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
August 15, 2009 @ 3:00 pm
according to this SOS article, Nick Rhodes had one of these in his touring set up around 1994... (along with an SY85) + the usual. 94_articles/feb94/marktinley.html
Chris Faur
August 13, 2009 @ 6:57 pm
I bought a JD800 this past spring for like $600 and it's very nice. It produces some unique atmospheres that would go really well in a movie sound track. It does sound analog if programmed right and the overall sound quality is very good...I read somewhere that it has very good Digital to Analog converters. I've used it on several tracks and it's suitable for most music including electronica.
Russ Blair
July 27, 2009 @ 1:38 pm
I have three JD-800s and a JD-990 . They are great sounding keyboards . The brass , guitar and Moog sounds just can't be beat .I love to tweek the filters during live shows . The red glue used to attach the weights to the keys runs down and must be removed .
July 19, 2009 @ 11:17 pm
BTW - If you watch 'Michael Jackson; Live in bucharest' DVD the main synth (it seems) is this here JD-800.. gets a lot of hammering on stage on the times you see it :) RIP MJ
July 19, 2009 @ 11:05 pm
Nice synth, has some of the style of the D-series with a GREAT interface (though can be quirky/flawed with insta-jump parameter changes).

That said, it's NO D-50. The D-50 was and will always remain Roland best pure digitial synthesizer. Many will disagree but the D-50 is so much more powerful in it's architecure and warmth.
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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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