Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

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HalloweenJack
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Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by HalloweenJack » Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:05 pm

Well, I have to say that I'm becoming tempeted by this synth, mainly because the used price here in Milan has dropped to 900/1000 euros, which is insanely cheap for what it has to offer even though few people seem to like it :lol:

But at the same time the JDXA for me is also a "what if" synth: what if 8 analog voices instead of 4; what if there's no so bad aliasing with PWM and digital waves...but also: how does the digital side complements with the analog one? expecially when we run out of poliphony on the analog parts (pads) and we need to use the digital waves, is it a new, interesting way to blend two types of synthesis or it's only a compromise?

If someone would like to share thoughts from a real user point of view, happy or not with the JDXA, I will really appreciate it =D>

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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by Z » Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:17 pm

Please stop thinking of the analog section being 4 voice polyphonic. Instead, think of it being 4 dual oscillator monophonic synths.

I'm mostly happy with the JD-XA. The sequencer is a disappointment, though. I was hoping it would work like the JD-Xi's sequencer, which it does in most ways. However, the sequencer stops playing when you change programs (patches).

The JD-XA is a sound programmer's dream. It is very deep and there is some menu diving.

It is important to view what the synth actually is rather than what one thinks it's supposed to be.
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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by HalloweenJack » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:12 pm

Z wrote:Please stop thinking of the analog section being 4 voice polyphonic. Instead, think of it being 4 dual oscillator monophonic synths.
Thank you Z, this makes sense to me...have you ever found a situation where the aliasing with pwm and digital waves was a problem? I use very often pwm, well with my V Synth there is some aliasing but I've read that in the JDXA is more annoying...

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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by knolan » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:53 pm

Z wrote:Please stop thinking of the analog section being 4 voice polyphonic. Instead, think of it being 4 dual oscillator monophonic synths.

Curious what you mean here. Could you expand on this? Thanks.

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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by HalloweenJack » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:24 pm

knolan wrote:
Z wrote:Please stop thinking of the analog section being 4 voice polyphonic. Instead, think of it being 4 dual oscillator monophonic synths.

Curious what you mean here. Could you expand on this? Thanks.
For what I have understood the JDXA real strength and flexibility lies in considering it as a series of monophonic synths to be layered or switched in performance, but I'm curious to know what Z have to say ;)

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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by Z » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:07 am

OK: A program (patch) on the JD-XA can contain up to any of the following:

4x dual oscillator monophonic analog synths
4x triple oscillator polyphonic digital synths

So my original comment was saying that instead of thinking the analog section is 4 voice polyphonic (It CAN be when "POLY STACK" is engaged), treat the analog section as 4 INDEPENDENT mono synths.

In this video, I'm using the 4 analog voices to make drum & percussion sounds (you an see the green LEDs illuminate when each sound):
[youtube][/youtube]

I wanted the JD-XA to be more of a "workstation" synth, a beefed-up version of the JD-Xi (which I love). In many ways the JD-XA IS a beefed-up version of the JD-Xi, but is much, much more. As I said before, the JD-XA is really a sound designer's dream synth being able to combine analog and digital synth engines in one machine.

Here's the first preset on the JD-XA, "Heaven", which uses the analog parts in POLY STACK as well as 2 digital synth parts:
[youtube][/youtube]

But, I was wanting the JD-XA to be more like a workstation. So here's my JD-XA providing a rhythm track: 1 analog voice doing the bass, 1 analog voice doing the "hi hat", 1 digital part doing the electric piano and another digital part doing the "analog" saw lead.
[youtube][/youtube]

Over the past couple of months, I've seen several people ask on "Synthesizer Freaks" FB group about JD-XA versus the System 8. I've been wanting to make a comparison video and hope to do it soon now that the holidays are coming to a wrap.
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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by jxalex » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:55 am

HalloweenJack wrote:Well, I have to say that I'm becoming tempeted by this synth, mainly because the used price here in Milan has dropped to 900/1000 euros, which is insanely cheap for what it has to offer even though few people seem to like it :lol:
nope... it just shows how insanely OVERPRICED it was and is still now.

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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by HalloweenJack » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:06 pm

Thank you Z for the videos, your point of view now is absolutely clear...so, to summarize, if someone need "only" an analog polysynth the JDXA is not the best choice, if someone is deep into programming new sounds and "merge" analog into digital and vice versa the JDXA is the right path to follow, especially if the sequencer and/or multitimbrality is the main creative source for composition...

Actually I don't know if I am interested in using it as 4 mono synths (although very powerful), I had the "same" kind of experience with Poly Evolver, at the end never used the sequencer and the possibility to have 4 mono synths, but I did find the 4 note polyphony a limitation...but it's also clear that they are two totally different beasts, what you can do with the JDXA is far more "superior", only with the VCF section I can do things that with the Poly Evolver are impossible to obtain...

Another question, sorry but I've seen in your YouTube videos that you have/had a V Synth, I'm in the same position, again two totally different synths but maybe there is a bit of "overlap" on the digital side, how do they complement together or maybe the JDXA will make the V Synth "redundant"?

