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
December 25, 2012 @ 5:01 pm
It is still in use by great italian fusion keyboardist Alex Argento. Watch this video...
December 11, 2012 @ 8:31 pm
I wonder why the 4 star rating. It should be 5 IMHO. Its like the heaven of the D50 pumped up with even more heavenliness. Heavily used by Deep Forest, Sven Vath, Westbam, Ralf Hildenbeutel...this synth was the source of their signature sound when these artists emerged. As much as I love the M1 (which I truly do), the JD800 eats it for breakfast. Even without all of its features.
October 13, 2012 @ 4:03 am
Theres a pretty good "keytar" sound on this. Pretty digital synth.
Preset sounds [beep] s(basic 90's) but when you make your own sounds, then the sky is the limit. Not one of my favourites but if you want strange digital sounds, try this.
September 27, 2012 @ 2:16 pm
Nick Rhodes also used a JD-800 live in 1994 and even up till recording of their RCM album in 2005! Obviously a 'keeper'
September 27, 2012 @ 2:12 pm
There's a facebook page for the wonderful JD-800 at - and this is one of the best synths I've ever laid hands on. Sounds great, looks great, and is a joy to interact with. Probably a strong contender for an 'only synth' if you had to make a choice - not for all sounds but for the fun factor and the versatility it does have! Beautiful machine.
VSE Rating


User Rating

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
  • Resources & Credits
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