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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The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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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
Richard Gibson
July 13, 2009 @ 9:03 pm
I love this Synth,dreamed about one when it came out,got one recently and LOVE it.A digital synth with Analog controls,doesnt get much better than that,When I am old I will have this and my E4 Turbo on a stand together to enjoy every evening!!!
June 5, 2009 @ 11:34 am
JD800 is a great looker. However, it lacks a few basic features found on D series synths, just as ring modulation, pulse width modulation, the routing features (stereo separation of partials, etc). It also suffers digital clipping, turn up the resonance to see what I mean, this can be compensated by bringing the TVA levels down. Sysex can cause it to lock, and if a fader goes faulty, it affects the whole synth.

On the positive side, the JD800 is still a very capable synth, despite the shortfalls listed above. If programmed well, it can be a real dream synth. It's a future classic, and I have absolutely no plans on parting with mine.
May 28, 2009 @ 7:08 am
Why is there no mention of Chuckii Booker? This man has been an honorary and avid user of this piece of gear and his resume' is nothing for anyone to turn their noses up at. Paul Jackson Jr., Gerald Albright, Tease, En Vogue, Troop, Janet Jackson, Lalah Hathaway, Angela Winbush, Commisioned, and more recently, Lionel Richie. Just because he doesn't particularly fall into the genre of the majority here, didn't mean he isn't worthy of YOUR acknowledgement. Chuckii Booker, Man! Chuckii Booker.
May 24, 2009 @ 4:26 pm
Phil, you are right in that the onboard sounds are useless, however, some time spent programming does yield rewards. I've owned some fine analogue synths (Moog Polymoog keyboard, Moog Source, Roland Jupiter 6) and the JD800 beats them all hands down. I use Pro Tools 8 now and it's loaded with instruments and sounds, but I still go back to my JD800 for my own unique sounds. I'm buying a JD990 for live use.
April 28, 2009 @ 6:21 pm
First lusted after one of these at launch in '91 when I was 15 and it cost thousands. Finally got one 15 years later for a few hundred quid and while it looks the dogs, I was bitterly disappointed with the sounds. I'm no programmer, and the only decent noise I got out of this was a 303 clone. I think it may have been wasted on me but it left me cold. Only regret selling it as I miss the quality keyboard action. Other than that, I've learnt my lesson - never meet your heroes!
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User Rating

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
  • Resources & Credits
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