Thank you again

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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by Z » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:29 pm

HalloweenJack wrote:
Another question, sorry but I've seen in your YouTube videos that you have/had a V Synth, I'm in the same position, again two totally different synths but maybe there is a bit of "overlap" on the digital side, how do they complement together or maybe the JDXA will make the V Synth "redundant"?
As a single parent whose 9 year-old has activities every weekday evening, I haven't had much time to play with my toys for the past couple of years. I have only has the V Synth since November 2015 and have not spent much time with it, but there are many members here that rave about the V Synth (calling it "Roland's last good synth"). Here's a basic explanation of the V Synth: dual digital oscillator (each can be VA or PCM based). The V Synth excels at manipulation of samples, especially long samples or phrases.

I've also recently picked up the V Synth GT which will let you layer 2 V Synth patches and also includes the Vocal Designer for vocoding and choir type stuff.

It really all boils down to what gear you already have and what sounds a new synth with bring to your sonic palette. There isn't much out that that will do what the V Synth does, so it's an obvious choice for many. I only hesitated getting one because I own more synths than the law should allow, but I buy them when there's a smoking deal and I finally found deals on both and will probably sell one of them soon (my NY resolution is to sell off as much unused gear as possible).
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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by HalloweenJack » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:07 pm

Z wrote:
As a single parent whose 9 year-old has activities every weekday evening, I haven't had much time to play with my toys for the past couple of years.
I totally understand you, but that's why I made my 11 years old son the guitarist/singer of my/our band (the band is me and my son :lol: , our only goal is to make music with joy, passion and creativity, without following any rules), so that I can continue playing with my toys even when I'm with him :headbang:

Thank you again you for your replies, actually I do own a V Synth (thought you read my gear list) so I know that is a unique synth, actually it is at the core of my setup, and yes you are right, there is no overlap with the JDXA, they really do different things...

Just "appeared" in an italian sell/buy/trade website dedicated to music gears/instruments, a JDXA for 1000 euros, have to think about that, to buy or not to buy?, that is the question aaaaaarrghhhhhhh :lol: :ebay:

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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by knolan » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:43 am

Thanks 'Z' for posting those extremely infromative (and musical) videos - really helps.

HolloweeenJack - actually - as a MonoPoly owner - I now very much 'connect' with the JD-XA in ways I hadn't thought about until 'Z''s videos. Although very different, nevertheless some similarities with the MonoPoly are there.

So on the Monopoly you have 4 separate analoge oscillators that can be set very differently (wildy diferently) and can be triggered in different Monophonic, Duophonic, Chord and Paraphonic 'type' ways - both from the keyboard and as importantly from the Arpeggiator. As just one example - by triggering each oscillator in sequence though an arpeggio, with each oscillator set to different waves, volumes and octaves - you can create incredibly complex sequences, and combined with X-mod, FM, white noise and various LFO's, - the sound design and rhythmic / sequencing possibilities are essentially endless.

So the JD-XA analoge engine - by offering separate 'voices' each configurable in even more varied ways than the 4 oscillators of the MonoPoly, coupled to all the other options I mention above - or control from an external MIDI sequencer / DAW or controller - actually make it a very, very flexible device - but of course all quite integrated because the 4 separate voices are all saved on the one instrument under one patch name. Overall, there are huge possibilites with it. Do think of each voice as a separate synth - that's big!! Ina digital sense the JD800 is similar - 4 separate digital synths make up one Patch - and it's equally huge and compelling I assure you.

Suddenly the JX-XA is gone up in my estimation ( I was the one who shouted loudly on RolandClan about the dire PWM Aliasing problem on the JP80 and indeed therefore probably on this instrument too because its digital synth is the 'Supernatural Synth' found on the Jupiter 80) - and the 4-octaves has also been a problem for me - but apart from the PWM issue the Supernatural Synth is a very nice sounding synth engine - so over all with excellent realtime control to both the Supernatural Synth and now learning this Analogue Synth flexibility make it a more intriguing prospect than I for one imagined.

Thanks again 'Z'

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Re: Roland JDXA, any thoughts?

Post by HalloweenJack » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:56 am

knolan wrote: Suddenly the JX-XA is gone up in my estimation ( I was the one who shouted loudly on RolandClan about the dire PWM Aliasing problem on the JP80 and indeed therefore probably on this instrument too because its digital synth is the 'Supernatural Synth' found on the Jupiter 80) - and the 4-octaves has also been a problem for me - but apart from the PWM issue the Supernatural Synth is a very nice sounding synth engine - so over all with excellent realtime control to both the Supernatural Synth and now learning this Analogue Synth flexibility make it a more intriguing prospect than I for one imagined.

Thanks again 'Z'
That's why I asked for PWM aliasing, I've read your posts ;) , I have a V Synth and while the aliasing is audible is not as bad as you pointed out for the Supernatural engine, thank you for sharing your toughts =D>

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