammer, Bushflange, Genesis, and Eat Static.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland JD-800? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

128 Visitor comments
June 24, 2014 @ 10:28 am
I bought a JD-800 exactly 20 years ago. The original 1991 RRP was £2100 I seem to remember. Then they discontinued it and lots of music shops were knocking them out for £999 due to poor sales so I snapped one up. I'll never forget getting it home and playing the "37 Iceman" patch with the summer sun streaming throught the window! Still love that patch now.
June 15, 2014 @ 2:31 am
Check the JD-800 keyboard frequently especially if you are not using it for a while. If you see one indication that the red glue holding the key weights is failing, quickly clean it all out. It will fail precipitously when it does. I am faced with days of hard work with a bucket of lye and a soft bristle brush which I am loathe even to start. All because a Roland engineer couldn't be bothered to read through the CRC manual properly. This is on top of all the other synths I have lined up for repair and restoration. When life isn't disastrous it's boring, I suppose.
May 4, 2014 @ 6:03 pm
I bought mine new some 20 years ago, still got it.
in what it does, without equal. the combinations of possibilities and the accesibiliy of it (1m2 of sliders...) is just outstanding.
great for pads, leads, weird stuff.

it is big though, keep that in mind. for me, it adds to the appeal.
January 9, 2014 @ 2:05 pm
The JD800 has absolutely NOTHING to do with the D50. The D50 has 8 bit pcm sounds + very early VA analog section besides the pcm playback. The JD800 is 16/24 BIT troughout and with a bandwith of 44 KHZ. Also the JD800 can multimode filter ALL waves, not just saw/square as on D50. Also they dont sound the same in any way what so ever. The D50 is great in it self, but has nothing in common with the JD. Only thing in common is that they are Roland synths that uses digital models to emulate analog substrative synthesis. You can however say that the JD800 somehow is a supercharged D70.
Kevin T
November 29, 2013 @ 7:33 am
The aftertouch can be changed, it just needs a little soldering and a variable resistor over R27 (front left circuit board), just did mine this week, it is a whole new synth. If the aftertouch has completely gone it is probably a loose connection strip (front left of keyboard).
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Rated 4.31 (906 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 24 voices
  • Oscillators - ROM based digital synthesizer
  • #Instruments - 6 part multitimbral
  • Keyboard - 61 key keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
  • Arpeg/Seq - NO
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1991-93
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