What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Nannerfan » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:36 pm

Z wrote:Although the JD-800 is multi-timbral, it only shines as a mono-timbral synth. In Multi mode, you don't have access to the EQ and effects such as distortion, phasor, spectracral enhancer. Only chorus and reverb in mutli-mode.
Depends on what kind of music you make I guess. Me, I don't have too many tracks playing chords.. Usually just one, the other parts doing mono lines. Works great. Have based bands around it's multi-mode. The individual outs solve the effects problem.
rhino wrote:Build-wise, it has a steel base and an aluminium panel, but the plastic end caps - especaly the left - are prone to major damage from impacts (they are no longer stocked at Roland-trust me).
ummm... don't you mean the right side? Never had any issue with the left. My right side panel fell off so many times I just stopped bothering to put it back on anymore...

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by gs » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:22 pm

No one has bothered to mention that for a digital synth, especially of its time, it can sound pretty damn warm, and that may be mainly due to its unparalleled (for the time) digital filter and use of particular op-amps and D/A converters. It will always lack the bottom-end girth of analog, but damn it nailed the sound character of analog in a good way. Just MIDI/layer this up to a hybrid module with VCF's (which I do via K3M) and you've got analog brass and strings that will stand up to a Prophet or Oberheim easily.
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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Robonaut » Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:55 pm

Phenom wrote:Sure the JV1080 would take you further programming wise, but you have to factor in all that potential, into your actual desire to sepnd a lot of time programming it. This is where the JD800 scores so highly.
Also, the JV-1080 (and, indeed, most of the other JV series synths) use 32 khz samples instead of the 44.1 khz samples on the JD-800/990.

This gives the JD-800 noticeably better treble presence--the JV series makes my speakers sound like they have a blanket thrown over them in comparison.

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Nannerfan » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:30 am

I dunno.. sometimes the sound of the JV's work better for dark pads... it can be hard to take the edge off the JD-800 without dabbling with the EQ section..

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by b3groover » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:02 pm

scottrod wrote:
sizzlemeister wrote: The fix for the glue is so easy it's not even funny. It just takes a little time depending on the severity of the problem.
What is the fix (or a link)?

I couldn't find anything definitive on the web, just a lot of half-baked suggestions...
I'm curious, too. I have the opportunity to get one for a good price, but I'm concerned about the glue issue. How does one fix it?

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Yekuku » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:37 pm

b3groover wrote:
scottrod wrote:
sizzlemeister wrote: The fix for the glue is so easy it's not even funny. It just takes a little time depending on the severity of the problem.
What is the fix (or a link)?

I couldn't find anything definitive on the web, just a lot of half-baked suggestions...
I'm curious, too. I have the opportunity to get one for a good price, but I'm concerned about the glue issue. How does one fix it?
Actually it depends on the condition but it aint easy, thats for sure. This glue is the stickiest thing I have ever dealt with in my life.
You can use Caustic Soda (or NAOH, or Sodium hydroxide) + water solution to remove the glue from the keys without harming the plastic. It can harm human though , so take all necessary precautions.
Chances are that most of the key weights have not fallen off, so you will need a hair dryer in order to heat the glue and remove the remaining key weights easily using a screwdriver.
Dip the keys for a few hours in the solution and repeat the procedure until all glue is dissolved.
The solution is plastic friendly but it affects the"shininess" of the keys, making them look rather dull in color.
After this, the keys will have an awful smell so you will need to clean them properly. . The key weights can be attached back on the keys by using 4min epoxy glues.
Now here are the bad news : the glue might have fallen on the flexible strip pcb which is under the keyboard. thats the point where all h**l breaks loose.
Removing the glue from the pcb is near impossible, chances are that you will lift the sensitive carbon traces and destroy the pcb. Also , the flexible pcb strip assembly is actually 2 parts glued together. Be very gentle while handling the pcb because if they get apart it is a h**l of a work to put them back together.
Unfortunately roland does not have any keyboard pcbs left, so you have to buy the whole keyboard assembly.
If you are lucky to find a replacement pcb , just make sure that it is compatible with your keyboard , there was a second keyboard revision that had different wiring than the original one.
If there is any glue stuck on the metal frame you can use a spray freezer to freeze the glue and scrape it off.Acetone is also useful (not on plastic!) but very messy.
Roland recognized the production fault and gave a free keyboard replacement for most JDs in the US until a few years ago, maybe u should contact them and claim for a replacement.
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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Infrasound » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:21 am

Is there any steppyness when controlling any parameters?

I mapped a controller to Operator in Ableton and it was staircase city. I imagine this synth would be ok, but an aural torture template has been thrown over my consciousness thanks to Operator. As a result I've regressed to thinking all digital will sound like 8 bit Nintendo. :twisted:

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Pro5 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:24 am

wanted to update as I've had my JD a few weeks now - having previously spent time with one a couple of years ago, and in recent times dabbling with one that a friend of mine has (and constantly mentally comparing it to my D-50). I think when I got hold of the D-50 I found it somehow warmer, more soothing to the ears - this is what made me see the interface bias going on towards the JD - for had the D-50 been in the JD's casing (and with the JD's superior filter) with all that hand's on it would have been the best synth in both sound (pure synth modes - no PCM) and tactility (digital) for the time.


People often say they compete sonically but I don't think they do (for my uses) - D-50 is mellow, epic, warm, JD is harsher, brighter, more digital in tone except where the filter comes into play - and the JD does have a great filter. You can get almost polysix like drones out of a JD800, even if it is somehow not as pure, or masked in a slightly 'rompler' sauce that can't be avoided. In a mix though - as usual who cares?

