Synth Site: Roland: JD 800: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Peter Kadar a professional user from Toronto, Canada writes:
I usually wait a long time before posting a review, but this time I simply can't wait. I picked up a JD800 about 12 hours ago and have done nothing but mess with it since I got home.

This synth is pretty easy to program. The knobs and sliders are great feeling and well made. I was lucky enough to get it with a memory card and a pair of data/waveform cards, so now I have the best of the factory patches on the card, and the best of the Rom card in internal memory, plus 2 drum kits at my disposal.

The sound does have that early/mid 90's rompler quality to it, but having said that, it is also capable of some really good analog type stuff. Cold and digital one moment, warm and fat the next. Sometimes within the same patch. It has an epic quality to it, so between that and the ease of programming, I can see why lots of film composers embraced it. Mine was used on 'Free Willy 2', apparently...

As others have mentioned, the aftertouch is incredibly stiff. A workaround is to plug an expression pedal in and re-assign it. Unfortunately, there's only one CV pedal input, so you have to choose between that and expression. You can route aftertouch to the AMP section, so unless you're MIDI'ing up external gear, it's a decent enough compromise.

Although mine needs a bit of work on the action, I'd say it's built well and should work fine on a gig. I think it would look really cool on stage too - it has a bit of that 'bridge of the Starship Enterprise' vibe to it like the Alesis Andromeda. I haven't tried controlling external gear with it yet. I know the sliders send sysex as opposed to CC's, which is a drag, but it is an older piece of gear, so there are bound to be some limitations.

One area where Roland didn't hold back though is in sound quality. The clarity on this machine holds its own with the best stuff that's out right now. If you use this on stage or in the studio in conjunction with a more traditional rompler for the basics, the vibe'll be off the charts looks-wise and sonically.

I'm really glad I picked up this synth. It makes me want to find opportunities to use it as much as possible.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Feb-04-2007 at 04:31
Max from Berlin writes:
I have to revise my review below after some months have passed. The JD-800 IS A GREAT SYNTHESIZER. After some years of ownership I start to appreciate this synth. You can program fantastic patches and it is fat. Only the extension wave cards are of limited use, because there are only have a dozen of samples on them. This is a true classic.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Jan-21-2007 at 15:04
Max a part-time user from Berlin writes:
The JD800 goes for cheap 400 ... 450 Euro at Ebay, why? Because the sound after all isn't that great. On the first sight you have the controllers and it appears as a creative tool. But somehow it is so much easier to program cool punchy or lush sounds on my Nord Lead 2. This thing is a bit outdated and I use it mainly as a masterkeyboard. People say the strings library is so great. I bought it and was disappointed. The examples on the patch card are so boring. The orchestral strings in my JV-2080 sound much better. You can program lush pads with this thing, okay. But you can also do that with a JV2080, just layer many different sounds together im multimode. Many basic waveforms in the JD800 are junk. Many waveform cards are bad quality, for example the guitars, the standard percussion and the dance card you don't need anymore, use Reason, also forget the brass card. The JD800 was one of the first romplers. For my personal taste even the Roland D50 sounds better, it has this special remarkable evergreen warm sound, what this thing lacks. And in the end, the synthesizers of today also sound much better.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Apr-10-2006 at 06:30
Marsha a hobbyist user from USA writes:
The keyboard feels great to play. The ptich/mod stick is great. The sounds are very tweakable, but after a while get a bit tiresome to me. It's just difficult to get away from that certian PCM sound it has. It's almost as if you've heard all the sounds before in early 90's movies and television shows. The three seperate envelopes are awesome (pitch, filter, amplitude); you can apply them to all four waves seperately. It's a great synth, but just be sure you love it's overall sound before you buy one. It is a PCM synth (rompler), NOT a VA.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jan-28-2006 at 14:23
Rich a part-time user writes:
The best romper ever. All the power and variety of samples with the ease of use of a classic analogue. Don't think of this as a va or anything like that. This is the synth that all of the major companies should have been making. They cost a packet new, but were discounted to below the price of the M1 at the end. I know...I bought one under these circumstances.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-09-2005 at 02:59
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