Synth Site: Roland: JD-990 Synthesizer Module: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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aeon a part-time user from USA writes:
I will be honest with you...I can compare them simply because I have owned and used both. If the JD-990 is aging, then surely the JD-800 is also, as it is older. Yes, the JD-800 is easier to program and tweak, there is no question of that...but the sonic potential of the JD-800 is much less than that of the JD-990. The additional features I listed in my last post are hardly trivial...the JD-990 can reproduce any sound the JD-800 can, and many, many more that the JD-800 cannot. Personally, I do not find programming the JD-990 from the front panel difficult at all, but that said, I tend to use a combination of a remote computer editor and a MIDI knob/slider box that does sysex.

As to your question of why buy a JD-990...the reason is because it is one of the best PCM-based synths Roland has ever made. Your suggestion of the JV-2080 is laughable IMHO, given the inferior nature of that machine...consider, the JD-series has a 44.1KHz sampling rate, whereas the JV-series is 32KHz...also, the MIDI timing on the JD-990 is far better than that of the JV-2080...not to mention the superior-sounding filters. Granted, the JV-2080 has some advantages too, but not ones important or useful to me. I place a high priority on sound quality, and in that department, the JD-990 trumps the JV-2080.

Perhaps you missed what I said in my previous post...my intent is not to knock the JD-800 at all...it is a fine synth for what it is, but in terms of sound potential, the JD-990 is a superior synth. That is a fact that can hardly be argued.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-18-2003 at 13:21
aeon a part-time user from USA writes:
Speaking as someone who used to own both a JD-800 and JD-990, but only the JD-990 now, I disagree with a few points made in the last post.

The reason the JD-990 does not spit out data as the panel is tweaked is that it was never designed to be used this way! Consider however that the JD-990 has a means by which MIDI CC controllers can be assigned to parameters in the mod matrix, making external tweaking/automation via a MIDI knob/slider box, or function in a sequencer a snap...something the JD-800 sorely lacks. Yes, the JD-800 can be automated via the sysex it spits out, but the amount of MIDI generated is hardly insignificant. The JD-990 method is much more elegant in this regard, and compatible with any device that can generate MIDI CC.

As it regards ROM presets, that is legion among devices of its era, and devices before and after, and can hardly be considered an issue given the availability to send and receive sysex dumps to a computer or other devices.

Also, the statement about the extra sounds available via the Vintage board is simply incorrect. When the Vintage board is installed in the JD-990, you have access to the JV bank and the exclusive JD bank, and they are indeed different. While the JD bank has many presets that are similar to those in the JV bank, they are more complex in terms of programming, and have a richer overall sound. That said, there are also patches in the JD bank that have no equivalent in the JV bank.

As it concerns the comment about the patch cards, I have to question the wisdom of avoiding a piece of gear because it is more flexible and has more options, regardless of the potential cost of exercising them!

Also, it is entirely possible to load JD-800 sounds into the JD-990.

To the comment that the JD-990 can only dump patch data, I do not know what to say, perhaps because I do not understand the comment. The JD-990 has a sysex implementation that allows it to send and receive all manner of its internal architecture via a remote editor or the like.

I do agree that the extra internal waves for the JD-990 are not all that as compared to the JD-800, but that said, they do include a lovely strings wave and a few others, and I welcome them...I simply do not use the more ROMplery waves in the unit.

Also, as it regards the lack of drums on the Vintage board, I say that was a most-excellent decision on Roland's part! No ROM space wasted on drums...just an ace collection of synth waves, to enhance what the JD-990 is at heart...one of the best PCM-based synths Roland has ever made.

Consider these advantages of the JD-990 over the JD-800:

expanded wave ROM (6MB vs. 4MB)

ability to use a 8MB expansion board

4 additional outs

improved DACs

true stereo engine

osc sync

cross-mod (FXM)

osc structures that allow ring mod and serial dual filters

additional LFO waveforms

MIDI CC control of parameters

tempo-sync delay

polyphonic portamento

performance memories

additional multi-timbral slots

1 patch can keep full effects in multi mode

That is no small list of advantages in terms of sound or performance features!

While the purpose of my post was not to knock the JD-800 at all (it is a fine synth for what it is), with all due respect, I could not let stand some of the misinformation presented in the last post.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-18-2003 at 02:38
JD a part-time user from UK writes:
JD-800 vs. JD-990? I'd have to go with the JD-800. The reason? The module does not output sysex data so if you playback a midi track and use the interface to edit the sound in real time your edits are not recorded. There is no way to 'flip a switch' to get the module to output the data. You can route the JD-800 thru a sequncer and record some of the sysex changes but it's easier to edit via the screen on the front. Second, there are way too many presets that cannot be altered or overwritten. Third, as for the myth of watching your edits live from a JD-800 to a 990 just isn't true. The parameter must be the same, meaning you have to change the 990 to TVA and then change it on the 800 and so on. It does automatically jump like it does on the 800 screen. So if you really want to create new sounds on the fly I'd stick to the JD-800 so your edits are recorded in real time as you play. The 800 looks a lot cooler and is quite a bit more intimidating. And the vintage board does not have and extra 256 sounds but rather the same sounds in the JV-80 format played back via the 990. The Techno board, the FX board and few others also have 'extra' patches but it's really just the JV sounds that are playable on the 990. Stick with the original synth, although it is heavy than a load of bricks. Another reason not the buy the 990 is that it can accept all sorts of extra patch ccards - JD-990, PCM1, JV80, third party, so if your a patch junky prepare to throw down some dough. And all the JD-800 patches on the web cannot be loaded on the 990. I own both and have been tryig to tweak the 990 like and 800 by playing back midi sounds and editing them but found it didn't record my changes like the 800 or even Juno-106 did. I cannot speak for other modules but the 990 can only dump patch data. It's too bad since there are quite a few parameters and you can get some sweet sounds from the unit. Please feel free to disagree or correct my errors. I'm trying to get the most out of the unit. Manuals? 200+ pages that you really need but don't really help in sound creation. It's extremely vague on using extra patch cards and adding JV80 boards and how the data is edited, saved, overwritten etc. The sounds are as good as the 800 but so many presets! And the extra waves - are mostly horn & drums sounds not the most useful in the best of times. You can hook up a Casio Dh-100 horn and get some nice tones although I think the brass patch/waveform card is still better, it does lack a lot of sax sounds which the 990 does include. And finally, the most brutal for all the vintage board fans - it does not have any drum sounds on it. The vintage module does contain 8 kits - techno, electric, 808, etc but the board is lacking - talk about a bummer!

posted Saturday-May-17-2003 at 08:02
JD-990 crazy man a professional user from Spain writes:
Yo friends! Visit the only one dedicated site to the Roland JD-990 supersynth! www.sonicplug.com

Share patches, read notes, tricks and tips, get the FAQ, meet other users. If the JD-990 it's your synth, sonicplug.com it's your site...

Enjoy

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Nov-16-2002 at 08:38
990rules writes:
just buy the supreme jd990,its got great sounds,but,its limited polyphony(24note) won't serve ur "dont have to worry about another again!"requirement....

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Nov-12-2001 at 12:39
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