Roland JD-990 Super JD

Roland JD-990 Image

The JD-990 is an enhanced version of the JD-800 and was the top o' the line JD-synth. Its rack-mount design and impressive power and functionality within the studio paved way for the hugely successful JV-series rack modules which lead, ultimately, to the XV-series monster-modules! The JD-990 is a digital synth with 6MB of ROM sounds with "analog-like" edit parameters and features. These include lowpass filtering, ring modulation, osc. sync, frequency cross-mod, etc. The JD-990 is also compatible with JV80 and JD800 expansion boards.

The JD-990 has a large LCD display which makes editing very easy and intuitive, you can actually see the envelopes and LFO rates. There's an on-board multi-effects processor with Delay, Reverb, Phaser, Distortion, Chorus, and EQ. For the studio, the JD-990 has MIDI IN/OUT/THRU and eight outputs in four stereo pairs. The JD-990 can hold one internal expansion board and the best choice is to put the Vintage expansion in it because that gives you about 512 patches (Only 255 from JV-series!) of which 256 are specially programmed for the JD-990. It is used by Vangelis, The Prodigy, Apollo 440, ATB, and Mirwais.

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50 Visitor comments
Soundworld A.D.
March 25, 2009 @ 8:13 am
Yes, the JD-990 only has 24-voice polyphony, but that is missing the point. The strong suit of this old gem are the lush filters. And if more polyphony is required, you can daisy chain several of them together for maximum effect. Can you say out of this world pads and filter sweeps? All of the JV/JD line of expansion boards and cards work on the 990 (but it doesn't play "reversed" samples on some patches) and I agree that the Vintage Synth expansion is the one to have! Another excellent feature are the great effects. Bottom line: they cut out the frills and made this module about one thing...the sound.
January 12, 2009 @ 5:24 am
Very nice and not harsh digital excellent. I played and played and could not stop.
December 5, 2008 @ 12:00 am
The JD is capable of some really lush, ethereal, spacious tones, particularly pads. Editing can be a little tedious, but it's worth the effort.

The Vintage Expansion is a must and gives you a lot of extra waves to work with. It has much more "life" when compared to the XP-30/50 I had. I only wish Roland would have included more than 1 expansion slot and an easier way to transfer expansion card patches to internal memory.

In the end, It's not about specs with the JD. It's about sound, and it's been one of the best purchase I've made throughout the years.
September 5, 2008 @ 3:38 pm
A JD 990 with the vintage card is an awesome sounding synth. For me this is the best "digital" synth I've heard. The bass and pads are very good. I don't think the newest synths can beat this in sounding. But to program it is irritating. You got get in and out of menus all the time. But when you get used to it, superb! The filters and options are great. One of the best buys you can get.
Oneki Kai
August 26, 2008 @ 8:32 pm
The sheer presence and quality of what comes out of this box would put to shame many of even the newest synthesizers; Roland included.

Synthmania has a bunch of patch demos of this box. I really recommend checking them out.

Sadly, due to the power provided with the limited technology of the time, this thing is effectively limited to mono-timbral unless you're very creative.

In my opinion, only the V-Synth surpasses this as a digital synth. Even still, this box does stuff the V-Synth can't.
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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 - 6MB of ROM waveform data (expandable to 16MB), 4 osc. per patch
  • Memory - 3 banks x 64 patches (expandable), 3 drum kits with 61 sounds
  • LFO - 2 per patch
  • Filter - TVF: Lowpass/bandpass/highpass-filters with resonance and envelopes
  • VCA - TVA envelopes and pitch envelopes
  • Effects - Delay, Reverb, Phaser, Distortion, Chorus, EQ
  • Keyboard - None
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - MIDI (6-part + rhythm part multitimbral)
  • Date Produced - 1993
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