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
July 22, 2011 @ 5:49 pm
The whole purpose of the JD-800 is a Roland digital keyboard with all the power and access of an analog. To remove all that and put it in a box just to provide access to the sounds for those not in need of or having the room for another keyboard (and the 800 does take up considerable real estate) seems a step backward. You're not going to find a MIDI controller with all the controls of an 800. Believe me, I've looked. A 990 with an 800, OK. The only thing close in the surface controls department is a Jupiter 8 and that has no MIDI. Maybe a JP-8000. That might work with a 990. Or an XTk.
July 16, 2011 @ 8:38 am
I was shocked to hear how more organic the JD990 was over the V-XT which I had for a short time. While the V-XT drums was up-to-date and the D50 emulation worked pretty well on the V-XT all other sounds were more or less "plastic" (like if they come from a hard plastic tube) on the V-XT; I guess I'm starting to hate modern, plastic-sounding synths. The JD990 is quite neutral with pleasant FX section; cleaner than the D50 in a good way; still having enough discrete components for a soft ear-candy and coherent digital sound; a lovely digital pad module from el Rolando! :-)
June 29, 2011 @ 3:14 pm
I would sell all my synths, except my Matrix 12 and two JD 990s'.
No digital Yamaha, Waldorf, Access or anything else compares to these wonderfull machines.
(one with Vintage + one with Orchestral Exp)
bobby h.
June 3, 2011 @ 5:21 pm
I have owned the JD-800, and still own the JD-990 rack. Both are really cool boards and you can do so much with the sounds, using the sliders on the JD-800 or an editor with the JD-990 (I don't have the original editor, I use MOTU's Unisyn.) They both sound like a cleaner D-50 (which I've also owned), as they use the same tone sets, but the JDs can do a lot the D50 can't. I believe that Tony Banks of Genesis used a JD-990 rack over the years (including on the 2007 Genesis tour), as well as the keyboard itself.
April 30, 2011 @ 12:52 pm
I have the JD-800, is definitely a D-50 (I have one too) but cleaner and wider. The only thing that [beep] s is that you can not sync the LFO via midi, nor the sliders transmits CC controllers, they send sys-ex. And I do not know why Roland didn't implement that when the Korg Wavestation was a bit older and had those functions implemented.

If it wasn't for that the JD-800 would be even better as a Access Virus Ti2.
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Rated 4.34 (738 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 - 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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