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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128 Visitor comments
November 23, 2011 @ 8:32 am
Also Ronald Mael from Sparks uses this synth, although he have attached a sticker with his name on it, so it is RONALD JD800
October 15, 2011 @ 8:34 am
I forgot to also mention it has a beautiful self diagnosis mode, tells you everything, straight ahead and well engineered. It has a multi-key mode where you can program an individual sound for each key. This I still use for foley gigs and abstract pieces etc, wierd fractal tunings etc. Has enough chorus and delay taps to do 6 voice spectral combs, many many things about this one. A proper light sabre for the synth jedi. The only one from that 1990s decade I can really recommend.
October 15, 2011 @ 8:34 am
This synth is one of the best. I have owned many since 1978 until now. The JD800 in single mode is hard to beat. Incredibly fat, due to EQ layering; i.e. dynamic filter, 6 channel spectrum filter effect and onboard parametric. Really sparkles. I have made so many sounds with this beast too, instantly, this is real power. I also wrote a patch in Max back in 1995 that let me use it as a digital mixer/controller. Built pretty well. Mine will be 20 in a couple of years, in that time i have replaced only two faders.
September 5, 2011 @ 2:22 pm
Pure rompler - decent digital filter but get the D-50 instead. A proper synthesizer!
September 5, 2011 @ 10:20 am
I agree with Jim. Just won one for €347, including memory card. Only needs to have its internal battery replaced, but that's a quick fix. Can't wait to try it out.
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Rated 4.31 (906 Votes)

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  • 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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