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
October 18, 2011 @ 3:55 am
You say that you put it straight back up for sale while it was still warm. If evaluating gear came down to exposing and focussing on bugs and issues, I would have no gear at all! It would all have been sold. If you owned the JD long enough, you would have found out why so many people like it so much. Do you think they are all deaf or blind? It is yourself who is not in the know on this one. The buyer of your unit is one happy owner I bet.

I make sounds by ear and I never bump into this problem. 1000's of patches:- No distortion.
October 4, 2011 @ 6:58 am
@ Greg. I'm not talking about 'cranking up the resonance high', I'm talking about any setting over 50! It may well be old news, but it's not really common knowledge AFAICS.

What did I expect? I expected a synth that cost thousands on its release not to digitally distort when I put the resonance over half way...

What point are you actually trying to make? That you love your JD? Great stuff. It distorts a lot though doesn't it? That's the point I was trying to make...
September 24, 2011 @ 2:30 pm
That's old news. JD series filter does not have as much headroom as a VA-modelled filter would. So when you crank up the resonance high on a JD-800/990 you WILL get digital distortion - it doesn't even sound like an analog filter in the first place so what do you expect.
September 16, 2011 @ 8:56 am
Oh dear. Never listen to forum fanboys - lesson learned. The much touted JD-990 filter has a rather annoying problem. Add resonance over a setting of 50 and it distorts. No, it's not a nice analog fuzzy distortion. It's a crap digital clipping distortion which constantly stifles any creative use of a resonant filter. Add the fact that the basic romset is largely naff and by the time you buy the VS card, you may as well have bought a half decent analog poly.

I sold this POS so fast it was still warm when I packed it up... Get a 5080 or 5050 - the JD is not special.
August 12, 2011 @ 2:48 pm
JD-990 is not a step backwards... the JD-990 is a giant improvement over the JD-800. Matrix modulation is not even on the JD-800, neither is ring modulation, cross-modulation, poly-portamento, multiple sources for same destination was added on the JD-990 as well as osc sync... and they can usually be found for around $100 less than the JD-800. JD-800 has no panning of individual tones, it's pseudo-stereo. Plus the JD-990 panel is easy to use and shows envelopes right on it unlike the JD-800 which is all numeric. If Roland made a 800 + 990 back in '93 it would have cost thousands!
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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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