Have got to say though, all my jibes at the design of the JD800 aside, it really is a nice unit to sit in front of - the brushed metal surface and uniform orange lights are a tasteful touch among the otherwise, could be, garish slider indulgence. The metal surface is actually quite 'posh' in reality, vs photos where the whole synth tends to look more plasticy/grey... nice use of colour there. I still say the D-50 is overall the more beautiful as an object but the JD is very impressive/exciting looking. Wish it had the D-50's pure synth modes included though...


Image

Image
Last edited by Pro5 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:56 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Pro5 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:29 am

Also, the filter in the JD-800 is far nicer than the filter in the JX-8P I had! Digital v Analog eh? :lol:


Sound wise I'd say the JD when pushing it into more analog synth areas reminds me of a cross between a thinner 8P, a 'weaker' polysix and a colder D-50. Has it's own thing going on of course!. Would definitely take one over an 8P for quite few reasons (rompler or not)

another shot of mine - called "floor synth" :D

Image

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by balma » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:33 pm

I think is one of the coolest, best looking synths ever made, and the most handsome synth from ROLAND.... it has such a bizarre knob/slidder settings. So carefully conceived.
There was a big post from AEON explaining a lot of features of the JD800.



I still wondering if this is a ROMpler or a wavetable synth. BTW, it was extensively used by Depeche Mode on the "Songs of Faith and Devotions" one of my fav albums of all times.....
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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Pro5 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:12 am

Well I think I can safely say it's now my favourite synth (inc analogs) :)

Seems my slagging off of this synth bagged me an absolute bargain price in almost mint condition unit. Am sorting the keys today - not a single epoxy drip yet but am not taking any chances.

Everything bad I ever wrote about this synth was uniformed and slightly self-serving (I wanted to help in some small way to keep prices down until I got one of my own, my mate has had one for years and I always liked playing around on it) :lol:

Anyway, it's beautiful to look and and to listen to. And am sure the more advanced JD-990 is even better, but frankly I like an instrument to be an instrument, this puppy inspires and excites like no other synth I've had and best of all - 'rompler' or not, it's sound is right up my street for my music. Think I found the one synth that will let me rest at last.

Having some mod ideas already (Orange lighted clear bender stick - oooer) normally tacky but on this? tasteful and would spread the light out more - gorgeous orange, what a great choice for 1991!

I read talk of custom Wave Rom cards with your own samples - would be very cool (not interested in the roland samplers with these filters - it's THIS synth I want to focus on) - I'd love to sample some of my other synths and make a custom card somehow.. pipe dream maybe but if anyone has more details...?

Also, I highly doubt it but is there any way to sort the distortion on res problem? Reducing gain before it hits the TVF (internally - assume it's code on the CPU/ROM?) then boosting output somehow may solve this. I know it's a lot harder to mod Digital synths but someone with some gear and knowledge should give this a go. Even if it involves lots of soldering.

The aftertouch mod (with variable resistor pot) is cool. Doing that soon.


Lastly I really love that brushed metal finish/colour on the control surface. Gorgeous.

I may be posting less around here soon (hooray some may say) as I finally get on with some more sound design and MUSIC with this baby. Haven't been so excited to get a new synth into my tracks since I bought the JX-3P.

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Bitexion » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:06 am

I found a nice demo of 40 factory patches. Some really heavy sounds in there. Seems quite similar to my D-50 structure-wise, but with better filters. Each "voice" can have 4 "tones", each tone being a complete single oscillator synthesizer. Mix the 4 together and you can make almost anything. I wonder, since it has no X-Y joystick controller (D-50 does), can you mix the parts together in realtime in some other way?


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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by balma » Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:24 am

Pro5 wrote:Well I think I can safely say it's now my favourite synth (inc analogs) :)
Mine is also a rompler, the command station. 8 years using them, and they still giving me surprises and satisfaction every single day....

I love rompler synthesis, when is not focused on emulating traditional synths, but experimenting on how samples could sound treated under an intelligent hardware design and a flexible synthesis environment.

Pro5 wrote:Having some mod ideas already (Orange lighted clear bender stick - oooer) normally tacky but on this? tasteful and would spread the light out more - gorgeous orange, what a great choice for 1991!
Please don't...
Pro5 wrote:I read talk of custom Wave Rom cards with your own samples - would be very cool (not interested in the roland samplers with these filters - it's THIS synth I want to focus on) - I'd love to sample some of my other synths and make a custom card somehow.. pipe dream maybe but if anyone has more details...?
That would be great, injecting some modern samples of your own, after using the instrument during years, you know wich sounds are more suitable to be modelated than others.

Most of the command station samples are kind of cheesy, but the engine is so powerful that you always get unexpected results. Using the EMU ultra sampler, I could burn my own ROMs for my command stations, but the ROMS are bloody expensive (maybe more than the unit itself) and hard to find.

I've covet to get a JD800 so much, I hope to find one of these beauties on good shape, one of these days....
:)
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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Pro5 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:12 am

Bitexion wrote:I found a nice demo of 40 factory patches. Some really heavy sounds in there. Seems quite similar to my D-50 structure-wise, but with better filters. Each "voice" can have 4 "tones", each tone being a complete single oscillator synthesizer. Mix the 4 together and you can make almost anything. I wonder, since it has no X-Y joystick controller (D-50 does), can you mix the parts together in realtime in some other way?


Yeah you can use the palette sliders (top left) after touching the VCA level control - that'll give you your 4 independent level controls should you see fit

that demo is NOT the best the JD can do! it's all presets - there's a few good presets but what it can REALLY do is not shown in that video!! :)

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Re: What's the deal with the Roland JD-800?

Post by Bitexion » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:17 am

Ah. So it's basically a D-50 on steroids with a PG-1000 controller jury-rigged onto the back :)

The D-50 is the Sylvester Stallone to Arnold Schwartzenegger's JD-800.

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