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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125 Visitor comments
March 8, 2011 @ 1:16 pm
I wasn't really comparing the two by features or quality of FX; I said that I preferred the D50 as to me it sounds warmer and not as harsh. I also said that I was keeping the JD after all. I've downloaded tons of extra soundbanks but I still haven't found anything amazing.
March 3, 2011 @ 12:28 pm
Phil, buying one, then selling, then buying, can you make up your mind?
Give it some time, like a few months (what have you got to lose?) download some extra sounds, try out the editing features step by step, you'll soon discover its true possibilities.
How can one NOT program a JD800? Much less compare it to a D50 with inferior effects?
Roelf Staal
January 29, 2011 @ 5:38 pm
The JD800 is a synthesizer that comes to life with proper editing of the well layed out editing sliders & buttons on its front panel. It is capable of creating solid digital sounds as well as warm analog timbres.
Also suitable for strings, FX and 'space' like sounds.
January 8, 2011 @ 7:49 am
I've been too hasty, the JD800 is staying. I still don't think it's as warm as the D50 and the sounds is a bit overly sterile, but after forcing myself to sit down and actually learn a bit about the programming possibilities, I am getting to like it.
December 24, 2010 @ 2:25 pm
Totally different beast than the D50. JD-800 is pure subtractive & uses 18 bit oversampled waveforms. The JD was my main synth buy this year and I find it to be a mysterious, fascinating synth. If you work with ambient/chillout, soundtrack, experimental, progressive you should check it out. It has wide dynamic range due to the quality of the samples & filters. Spectrum & enhancer effects make it sound hi-fi. Any overt high-end can be removed from the sound with onboard EQ and ASDR settings. Distortion is great & there are varied kinds to mess with. Patches I make on it include modern-industrial tones & unworldly pads that evolve long after hands off the keys. The factory presets [beep] , cant stress this enough, they rely too much on the internal waves. Good to know how they sound but they should not be the basis of a sound. The JD is perfect as a far-out addition to a synth setup or as a soloing/live performance synth. If the D50 is Godzilla then the JD is SpaceGodzilla.
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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